Room for Bookshelves

cicero mug 0120I did not spend this morning on a bus, although perhaps you thought I did, since I didn’t report in a timely fashion. I’m still here in Gunnison, banished from the family birthday party in Arvada by my mother, who already has her own germs and wants nothing to do with mine.

So instead of traveling I got an early start on my task list, although I fairly well failed on my trip to my shop, where I was supposed to come back with three items and forgot to even look for two of them.

But I have made the first of two trips to my maker space, and the back window of my truck topper, which has been perpetually flipped up for over a week, is now in the “down” position where it belongs. I would like to tell you I did this my self-reliant self, but this went the way most of my automotive repairs these years go: I did an above-average job of holding the shop light while Brandon did all the actual work.

It was quiet in the shop this morning, just the two owners and their college intern, Travis, but we learned at our class Tuesday night that a college class is meeting there every Tuesday and Thursday for the entire semester. I’m still not clear what the class is; Brandon said it was a training class for would-be teachers. Would-be teachers in a vocational education track, perhaps? And someone from clear over in Colorado Springs has called about joining the space. Word is starting to get around.

While Lynn’s project shelves look like shelves, with mitered corners, mind you, my bookshelf so far looks like a pile of lumber. Planed lumber, two whole pieces of which are cut to length. And they’d better be right: those were expensive planks of wood. But so far all the other pieces I’m using came out of my scrap pile, which I have had for years without any purpose whatsoever. The cost should balance out.

On my way to both shops, mine and, well, I guess it’s sort of mine too, I stopped at our storage shed to get the shop vac (donated to the maker space) and noticed doors I’ve never used that belong to shelving unit. Only now I realized I don’t have to leave them sitting around as doors I’m never going to use but you just never know so they can’t be thrown away — I can make them into shelves, probably for the mud room.

I have to say, through all this industry, which also included getting three plastic bins out of our living space and one of at least two grocery stops, I’m still feeling a bit puny.

It would be easy to talk myself out of bookshelf project in favor of a nap if I hadn’t been doing inventory last night. Even with all the shelves I’ve added to the Library of Some Unhappiness But I’m Working On It, I’m guessing my book square footage is still not equal to what I had with my old library.

While the new bookshelf, which is still a pile of planed lumber, will be bigger than the unit it’s replacing, it’s still a replacement and not an addition. And while the wall-to-wall shelf I have now is longer than one old wall-to-wall shelf, it’s not the equivalent of the two shelves I used to have.

So I could end up short of space for all my books, even if I never bring a single book from the “maybe” pile back into the house. That had me, this morning, contemplating a new coffee table with space for books . . . I should make sure I complete at least one project before I keep adding to my list.

When I went to make some hot water earlier this week for my cold — because if we have tea I don’t know where it is, but in the grand scheme of things I probably prefer hot water to tea anyway — I found, right in front like it was a sign, a mug someone gave me as a gift long ago. Someone who maybe knew me, or at least took a random stab at hoping I might be one of those people, those people being those who like books. “A room without books is like a body without a soul,” it says, clear back from Roman times.

Marcus Tullius Cicero [and I have been told by knowledgeable people that the Romans didn’t have a soft ‘C,’ so while I’ve always heard “Siss-er-oh,” I think it’s correct to say “Kick-er-oh] happened on the Roman scene in the waning days of the Republic, before Julius Caesar [by dint of the same rule, “Kaiser” rather than “seize her,” but no one’s going to go with me on that] turned it into an empire.

Cicero is considered Rome’s greater orator, but even that was not enough to stem the tide that was turning away from republicanism in a time of civil unrest. But following that train could possibly depress me, so let’s just tiptoe away from the precipice and go back to the part where Cicero was not only a man of letters, but a fan of books. And not just some books, but books everywhere. Littering the whole house. He sounds like my kind of guy.

So I will suck it up here in a little bit, after I post this, forego the nap and see if I can’t get somewhat closer to something that looks like actual shelves rather than planed lumber. Because I’m pretty sure Cicero would expect this of me.

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