Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Adventures in Shelving: Part 7 of Several

 Yes, I'm aware there was a break in progress. Meet the fall semester in a household of two people who work at universities -- one of whom is actively teaching 3 different courses plus a slew of NIH DMP presentations and the other of whom is in a law program.  Our priorities involve getting the cats fed and snuggled, bookshelves will eventually get sorted.

So shelving staining was completed, the piles of shelves came inside and tuckpointing on our 1920s brick building did indeed commence. The men were diligent in their labor and also in managing to make very heavy loud noises directly over my head during meetings frequently. 

Now there needed to be Odie's Oil on all of the shelves. This was, again, the Philosopher's project. Fortunately, it can be done indoors but it's still pretty labor intensive and, while the Chateau isn't small, there's not good space for sprawling 27 shelves around.  

The uprights moved directly into where they would finally go -- I'm really thrilled with how those turned out and how it contrasts with the stained shelves. It gives a sharper contrast between the sections and looks very solid. 

Anyways....once the Philosopher got a few shelves done, it was time to start getting things vertical. Harder said than done because again, we don't have empty rooms. Also I'll admit I kind of missed it when he was putting up the third and fourth verticals? I watched/helped this one go together but I think he got the others up before I got home one night? It was a process. There are rubber pads and felt underneath everything to make sure our floors are okay. 

Additionally, there was a brief detour through birthdays. The Incredibly Patient Mother has been on the hunt for "art deco book ends" for us, she's very aware of all of the books we're about to unload upon these shelves and that there will be a lot of room for some visual surprises.  See all these cool patterns? 

Last Friday, the final shelves had been oiled and aired for 48 hours, and we were ready to play layout. While these shelves are indeed flexible, the reality is that once they are loaded we aren't going to want to take things down anytime soon. I'll have to dust periodically but those big floofy wands are looking increasingly charming (send ideas if you have dust floofs you recommend for your shelves). 

Oh, and yes we had to immediately weight the shelving down with book boxes -- felines do indeed enjoy climbing.  

Friday, September 9, 2022

Adventures in Shelving: Part 6 of Several

I know you were waiting with baited breath but yes, Dark Bourbon won.  However, there was also the issue of the uprights. The 89" (226 cm) uprights that arrived in the first order back in late June/first week of July.  We'd gone through a variety of discussions of options about finishing these.

The plan had pretty much always been that we would have a contrast. I think this was somewhat based on an example we saw somewhere on the internet where they'd done darker uprights and a lighter stain on the shelves and the contrast looked nice. Honestly, we've gone through so many options of "but what about....." --  anyway, Plan A was paint, Plan B was different paint, Plan C was one of the other stain colors we'd already purchased, Plan D was the Hedgehog goes back to HomeDepot for Ebony stain. (Yes, the bottom of Test Shelf 4 is Ebony -- we needed a significant swatch.) 

But the Ebony stain wasn't working.... and so it was back to Plan B -- a satin finish Behr paint in the color "Dark Secret."  If there isn't at least one dark secret book on our bookcase, clearly we're doing it wrong. I have so many mystery books, there's got to be something. 

The Philosopher has been on staining duty which meant painting the uprights was my project. This was our major push over Labor Day weekend. Thankfully the weather held and there wasn't rain. Our downstairs neighbors were definitely curious -- but since we're very good about drop cloths and we're not being loud, they weren't too concerned.  I did a coat of primer, because pine is going to soak up paint and then two coats of the Dark Secret. 

As I'm finishing this episode -- the last 8 shelves are finishing Side 1 drying (it takes 3 hours) and the uprights are all done and just airing out. Philosopher will finish Side 2 in a little bit and then tomorrow morning we'll bring everything inside just in time for them to start tuck pointing our courtyard. That should be a whole extra level of fun. 

Once things are stained, we need to apply the finishing oil. That'll be both sides at a time and I assume my hallway will be lined with shelves.  But the end is in sight. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Adventures in Shelving: Part 5 of Several

Way back when we'd been wandering around IKEA and I'd been eyeing various shelves, what had initially appealed to me was the black Billy bookcases.  They would be crisp. They would anchor the room. They wouldn't be either white or the shade of IKEA pale wood that everyone my age has far too much of. (She says, sitting in her home office and staring at an entire wall of that shelving.) 

