Sunday, December 19, 2010

Attack of the coffee table


Should have sprung for the white glove delivery.

My new coffee table was delivered last Monday. LOOK AT THIS FABULOUS COFFEE TABLE!
This image is from the catalog.  It's allegedly a French industrial factory table. The delivery man gets here, he's all, "I just started this job, I don't know what I'm doing, blah blah blah." I lived in Buffalo, NY for most of my life and I am an expert on wind chills and the wind chill on coffee table day was about five degrees Fahrenheit. So I'm standing there in the five degree windchill watching this guy fumble with the back of the truck, which was too big to back down our steep driveway so consequently was parked up in the street. The lift from the ground to the level of the truck bed went up very reluctantly and the driver confided that the battery was about to die and he sure hoped it would last through this, his last delivery of the day. It took multiple micro adjustments of the coffee table, the pallet it was strapped to, and the dolly to fit them onto the lift. Slowly, slowly, slowly, the lift descended. Then came some difficult maneuvers to get the whole package off the lift and onto the ground, at which point the whole thing wanted to roll rapidly down the hill and crush the delivery man.

Meanwhile, I was stamping my feet and jumping up and down and squeezing my hands under my armpits and doing all the other things people do when they are about to die of exposure. I hadn't quite gotten to the stage where I become delirious and tear off all my clothes and dive into the bushes, but it was coming.

The coffee table got stuck on a rock halfway down the driveway and nowhere near the house. "That's OK," I said. "Just leave it, my husband and I can get it from here." The delivery man was worried. Was I sure? Oh, I was sure. I felt that if I ever got warm again, I would be able to do anything. He said, "I sure hope that lift goes up," and I said, "Me too," and I sprinted for the house and once inside, twirled about and held my hands against the heat register and stamped my feet and tried to restore motion to my frozen cheek muscles.

Seamus said, "Mom, the delivery man is at the door." The battery on the lift had died for good. It wouldn't go up, and apparently, you can't drive a truck with a metal lift dragging on the ground behind it. He said, "I called my boss and asked them to send someone to get me, but they want me to see if I can just get a jump start here. Do you happen to have jumper cables?"  REALLY? REALLY?  I said I thought we might have jumper cables and I walked back out into the freezing wind to my car, ridiculously peering in the back seat window--like I was unfamiliar with my own car and wouldn't already know if there were jumper cables in the passenger area, which of course there weren't. I did find cables in the back. The truck had been completely blocking the driveway, but he pulled it up into the street a bit and I was just able to squeeze my car between his truck and the neighbor's hedge. I couldn't even open my door and had to climb across to the passenger side to get out of the car, which I had to do because the little stick that holds the hood up is broken. I had to stand there and hold the hood up with my bare hands (facing into the wind, naturally) during the entire jumping procedure.

I did not have a lot of confidence in this delivery man, who was a bit of a bumbler. Still, I could appreciate how utterly mortifying this must have been for him, so I tried to be a good sport. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" I asked and he assured me he did, but I used the hood of my car to shield my face, just in case the battery exploded. I am a nurse on a trauma floor at a level 1 trauma center, and believe me, there is no limit to the type of freak accidents that happen to people. The battery didn't explode and the lift went back up and the delivery driver departed and now there was just the little matter of my new coffee table, stuck on a rock, far from the house.

It was actually the palette to which the table was strapped that was stuck on the rock. I cut away the packaging to expose the table. Here was the problem: French industrial factory tables are heavy. I thought, "I'll take out the drawers. That will lighten it up." The drawers each weigh about three pounds, so I'd effectively reduced the table's weight from 600 pounds to 594 pounds. From the picture, you can see that the table is on wheels, but at delivery, the wheels were packed neatly into the drawers. There was also the matter of the wind--my coffee table lust had blunted my suffering from the cold--but a neighbor spotted me chasing down bits of packing material that were blowing about and he helped me gather them and also helped me carry the table as far as the front porch.

Why didn't I just wait for Jon? Because Jon was on his way home from a trip to Buffalo and do you think he'd want to arrive after a nine-hour drive to be told, "You need to help me with this 600 pound coffee table." Grace and I managed to drag it into the house. There was one scary moment when it seemed it was not going to fit through the door, but we managed slide it in with about 1/8" clearance on each side. Next, the assembly. The directions say, "...place the [coffee table] on a raised surface so that all the four corners are on air for the castors to be fitted." First of all, where am I supposed to find a "raised surface" just the right size to support the coffee table with all four of its corners hanging over the edge and secondly, how am I supposed to lift a 600 pound table onto it? Grace and I improvised and we had the table fully assembled by the time Jon got back from Buffalo. It's a gorgeous coffee table, but it caused me more suffering than of any of my other furniture--and I've assembled bunk beds from Ikea.

1 comment:

  1. Why didn't you ask the mail carrier to help you haul that table? I know -- because she's crazy!

    I like the wheels on the table but think my kids would treat those as an invitation to ride it around the house.

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