And the house snapped.
Valiantly, I held both halves of the house together with grit, determination, and Elastoplast. I'd say don't try this at home, but, it's a house thing, so...
I speak of reaching the limit. Saturation. No more room for books, and certainly no more room for bookcases. This time, I brought a book into the house and read it immediately.
If I misremember correctly, I'm (barely) maintaining my pace of reading a book a week.
Anyway...I was done. No more room. And I needed more room. It was just (barely) possible to refit the office and come away with more room at the end of the ordeal.
If I planned it right.
Planning. What does that mean? It means that, out of all the tools in the toolkit, the tool I keep handiest for handiwork is the tape. It's within reach as I type.
I don't think about moving a bookcase without reaching for that tape. Moving a bookcase means shifting the books off it: shifting the books to SOMEWHERE ELSE - a mythical place.
The monoliths close in. To shift a bookcase I must first move another bookcase deeper into the room. Twelve other items shuffle around the floor before I'm ready for that phase.
Bookcases that move with books in them - ah, those are rare birds. I think twenty steps ahead, and I am five steps behind. Each of those five steps is a fatal flaw waiting to pounce.
Apply the old rule.
The space you'll need most is the space you just obliterated with the heavy object. Now the heavy object can't come out to play. Find a new space. In another country. That's the closest space free, now.
I repaired a few world-weary bookcases.
Hundreds of books marched off shelves. Space disappeared. Every night, Prometheus recovered from the morning's eagle attack. His liver regenerated.
Every night, I played Frankenstein, and regenerated the computer. It had to go. Then it had to return. Ah, the joy/misery of plugging cables in, and hoping for the best. Ritual sacrifices to the great god Komputie staved off the horror.
And so it went, for a time Beyond Time. Until...
Nay, I dare not speak of it. For...as I write this blog, I'm not quite finished. I knew I had to print a few letters out, so I managed the feat. Then I cut my printer off from my computer in an act of bravery that was really an act of stupidity in thin disguise.
Here I sit, after countless days, waiting for one more extension cable to arrive. But it's...mostly done. What did I wreck? A little space, but that loss of a little space is AWFUL.
Yes, I gained a great deal of floorspace. But I had to sacrifice four feet of space on the very top of two now-awkward bookcases. With all that repositioning, it's not safe to return tall books to the highest spots if they aren't backed by walls.
It's true. I reached for that awful solution.
Thou Shalt Not...project bookcases into the room. For that way, and it is written, that way madness lies. Bookcases now surround the screen I'm staring at. I've created a cubbyhole for writing in.
Now, more than ever, my office IS the library. Everything shifted back to the other end of the room in a move that I never saw coming. That's because I looked the other way, denying that I really had to do SOMETHING about this office.
Matches and petrol cans weren't going to cut it.
Now I have a book problem that runs exactly four feet long. A solution will present itself. I'm certainly not going looking for one.
It was enough for me to save the office by refitting it and making it so much easier to cross in a hurry. (Or even slowly.)
Refitting took too long. And I haven't the energy to recount the heroic deeds behind saving the jumbo extension cord. There's no scope for investigating the odd little piece of broken plastic that's clearly sheared off SOMETHING.
But what, though...what?!
Cables snake everywhere. I think of the word snake as...that's the technical term for the plastic monster that devours all the other cables and makes the place 3% tidier. Is a cable snake poisonous? Why would you eat one?
My thinking was elegant in closed-minded simplicity. I'll never have to refit the entire office again. So they said, in whispers. They lied to me! New equipment ran in, and demanded space. I cut a deal, moving shelves with the speed of a tortoise on its day off.
Bookcases, bookcases, bookcases. All out, a bit like the tide. And most back in. It's true to say I retired an awkward rolltop bookcase to...another place...
And a few cupboard doors had to go, to squeeze that extra drop of space out of the new arrangements. I pensioned off a picture that could still hang on the wall...but that's inviting trouble.
Inevitably, I am done rearranging shelves. Really done with it. I knew I had to get on with the job and accept that dismal fate. You put it off with a bit of tinkering here or a spot of adjusting there.
Eventually you know there's no way around it. That's because it's towering above you, and you foolishly moved a companion bookcase into its path. But you do what you can to squeeze by.
If I didn't have hundreds of hardbacks on those shelves, I'd have hundreds and hundreds of paperbacks. Yes, I have hundreds and hundreds of paperbacks anyway.
I know. No more books. I have four feet of books to squirrel away, and only prestidigitation will do the trick. Or digitisation. In this electronic age, that amounts to much the same thing.