Monday, January 30, 2023

Andrew the Optimist

Yesterday morning—before the library had even opened—I was verbalizing my personal itinerary for the day to Andrew. 

"I need to go to the library," I said. "But I think I have time to shower first. And then I need to get started on my prospectus revisions and..."

"Oh, before you shower," said Andrew the Optimist, "We should move things around in the basement real quick and pick up those cabinets from my dad!"

A few things you should know:

(1) Reid recently had his kitchen renovated, including having new kitchen cabinets installed. It looks lovely! And the old cabinets were just sitting there, begging to be used. 

(2) Andrew is the optimist in our house. I'm what he would call a pessimist, though I prefer to call myself a realist. When we have our "Project Saturdays," he'll make a grand list of 8–10 things to accomplish and I'll say, "Cool your jets! You can pick two items...maybe three...though we might not even get through one..." 

I don't know if it's because we're inefficient project doers or what, but sometimes I'm right. Though, to be fair, sometimes he is. Most often we probably land somewhere in the middle, accomplishing more than I thought we would, but less than he dreamed we would. I can't say whether it's better to be a pessimist realist and be pleasantly surprised or to be an optimist and be mildly disappointed.

Though Andrew isn't someone who gets disappointed often. He just is happy with what he accomplishes and moves whatever he didn't accomplish to his next to-do list. So...that's the optimist in him, I guess.
He does it when we travel, too—loads our daily itineraries with things to do, while I'm going, "You've seen how long it takes for our kids to put on their shoes, right? How do you think we're going to drag them to six different places in one day?!"

Anyway, because he had only mentioned a single project, I didn't think to balance out his optimism. 

I just followed him to the basement, like an innocent little lamb.

Reader: we were down there for thirteen hours. 

Let me explain...

First, we had to measure around to decide where to put these cabinets. I didn't want to take up any more floor space than we were using because while having places to put things is useful, children need space to roll around and be kids without crashing into a bunch of furniture. 

But we've got our food storage in the basement, a billion bin of hand-me-downs from the older kids for the younger kids to grow into, our camping gear, craft supplies, boardgames, books, our Christmas decorations, folding chairs, coolers...and toys down there—train tracks, LEGO, doll house, Barbies...

Keeping all that stuff organized

And I understand minimalism as a concept. I do. But I'm just a bit of a maximalist, that's all.

I can't choose a colour pallette for my house when I want a rainbow. And I can't get rid of something that might be useful (do that call that hoarding?) though I do get rid of things when I know I won't be needing it any time soon (so then it's not hoarding, right?—like, I just got rid of the exersaucer because Phoebe can climb out of it).

Plus, we homeschool, so I feel like all the books and craft supplies are somewhat of a necessity. 

There are minimalist homeschoolers out there, too (the people who owned this house before us homeschooled their children as well...and I swear...they didn't have a single book in sight, which...might have been okay for them but I just can't homeschool that way), but...again...I'm a bit of a maximalist. I can't toss (or give away) How to Teach Your Child How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons yet, even though I won't need it for another 3 or 4 years...because I will need it in 3 or 4 years! 

Okay, so...first we decided we'd squeeze another shelf into the storage area of the basement. This meant that we had to take all our canned food off the two shelves in the storage room so we could move those shelves down six inches to make room for this third shelf along that wall. 

Once we removed all the canned food (leaving it stacked pell mell all over the basement because we made the little kids help us with that part) we moved the two existing shelves over, cleared off the boxes from the third shelf, carried the third shelf into the room, re/anchored all the shelves to the studs and then...had to put all the canned food back on the shelves (in a logical manner).

To be fair, those shelves needed a thorough reorganizing session, anyway. But that part took multiple hours, I'm sure! 

Then we went to go get the cabinets from Grandpa's house. It took four of us—Rachel, Reid, me, and Andrew—to load the bigger set of cabinets into the van. They fit—but just barely. 

Andrew decided he could carry the second set by himself.

"Are you sure?" we asked. 

"I've got it," he said, heading toward the steps.

"Are you sure?" we asked. "We really can help you..."

"Nah, I'm good," he said, heading down the leaf-covered slope toward the driveway. 

"For real, though...we can help you..."

"I'm good! I'm almost to the..."

And then he slipped on some leaves/moss, crashed onto his rear end, and slid down the hill a little ways with the cabinet riding on top of him. When he came to a halt, he lifted one hand to give a little thumbs up, which Rachel thought was so hilarious that she started laughing uncontrollably. 

"I guess we should get that thing off him," I said, rushing off the deck to help him out (like, quite literally, I held up the cabinet while he crawled out from under it). 

Then we all worked together to load it into the van. 

Fortunately, Andrew's injuries were minor (he was a little sore today, but there wasn't any bruising or anything). This was good because we still had to get them from our van into the house, which involved lugging them through our somewhat treacherous backyard to go in through the basement (since navigating the stairs would have been disastrous). 

Once in the basement, we were able to install one set rather quickly, but to install the bigger set we had to move an IKEA Kallax set to another wall, which meant we had to remove some mounted shelves from that wall... 

It was a little bit like Tetris, but I'm sure you get the drift, and I think we managed to get the new/old cabinets in the basement without increasing our furniture footprint in available play space. 

The whole basement is covered in art supplies that need to be sorted still...but we were too tired after spending 13 hours down there to continue working yesterday. We'll get there...someday.

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