Once we'd settled on the IVAR, I was adamant that we not keep them natural pine. It was too casual for our living room and since we are going to be living with these for a number of years, "aged pine" was right out. We have a significant amount of that already -- see the shelving my yarn stash lives on.  Thus the Philosopher and I watched an extensive amount of YouTube and rummaged through websites and color ideas in order to try and get a sense of what color stain would look best. 

Sampling was delayed by worrying about shelf arrival. If we were going to have to get an entirely different plywood to make shelves -- staining shelves we weren't using didn't seem useful. But once the shelves arrived, the Philosopher set up a station on our back deck and tested our three chosen colors. 

Reader, I didn't like any of them. The top one, Gunstock, was orange. The middle was fine but it was an entirely unexciting brown. And the bottom calls itself cherry and I think it's lying. Cherry should be a dark brown with red undertones. I've owned cherrywood furniture. We looked at them again in the daylight. 

And then we went to HomeDepot. 

Seriously, what is summer, or periodic adventures of the Hedgehog and the Philosopher without a multiple trip run over to HD? Armed a new with water based stain in four colors (the previous three colors are oil), we returned home. 

This picture is from when I got home after this year's white coat ceremony. It meant I hadn't left campus until well after 7 p.m. and while joyous, I'd started teaching that morning at 8 a.m. and was really tired. But coming home, I found three of the four samples waiting for me.*  And they were universally better. I liked all of them. You can see them here on the deck set up next to the oil samples. The middle bar split is because the Philosopher was testing the fancy finish oil he wanted to use. 

We looked at the samples in our actual living room under real daylight and the color Dark Bourbon seemed to be a favorite. Here is the bottom of Test Shelf Number 3, which is entirely  Dark Bourbon so that we could see an entire shelf against the just barely pink of our living room walls. (The wall color, which the Incredibly Patient Mother and I applied last year, is still glorious and absolutely glows in the evening.) 

We appeared to have a winner....possibly... 

*Color 4 of the Water Based Stains is the Varathane Aged Wood Accelerator Stain. It looks really neat but I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like it for the shelving. It hasn't been opened but is on standby for another project of the  Philosopher's. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Adventures in Shelving: Part 4 of Several

So, reality set in as we approached the end of July, with the Philosopher's birthday eating a number of days and a variety of other tasks that were not shelf related. And there were ongoing questions about whether Ivar shelves would ever be in stock again and did we really want to go the making them from plywood or something else? There was the Great Debate of July 2022 of whether we do actually need a table saw and where exactly would we put that? Also just how much quarter round stock would we buy? (HomeDepot, always thoughtful, sent me a coupon that we stared at until it expired in the midst of all this.)

I rang again on August 11th and now they'd updated to 400 shelves arriving to my local store on 8/22. Griped on Twitter and got a even less precise amount and date from their social media tweeps. (I know, they're trying, but getting the 273rd ask of "have you signed up for alerts" when nothing actually *arrives* to alert me about.... )

Thanks for messaging us with this information, Abigail! We reviewed stock levels for the IVAR shelf (303.181.63) and can confirm our representatives provided the most up-to-date information. Our system indicates that IKEA Schaumburg is expecting shipments of these shelves in the next 2 weeks between the dates of 8/15-8/28. Many factors may result in delayed restocking, either on the replenishment or receiving level, so we're unable to guarantee an exact date at this time.   If you haven't done so already, we strongly recommend signing up for stock alerts on our website. This way, you'll be notified by text or email once our Schaumburg store has these shelves ready for sale. You can sign up for these alerts by checking stock at your preferred store here: We hope this information is helpful!

And then, on August 17 I was doing my usual "let's see what IKEA says today" and there was a notification I hadn't seen before: Delivery was a yellow dot rather than a red dot, with the notation of "currently limited to large orders."

Off to the phone lines once more. Because, reader, as you will recall, I have already paid once for delivery and somewhere in all this, they'd offered to waive the second delivery fee whenever the 25 shelves came in.  It wasn't my best of phone calls, the first two rounds the system hung up on me even though I was following the usual prompts. But eventually I got routed to someone who could see my case number and we went through all of the usual information that's needed. Why yes, yes I do know you need my name, address, phone, AND email address. Also the item number and my case number.  

To the delightful woman who just kept poking around when I was repeating "no, it says we can do this, can we keep looking?" :  Thank You. I know I refused to get off the phone and your patience was much appreciated. For indeed 25 shelves does count as a large order and yes, she did have the note for the waived delivery fee and yes, she could get that sorted and send me an invoice. And then also fix the invoice when the system was being weird. 

