Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Zen of the Complete Apartment

Last night, I passed my first apartment-arrangement milestone: I assembled the last piece of furniture that arrived on my back doorstep as slats of wood and accompanying bolts in a box.

And now, the apartment is pretty much all set up. Well, the bare walls will be my next project--and a significantly more enjoyable task than putting together bookcases and tables.



Ahhhh....the green couch. No, I didn't have to built that, but that doesn't mean that I didn't have additional, exceptional problems with it.

I ordered it from Bob's--there is a surprising lack of furniture stores out here, so my choices ended up being: wait for three weeks for Macy's to deliver something out of their limited selection of styles and colors, be patronized by sales associates at Ethan Allen, live without any seating, or suck it up and go to Bob's. Fortunately, it was quick work to actually buy the furniture there. I recall being dragged to locally owned furniture stores with my parents as a kids and it always took hours in environments where you weren't allowed to touch anything. I set a shipping date for mid-week, and I was assured I would get a phone call a day ahead to give me a three hour window to expect the furniture and I would get another phone call from the delivery truck an hour before it's anticipated arrival. My concern was mainly coordinating my availability with my hours at work, and if all went well, I'd get my couch in good time with limited inconvenience to myself in the process.

Well, as usual, no process that involves people bringing large items into your home who aren't allowed to accept tips will be absolutely painless.

The day before, I got a window of between about 8 and 11 for the furniture. I figured that wasn't so bad--in the ideal case I would get the furniture before I even had to be at work, and if not, I could count it as part of a lunch hour taken to let the movers into the house. No big deal either way.

At 7:30 in the morning, the vibrations of a large vehicle in front of the house gradually dragged my consciousness into an awakened state. I checked my phone--no calls had come in that I missed, and I did a double-take when I saw the nearest clock face. I threw on a pair of slippers and rushed to the door where the anticipated knock had already been laid. I opened the door. One of the two movers entered and asked me where I wanted the furniture to go. I pointed to a few places on the floor.

Oh, and did I ask him what happened to the "warning" phone call? You bet.

The chair and the coffee table came in just fine through the front door.

Then, came the couch. Surprisingly, they tried to move it in with all of the cushions still on it, regardless of having apparently done this for a living for at least longer than 24 hours. They quickly corrected this error and brought the cushions into the apartment first, and then, went back for the frame.

The frame turned out to be a little long. They got it through the front door in an upright position, taking apart an overhead hall light in the process. However, given it's length, they couldn't get it through my door like that--they would have to take it in length-wise rather than upright. The hallway wasn't wide enough to accommodate the length of the couch entirely, so one of them tried to climb up the narrow staircase to the upstairs apartment in order to allow for more room to turn it, and he was now trapped behind it halfway up the staircase.

So, the next logical step was apparently trying to convince me to call customer service and get a refund for the couch because they couldn't get it in the apartment.

I've done a lot of moving, and I am sure you can guess what the chances were for my doing that without a complaint.

My apartment is one of two on the first floor of the building. Across the hallway from me is another apartment, and it didn't take too many functioning brain cells to figure out that if the neighbors would only open the door for five seconds, the movers could back the couch length-wise into their apartment and then pull it into my own. Apparently, there was some kind of a policy conflict with their physically knocking on a neighbor's door to finish their job. Given the position of the couch in the hallway and the position of the movers, there was no way I could do the job on that one. Bottom line, I told them that regardless of minor policy glitches, their primary policy was to move the furniture people purchased into their homes, and they wouldn't be taking the couch back unless they at least knocked on the door opposite mine.

What happened? They knocked, the neighbor opened the door, they quickly pulled the couch into their living space and then, straight into my own in about half a minute's time.

At least someone found a new favorite spot, with or without furniture:

Oh, and it's snowing out here.....seems to do that a lot.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Build-it-yourself furniture. Very tricky.

captain corky said...

The place looks good. Great coffee table! But lets remove that bottle of water and replace it with a beer. ;)

Peace said...

Interesting post. Love the last 2 pictures esp.

M@ said...

That's a beautiful snow scene there. I am always alarmed by how much nicer other peoples' apartments are than mine, even though I have new furniture, too. It just... I dunno. I'm no interior decorator.

I'm glad common sense prevailed today.

Mike said...

Before you mentioned the suggested "call customer service...for a refund" I often do movers "give up" and say..."we can't make this fit". I would imagine very rarely.

I thought movers were a pretty cocky bunch for the most my mind "we can make anything fit" is their motto.

Sounds like these jokers tried to give up on their first stop of the day...glad you were able to talk some angles into them.

Good luck in your new place

anonymous jones said...

You know, you could've got a free pencil if you'd gone to IKEA.

Anangeli said...

Great place indeed. The story reminds me MY story getting OUT of New England. I wa sthere for a year, moven in wintter, moved out .. the next winter. I call that my "cold years". I found it odd to have to drive 45 minutes on the snow to reach a Wal-Mart, and also bought some furniture from local stores. Great story!