Measuring Down

tape measure 0119The ancient Egyptians had an odd way of marking time: their years reset when a new pharaoh ascended the throne, and ended when he (except for a couple of inadvertent shes) died. So, if Britain tracked years that way, it would be in the 400th regnal year of Elizabeth II, but prior to that it would have been the regnal years of her father, George (who was really call Bertie), before that, the brief interlude of his brother, Edward (who really went by David — so now we have confusion in name as well as year). No overarching Year of Our Lord 2019.

And what prompts this, you may ask? Well, months and months (no matter who is reigning) after I bought it, I only discovered yesterday that my 100-foot tape measures in 12-inch increments, without accumulation.

You can’t find “30 inches” on my tape measure; there is only “2 feet 6 inches.” So you have to be faster at your math than I am. Fifty inches? Um, let’s see, that would be 4 feet is 48, right? So, that’s, uh . . .

And what prompts this, you may ask? Lynn and I took the tape measure to our new walls to see how badly (bad? I’m modifying the verb, not a transitive noun; I think it’s badly) our house has shrunk.

Answer: my worst fears have been realized in a few places, but not everywhere.

Of course, we did this without drywall, so everything may shrink up more, but for the moment: I have lost an entire foot of the width of a bedroom. But while I thought earlier in the day (when Oz was no help in holding the other end of the tape) that an entire foot had been lost in the length as well, it turns out it’s “only” six inches. That’s still a loss of 20 square feet, which is not statistically insignificant when I was planning to put the same furniture in this new room plus add a desk (it’s the one I used for all my writing as a kid; I love it and I’m not throwing it away, you vultures). It’s not going to fit.

Friday afternoon we at Pat’s closed up shop and took a field trip to the house so my co-workers could all tell me the house looks plenty big, which they dutifully did. But then one of them asked, “Which one is the master bedroom?” because none of them look like one. Two of them, as I’ve said, are supposed to be the same size as the biggest bedroom in the current house, but none of them measure up. If this were the show House Hunters, the hunters would walk in and immediately sniff, “Oh no, this is way too small.”

The framing crew was all still there Friday afternoon, and Jered, the boss and a very nice fellow, was quite informative. He seemed pleased with the progress they’ve made, and told me the south wall with the windows is waiting, because of the vaulted ceiling. He, like Dusty before him, was glad that the wall will be framed and the windows fitted to the wall, rather than the wall having to fit to the windows. Both of them have said it works better that way.

He also said his crew will be pulling off this job for a week (I don’t know if that’s next week or the one after), because while the trusses did get delivered, his crane operator is in Mexico. I asked if he didn’t want to go get his crane operator, since he himself was in Mexico just one week ago, and he did say it’s been very hard to work in subzero weather on the heels of his first family vacation down south.

He did also have bad measuring news for me: somehow we lost eight inches, so there can be no side window next to the front door. “Sometimes it looks good on paper, but doesn’t really work out,” he told me. So I thought we’d lost nearly another foot in the great room (which, no matter whether we have that foot or not, is really more of a good room), but Lynn and I measured 20 feet. It’s supposed to be 21, but that got downsized several months ago, so we already expected that. I don’t know where those missing eight inches went.

house front 0119Oz shows off the front of the house: the door (without a side window); the range fits between the two windows of the kitchen, then the pantry; the bedless guest room is to the left. That’s the garage on the right.

We did lose a foot north to south, and the laundry room is over six inches narrower than scheduled. The bathroom cupboard, which I was measuring with the increments-of-12 tape and me bad at math, appears to be at least eight inches narrower than it’s supposed to be.

The bathroom Lynn was hoping to fit one of our large plants in? Nope, not probably even space for the Shoji screen she wanted to put up. But her closet will be two feet wider than her current space, which bulges in every direction, so there’s that. If we decide to put a bed in our guest room, there will be room for nothing else. (Good luck when you want to visit.)

We will have the same amount of counter space we currently have in the kitchen, with less cupboard space (although we do have the pantry). But the kitchen just isn’t going to be any bigger than the one we have — which is functional, but we thought the new one would be substantially larger.

No matter what kind of measuring tape you use, and no matter what the building permit says (which takes 100 feet off the 710 square feet I thought the garage is supposed to be), we are going to have to downsize to be able to fit in this “bigger” house.

[Speaking of garages, Lynn wanted me to drive into the shell of our new one last night to see how much space the cars will take up — but there was a large pile of snow in front of it and instead I got stuck. I am trying to make it through this winter with these tires, but I don’t know. Anyway, we did not fit a car in the garage yet.]

I know I keep harping on this, and you’re all probably over it by now. But it’s disheartening to spend this much more on a house and not be able to fit the furnishings we have in it. Watching rooms shrink is not fun.

I should embrace my inner SpongeBob. When his house (which is pineapple-shaped; don’t ask me why) really did shrink, he woke up and shouted to his pet snail, “Hooray, Gary! We’re finally huge!”

I will leave it to Lynn to be the SpongeBob Among Us: As I was reeling in my new-inches-every-foot tape measure from yet another under-measurement, she said, “I don’t care — it’s still exciting.”

tl room 0119A royal view, yes, but this bedroom is not palatial in size.

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