Home After the Holidays

Would you believe it took me two full days to decide what my first post of the year would be? Me neither. I knew immediately what I would write about, it was finding the time.


Any guesses as to the subject of this post?


If you guessed books and bookshelves, give yourself a pat on the back! That’s right people, the girl who wrote this post and this post and this post and this post and this post and this post is finally the owner of a beautiful set of bookshelves.

Well, actually, I have owned the shelves since mid-October. It took me until the end of October (the 22nd to be precise) to begin setting them up. That endeavor, consisting of me, and the awesome help of Elena, combined with the manly help of Justin, got me to this point.

A single set of shelves, in a dimly lit room. Then, to demonstrate fully, the big changes, I snapped a shot of the wall where the shelves are going…before.


What’s especially nice about that photo is that those boxes contain the books. Lots ‘o books.

That there’s a shot of the room at large. The box on the floor, on the left is what the shelves looked like before. The pile of parts in the middle of the room is what they look like during. Clearly, I prefer them in after-mode. Fully assembled and beautiful.

Unfortunately, a bit of spontaneity left me with only one assembled shelf. Life and laziness didn’t get the other two assembled until mid-November.


Two, fully assembled, only one to go. BTW, this is a slow and laborious process by yourself. I would definitely say I did not “enjoy” this, but the fruits of my labor? Oh, hell yes, I enjoy.

Here we go. Three fully assembled shelving units. If it weren’t close to midnight, I might’ve started stashing books right then, and what a disaster that would have been. Once they were finally up, I was thrilled. I moved all those heavy boxes of books and muscled the shelves around until they were more or less in position.

Somehow, I forgot to take a photo of them, empty, against the wall. Considering I have every other stage of this project, that is somewhat shocking, but there you go.

At this point, my dad decided to get involved. He stopped by my house to shim the shelves. (Shim the Shelves, that is surprisingly fun to say – – okay, how many of you just said that aloud?) They were shimmed, no problem, but he wanted to screw the individual units together in order to make one massive unit. We shall gloss over the part where I thought he wanted to screw them into the WALL and not into each other. Alas, he never made it over.

Weeks and weeks of sad, blank shelves, staring at me, plaintively whispering my name and begging to be filled with books.

Upon learning I would be off from work and hosting company over New Year’s weekend, I laid down the law. (And by “laid down the law” what I meant was, I asked my mom to please make him come over) He came the day after Christmas. In a few brief moments, my shelves were complete. I used my newfound power (read: he was there so I took advantage) to get some other things done, but my shelves, my beautiful, glorious shelves, were finally complete.

Let’s back up about a week or so. Kelly and her kids dropped by and she saw the three sets of blank shelves just waiting to be filled. She asked me if she could help me organize the books and fill the shelves. That sounded fun to her. Now, I find stuff like that fun, but I assume most other people do not. Show of hands, how many of you think that sounds like fun?

Flash back to the day after Christmas. The shelves were done, after mom and dad and Simon left my house, I wanted to immediately start filling those shelves. However, the very next day I had made a date with Kelly. Since she’d asked, I figured I would offer to let her help if she wanted to do it during our date.

Chatting on the phone Monday night, I asked and she giddily accepted. Seriously, she was excited. Then, through a series of conversations, we decided she’d come over that night (Monday) and spend the night. I picked her up and we headed to my house. Did we immediately start organizing books at 10pm?


Did we wake up bright and early on Tuesday?

Nope. (Well, I did, but Kelly slept until 11 am – which is a bloody miracle for her).

We went out to lunch and we shopped a bit. Getting home at about 2pm, we finally, finally, tackled those shelves. We discussed organization and storage ideas and Kelly forced me to get rid of some books. I say forced because, well, I detest getting rid of some books. I got rid of boxes of them before moving. No kidding, 3-5 boxes, I can’t even remember, but my mother will bear witness. Also, two years ago, I sold six boxes of books to Half Price Books for $10. What a bargain. I do get rid of books, but sparingly, and when I am ready.

But, Kelly, used logic and reason and I was powerless. However, logic and reason are going straight out the window when it comes to Julie Garwood’s “The Bride” and “The Wedding”. Kelly is borrowing them, and I know she is thinking I will forget about them and she’ll be able to toss them. Not happening. I want them back. So what if they are second copies? (Yep, I still own a copy of each) I don’t care. I love them and they have a story and they are meaningful to me. I will get them back.

The others? A box full. A couple I actually do miss. Most, I can’t even remember what is in there. But, Kelly was giving a bunch to Mark. I might “Indian Give” them.

Wow, detour.

Back on track. We finally started putting the books on the shelves, in accordance with my strict and completely logical filing system. See, I’m betting you can’t tell that was sarcastic. Here’s the thing. I’m a librarian. HOW the books are filed is as important to me as the books themselves. But, the system only makes sense to me. It only has to make sense to me, so it totally works, but I think Kelly thought I was nuts a couple of times, because I completely avoided the laws of reason and common sense when filing certain books.