So at 7:50 p.m. on 8/17, nearly two months after I placed the first order, there was finally an order placed again.  Annnnd wouldn't you know that they got them back in stock at my local store at 9 a.m. this morning (8/18).  If I hadn't had meetings....

Saturday dawn bright and early with emails and text messages all confirming that shelves were coming. Shelves would arrive today. The local delivery company (not the same one as before -- maybe they don't want to come back a third time?) said between 2-6. I did everything I could to invoke them coming earlier: I ran an errand that took me out of the house; I prepared a messy lunch. I forgot, however, the time honored tradition -- showering. Shortly after the Philosopher hopped in for a shower the notification that the driver was 15 minutes away arrived. (Should have done that at 9 a.m.!) 

The driver arrived and I counted the shelves multiple times. We were going to make sure that everything was here.  We counted at the truck, we counted after he brought things up the stairs, we counted one more time on the back porch while he took a photo of the delivery. (Yes, of course I tip; No, we didn't have him bring things into the house. Personal preference.) 

And now, now I have shelves!!

Are we done? Oh of course not. Part of getting these shelves also mean that we were going to need to finish them. I don't particularly like the honey shade of pine that has aged for a while and without some finishing, the shelves were going to look more industrial than I want. 

So now we have to test sanding, staining, and a super fancy finish oil that the Philosopher bought. 

More soon.... 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Adventures in Shelving -- Part 3 of Several

If you've been around the Philosopher and I since we bought the Chateau, you'll probably heard about his newfound delight in tool shopping. We are now a RYOBI household and own an unreasonable number of batteries because everything is cordless. Personally, given preference, I would have probably gone with Makita brand but that's mostly because my 7th grade self still thinks Very 90s Teal is a really lovely color for lots of things. Electric lime green is so 80s. 

The Philosopher was beginning to run low on patience waiting for shelves. Now that we had a *bit* of time before fall semester for both of us, we really deeply wanted to get the bookshelves done so we could unpack the remaining ~30 boxes of books before the weather headed back to temperatures that do not lend themselves this kind of work. 

(When I initially draft this, it was Sunday, July 17. There are still no IVAR shelves in stock at my IKEA. I called yesterday to get an update on when they thought shelves would arrive. On Call 5 I learned that now 100 shelves were supposed to arrive on July 21 with Medium Probability and they recommended that I ring back on July 20 to see if that had changed to High Probability yet. Astute readers will notice that this is *half* the shipment that had been promised since July 2 and that's still unlikely -- and also I'd need a full quarter of the shipment, just me.)

He started eyeing plywood. We only needed two sheets if we skipped 1 of the 27 shelves (2 delivered, 24 other) -- this could work, right? But from a friend we heard some stories of Very Warped Plywood thanks to stain. Hmmmm, the challenges continue... 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Adventures in Shelving -- Part 2 of Several

 Now then, when I'd first spoken to IKEA Customer Support, we talked about when would be best for me to verify shelf delivery and start the 25 shelf order again.  IKEA, I learned, doesn't unload trucks during the day while the store is open -- understandably as they don't want to be running forklifts around the warehouse while there are also squishy humans using the large floor carts as scooters up and down the aisles. (Just me?)

So the truck might arrive Tuesday into Wednesday and be unloaded for Wednesday morning OR it might arrive Wednesday at some point and be updated for Thursday. Cool. 

Wednesday -- no shelves in stock
Thursday -- no shelves in stock

Friday.  Now, readers, you will recall that I was expecting 3rd box for my table. Supposed to arrive Friday between 9-1. So I did my morning check of the IVAR shelving (no stock) and waited. Around 12:30 I checked the website and.... now the box was "being prepared for delivery Saturday 9-3". 

Can't say I was best pleased.  While we didn't have anywhere in particular we needed to be Saturday morning, I frequently am out running errands and doing other weekend things and now getting to be pinned at home for six hours wasn't the plan. But okay, it's being put on a truck and it'll be here Saturday. 

Saturday, now a full week after the first delivery, and the truck finally arrived around 2. I ran downstairs to receive the box; I figured I could handle one box of table legs. 

Only to find my delivery dudes carrying three boxes.  (No shelves in stock -- I had checked) 

Someone had gotten something glitched and they were trying to re-deliver the entire table. They believed they needed to give me *three boxes* whereas I only wished to receive *Box 3*.

It was a bit of a discussion, but after a few minutes they agreed to hand me Box 3, I gave them my customer report code for the Table / Missing Box portion of the order gone wrong, and they headed off to their next delivery.  I came inside and once again called IKEA Customer Support for Call 4. 

