The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 26, 2009

Bringing Nothing to the Table

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 2:33 am

Once again, I should probably apologize for the recent lack of posts here.  Over the past week I’ve been busy with all sorts of nothing in particular, very little of which seems to end up here for some reason.  I’ve actually got a number of things in the queue that I need to catch up on (including an update on the construction at Redmond Center and some actual work on something over at Factoria Mall,) and I should be doing some of these within the next few days.  In the meantime there’s also my Twitter feed on the right side of the page which gets updated relatively often (or can be found here, for those of you who might be reading on RSS.)

One part of the stuff I’ve been dealing with recently is some uncertainty with regards to my housing situation here, a concern which has now been resolved.  The lease on my apartment was coming up for renewal at the end of this month, and the initial renewal offer that was made by apartment management, although it was somewhat lower than the previous lease, was still not only well above the going rate for similar apartments around here, but also well above the maximum monthly rate for this style of apartment as listed on their own website.  Naturally this wasn’t going to work out, so I did some searching for nearby apartments in the area, and found that I could quite easily get a much better rate than what I was being offered here.  I’ve never been all that thrilled with the prospect of moving (which probably explains why I’ve spent nearly four years living here)  and I have actually quite liked where I was, so I was keeping my options open for staying if I could get a more reasonable rate.  Finally after a carefully worded 2AM nastygram to apartment management was issued, they came back with a much more reasonable rate, although at that point I had yet to make my decision one way or the other.  Ultimately although I looked at a couple of places with some advantages (and disadvantages) over where I am now, I couldn’t really think of any overwhelming reason one way or the other, and decided to just stay put for another year.  On the other hand, a couple of months ago there was the rather distinct possibility that I could have ended up packing everything up for a move to Utah around this time, but that’s a story I’ll save for later.

Anyway, with the apartment situation settled, there are a number of things that I have been looking to do for a while now, mostly with regards to rearranging my den here and making another doomed attempt at decluttering the place.  The biggest trouble spot in here is the rather large desk, which has a nasty tendency to accumulate stuff at a rather alarming rate.  I’ve made a number of attempts to try to get rid of some of this, but the accumulation just keeps coming back.  This makes it difficult to use the desk for much of anything besides the computer.  Another issue that makes it difficult to do much with the desk is the fact that the lighting in here is pretty horrible right now.  The one lamp I have for ambient lighting doesn’t provide nearly enough light to do much besides not trip over things on the floor (another ongoing problem area,) and there really isn’t much of anywhere to put another one (I blame the guy who stuck a giant arcade game over in the corner to sit around and hog all the space.)  I also seem to have inherited my mother’s distaste for overhead lighting, so that’s not an option (and the one overhead fixture in here is even more worthless than the lamp anyway.)  Finally, up until yesterday, an old armchair that I got from my parents when I moved into this place took up a fair bit of space on the back wall of the den, and pretty much never got used.  Eventually it too began to accumulate assorted detritus, rendering it even more useless. 

In an effort to not only solve these problems but also to provide a designated workspace where I can tinker with RC cars and other assorted projects, and to fill in the big hole left by the removal of the old armchair, I have decided to put together some sort of basic workbench.  Since I also planned to get some drawers that I might be able to use to store away some of the crud on the desk, it had become necessary to make yet another perilous journey into the vaguely Eurocentric modernist realm of Ingvar the Terrible, the Deadly Tunnel of Furniture (well hey, it’s not like I can afford anything TOO nice here at this point.)  Fortunately, I think I’ve got a reasonable handle on the place by now (I even know where most of the shortcuts are so I don’t have to slog through the bedding department.)  Unfortunately a couple of the items I went looking for were not in stock, and the set of drawers I had originally planned to buy turned out to be junk, but I found something else that would provide more space and look a bit less clashy for the same price, and ended up getting that instead.  I also managed to find a relatively inexpensive table made of semi-cheap solid wood rather than cheap particle board, and decided to pick that up. 

Ikea likes to tout that this particular line of tables lets you make all sorts of different combinations by choosing different tabletops and legs.  What this means is that they don’t even bother providing instructions on how to assemble it, requiring a somewhat uncharacteristic bit of improvisation to put this together.    In fact, I think this might be the first thing I’ve ever bought from there that didn’t come with a vague set of wordless directions.  I think even the cookies over in the food section came with an instruction sheet.  On the other hand, there wasn’t anything too difficult to figure out, at least in theory.  Each of the table legs (sold separately) came with a sheet of directions which seems almost entirely superfluous, since I think a resourceful three year old could have figured out that part.  Getting the legs onto the table itself was the tricky part, since there weren’t any visible holes to be found.  There are a couple of vague notches in the wood to suggest where these might go, but I didn’t figure that out until two of the four legs were already attached.  Fortunately, stuff I remembered from my High School geometry class (which I think may have been the only math class in high school I did better than a C+ in) got this part figured out, and thanks to a drill I borrowed from my Dad, I got it put together in a somewhat presentable fashion. 

The next job on the agenda is sanding and staining, since the table came unfinished.  Fortunately, thanks to having a father with a large collection of power tools, I was able to borrow a random orbit sander with which I could make short work of the sanding, and the first coat of stain went on this evening (at which point I realized a little too late why rubber gloves are suggested for that part.  Once I get the drawers assembled (they’re still in the box right now,) the table finished, and some of the accumulated crud cleaned up, hopefully the den will be a lot more presentable, and I won’t need to do quite so much cropping on any photos I take in here… At least until the next batch of accumulated desk crud shows up anyway.


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