We Move Onward! Projects With the Toolbox

* This is an ongoing piece chronicling Sue & Caro’s bookshop creation. Click here for earlier installments.

(similar to these)

First, I must preface this by saying that I have the utmost respect for T. He’s an insanely pro-active citizen, a hard-working guy, a good father, and genuine human being, plus, he plays a mean set of drums in the local jazz band. But I have to say that his area of expertise does not extend far into the world of librarianship and/or bookselling. Remember that he had some shelves to use in the bookstore? Shelves that we could use, in essence, free shelves? He had shelves, indeed. Lots of shelves. Metal warehouse shelves, the sort with two or three feet between each shelf. Held together with metal bolts. The type with an x brace on one side that meant only the front of shelf could be used, even though the depth was double wide. The sort which, in order to be used, had to be totally rebuilt. Also, it might be mentioned that there were in this collection many styles of varying colors, widths and lengths, and that they had been stored outside, where they had become the favored perch of twittering birds. Pooping twittering birds.

This is where Susan comes in. She is competent with tools. She was even before she spent that year at the bus manufacturing plant, running electrical harness. A jack-of-all-trades, she can usually jury-rig a solution for just about anything. And after a sale, nobody can get more boxes of books into a pickup bed or SUV! So she faced the job of reassembling the shelves with a drill, screwdriver and the sort of determination that settled the west.

My job was two fold. I washed the dratted things top to bottom, with soap and water twice and then with disinfectant, and I played Robin to her Batman, handing tools, holding things in place, and reminding her that booksellers probably shouldn’t know words like that, much less actually say them in the shop, even if the customers weren’t currently on the premises. Fortunately, T. sent some healthy youngsters to help, and also helped himself, and they made sure the shelves were firmly anchored to the wall, a process that involved loud explosion-type sounds. We came in one morning and the south wall was ready for books. I applied some paint to certain spots and experimented with wood grain contact paper on the front edge of shelves to hide any rusty bits. I am pretty sure this solution to the problem will come back to haunt me, but right now it looks good.

The plan was to use the warehouse shelves until something better comes along. There are school auctions once a year or once every two years which might have something, and I have my eye on one of those. The local junior college has some in storage which I covet. But, the shelves look pretty good now that they’re filled with books, so we may wait several years before we make changes.

We went to another auction and bought more books, which will surprise no one at this point in time. This auction had vintage magazines (1957 Cosmopolitan) and some great lamps. I also got a couple lamps from garage sales. One of them T. liked so much he hung it up right away. Before I cleaned it up. T. is somewhere on the other side of six foot tall. I am about a foot shorter.

I need a better ladder than the one we found in the back room. That one was probably new with the building, which turns out to have been built in 1912. I kept wondering how I could convert the ladder into a shelf, but as it has rungs instead of steps, this idea seemed doomed. So, it’s going to morph into a very tall A frame sign on the sidewalk. But that’s another project.

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