I've gotten quite good at calling now, I know the number pad to get through to a person about a delivery, and I know the department specifically I need to ask for as the first person usually cannot solve the issues I'm having (not their problem, just part of the triage). And truly, I'm *impressed* by the people working those lines. I never wait more than a couple of minutes and when they put me on hold, they'll check back if it's taking more than a few minutes to give me any updates.  

The person for Call 4 had a deep Appalachian accent and was *highly* amused that they'd sent three boxes. But did I have all the table boxes I needed to have? I did? Great, that was the most important part. I agreed. For today, that was the most important part and I just wanted to make sure my delivery guys weren't penalized. Nope, they'd updated the files and we were good to go.  

Oh, and I asked if they could look into the shelves for me.

Shelves were now going to be delivered on Thursday, July 14. And that was again, 200 shelves, and -- I learned this time with "Medium Probability." What did that mean?  That is how likely it is that things will actually arrive but it should mean that the shelves are here somewhere in the United States.  Truck drivers are apparently the limiting commodity in question. 

So it was time to wait again.  Meanwhile, the Philosopher had started scoping out routers.  

Monday, August 22, 2022

Adventures in Shelving - Part 1 of Several

There's been not much on the knitting front to share but I do have an ongoing multi part story.... buckle up. This one is going to take a while. 

So, while the Philosopher and I bought and moved into the Chateau a year ago, a lingering challenge has been our books. Between us, we moved nearly 50 boxes of books, much to the chagrin and confusion of our delightful and efficient movers. Why were there so many? they asked. Oh... oh you're both university people.  Also we're both avid book worms and it's not like we haven't continued to buy books or bring them home from two different libraries. 

But we finally decided on Initial Shelving Plan for the Living Room 1, which involved a lot of time on IKEA's planning pages and significant debates as the merits of painting the inside backs of Billy bookcases or would that just been too heavy.  We ultimately landed on Ivar shelving -- which is pine but has independent uprights and shelves -- and did much measuring and planning. 

Now, IKEA has been having supply chain issues and we knew this but the shelves pretty quickly came into stock after I put an alert on them and so I placed the order. Additionally, we were getting a table so there was

1) Table -- in multiple boxes

2) 4 96" uprights

3) 27 shelves

At least, that was delivery plan. I ordered on Tuesday for Saturday delivery.  And then late that Friday I got an email:

"The shelves you ordered are mostly unavailable. We'll refund you."  Ummm, what? I checked and *25* of the 27 shelves we'd ordered were no longer coming.  And, because of when the email came in and that I wasn't aggressively reading my email well after end of normal business hours on a Friday -- there's not much I can do.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and I called IKEA's customer support. It must be noted that every single person I've spoken to at customer support has been unfailingly polite and as helpful as they can be -- but they cannot make shelves magically appear.  I was surprised and not particularly pleased to learn that IKEA just *cancels* things -- not back order, not we'll ship them as soon as they arrive -- no, instead it's just "here's your money back, toodles!" But we chatted (Call 1) and saw that another 200 shelves should arrive to my local store by the following Wednesday and while that wasn't ideal, it was fine. It'd been a year right? I could wait a few more days.  

The truck arrived a few hours later, the nice young men carried the boxes up the three flights up stairs, I checked through the unnavigable manifest and saw "uprights, table, cross beams, and two shelves."  Ooookay, good to go and they left. 

Philosopher comes and we get the boxes inside, settle things around, and we realize that the table is supposed to be in 3 boxes. 

I only have two boxes. Box 3 has the legs -- kind of a problem. 

And so it was time for Call 2 to customer support. 

Customer support promised I'd get a phone call back either from the warehouse or from the local store within 24 hours and so we went on about our weekend. Unfortunately we had blocked the weekend during which we'd hoped to make some significant progress on shelf staining and now there were no shelves, but here we were.

Sunday evening I called IKEA again because no call had been returned. Now on Call 3 the very helpful agent spent five minutes going "okay, and then here, and then okay, and here, change that" on her end and assured me that I would be receiving Box 3 of the Table on Friday morning between 9-1.  Fortunately, I was going to be home that morning to receive it. She also checked the shelving delivery and said that theoretically shelves should still be in on Wednesday. 

And so, reader, we waited... 

Adventures in Shelving: Part 7 of Several

 Yes, I'm aware there was a break in progress. Meet the fall semester in a household of two people who work at universities -- one of wh...