Still, they started appearing on the shelves in their proper places. Kel and I really had our groove on and things were going well. Right about the time we ran out of time. We had to get back to her place for dinner. Damn. This is the state of things when we left.


You can see how pretty they are starting to look, but with the boxes still on shelves, they are nowhere near done. Many, many, many boxes still to unpack, sort, and alphabetize.

Naturally, I was not home until late on Tuesday, then I was sick on Wednesday and spent the entire day in bed. Thursday, that was my day. I was ready to finish the project when Justin called me for a date. Damn. I love him, don’t get me wrong, but I was starting to itch from the half finished project. Or was that from the not showering? (Man, I love vacation!)

Finally, Thursday night, I said, screw it. I was staying up until the project was done. I shelved. I filed. I organized. I dusted. I admired. I rearranged. I fussed. I examined. I analyzed. Then, from one moment to the next, the project I’ve waited for longer than anything, was finished.

They were done.

They are so beautiful.

Want to see? Of course you do. And I only took about a zillion pictures. It’s like a new baby for me.


It was love at first sight.

Then, looking at these, I thought, “Can you tell how big they are?” “You can’t tell how happy I am, that’s for sure.”

Inspiration struck.

Oh, go ahead and laugh. Actually, wait, there are more. You might want to hold it until the end, like applause.

Yep, nothing like posed, lowlight photos, on a self timer.

That’s a favorite, with the casual draping of the arm across the shelf. Totally natural.

In the somewhat Egyptian-themed pose, you can practically feel the joy radiating from me, I’ll give you that. And for those of you still laughing, there were about five more, but they were so bad, I deleted them.

Still, I just wasn’t done recording the joy of my new books.

What about the boxes? They’re totally empty. What should I do?

Take a picture, obviously.

For those counting, that is 16 empty boxes of books. Add the one I sent to Kelly’s house, filled with the “giveaway” books, the one with the hardcover books that still don’t have a home, and the three I broke down before I thought of taking this picture and you get…anyone? 21 boxes of books.

That’s not that much.

BTW, the hardcover books would fit just fine, but I don’t like how they looked, so I have an idea for them. I’m sure you’ll  read about it later.

Now, before we wrap up this saga, a bit more humor for your day. I finished taking the above picture of the empty boxes and it was time to get rid of them. But, in order to put off the actual work, I thought, how else can I commemorate the insanity that is 21 boxes of books?

Here’s how.

Brace yourself.


Oh yes. I’m a certified fruitcake, but golly do I have fun! Seriously, the longest I can set the self timer is 30 seconds. That’s pretty long. I set it, tried and knocked over the pile. The timer expired while I was restacking the boxes. I started again, 30 seconds. This time, I eschewed gracefulness and just hopped up and hoped they would hold when I landed. They did. A couple fell off the end (as you can see).

I stared at the camera, with a “smile” (if you look closely, you can see it is actually a pained expression – this was NOT comfortable), waiting for it to take the picture. Somehow, there were still 14 seconds left.

I waited and was trembling, trying so hard to hold still. If I moved and inch, I felt sure it would collapse.

Finally, the picture snapped.

Turns out, the trembling might not have been me. No kidding, flash went off and the next thing I knew, I was on the floor. The whole pile tipped over and I was lying in a heap on the carpet, undignified, with a cardboard box poking me in the ribcage. I was an ungainly mess and all I could think was, I hope the shutter closed BEFORE I fell.

Luckily, it did and there is no embarrassing picture of me flailing about at the bottom of a pile of empty book boxes. Perhaps they were punishing me for leaving them packed so long.

And, there you have it. The full and uncensored version of how I finally got bookshelves after 15 months in my house. If you’ve been to my house since then, you’ve been dragged downstairs to admire them. If you haven’t, don’t worry, the next time you visit I’ll still be dragging unsuspecting friends down to admire my shelves and books. Clay and Lew got to sleep next to them. As for me, every single day since they were complete I go down to that room and sit in the chair and just admire them. I don’t touch the books, they’re perfect the way they are, I just like to look.

I can see them. I’m happy. I’m finally home.


9 thoughts on “Home After the Holidays

  1. Yes,yes I was dragged to the basement to sit in a chair and admire the bookshelves:) They are Beutious!! And a long time coming…enjoy them honey!

  2. Absolutely wonderful!! I wonder what sense those shelves would have made if we HAD started on Monday night!! Not as much as they do now!! They’re perfect. I love the pic of you and you and you and you and you and you and you and especially that one with you. Very cute. Can’t wait to get over to see them! Thanks for letting me help you organize.

    • I know, right? The pictures are ridiculous, but I was so giddy! And, yeah, it was probably smart to organize in a sober fashion. You can help me organize any time!

  3. “shim the shelves” I totally did it!!!! LOL and I dont have enough signal to see Zack’s video but I can’t wait to see it….probably going into work early in the am 🙂

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