Monday, April 19, 2010

We Could Always Just Lie on the Floor

We always have a project (or a dozen) on the list. If you remember the layout of the Beach House you'll know that a wheel well, about eight inches high and 15" wide projects into the corner of the living room by about a foot. There was a cabinet there when we bought the place, but it had a single eight inch wide door on the far end, so it was essentially a waste of space. An obliging friend ripped it out for us.

We have a drop-leaf desk with three drawers in the corner, but it has to sit at an awkward, space-hogging angle, because of the wheel well. The little TV hangs on the wall above the desk, but is also awkward to watch because of all the reflections.

So, two projects are at the top of our list at the moment:

1) Install a new TV bracket which will allow us to raise the TV and tilt it so it's easier to watch. Easy peesy.

2) Build a platform over the wheel well, eight inches high, 16" deep and 36" wide. Then the desk will sit on the platform, flat against the wall and we gain several inches of floor space. (Inches count in a space this small!)

We'll start with the TV. We bought the bracket in March, and found that articulating brackets aren't cheap. This one set us back $74.99 on sale! However it's rated for a 45 pound TV set, and ours only weighs 11 pounds, so it shouldn't fall off the wall, providing we can get it on the wall in the first place. The fellow said "Keep the packaging, you can bring it back for a week if it doesn't work."

Of course first thing I did was take it out of the package to see if it would fit the spot we have for it, and somehow the packaging crept out the door in the dark of the night. (I'm not sure how this happens. The stuff I need to throw away sticks to the place like three-day-old bubble gum. Stuff I want to keep evolves legs, tendrils, wings, or some other mode of transport and disappears in the middle of the night through a locked door!)

Anyway, no problem. The bracket's going to work. Look at how nice and smooth that silvery metal is. Cool and silky... Stuff that looks good works good - right? (This does not always apply to men - or to women for that matter.)

We'd not had the energy opportunity to install it since I bought it but today is a good day! So, after lunch we dug out the instructions and studied them - four sheets of very fine line drawings filled with small details, arrows pointing in all directions, and incomprehensible symbols. Then we hauled out three tool boxes, a drill, a power screwdriver, a stepladder, and our limited stores of strength and patience and went at it. We sweated and strained and (I have to say it) screwed that thing in the spot where we wanted it. Our arm muscles shook like jello as we held the TV up to shoulder level and bolted it to the bracket. Unfortunately all this accomplished was a TV that would hold only one position - face down screen aimed directly at the floor.

We scowled at each other, said a few choice words to the hardware, and sat down with the instructions again. What did we do wrong? Well, the thing swivels so the wall attachment should be able to go on vertically or horizontally. Our space dictated a horizontal placement, but maybe that wasn't okay. We tore it all off and started over.

Now, the only place to put it vertically is not big enough to hold the attachment, so we get a big chunk of cedar and attach it as reinforcement. Great. Much smoother install! (This is as ugly as a junkyard.)

We put the TV on the bracket. It now sticks two feet out into the room. Even worse the TV slowly sinks until it is (once more) facing the floor. We raise it, adjust the tension, as per instructions (we think, hard to tell). It sits upright for about ten seconds and slides back into a face down position. We are done. Our muscles will handle no more holding TV in the air, or fussing with three-inch long screws.

Achieving this bliss of television positioning Nirvana has taken two hours, a great deal of hard work and some language best not repeated here. If we want to watch it we will have to lie on the floor. Since there's not enough room for us side by side we may have to do a double-deck arrangement, which isn't as much fun at our age as it was when we were 25 and more supple (also more... oh, I won't say that. Our children read my blog.)

Tony has gone to have a nap. I am in my chair, muscles twitching like greyhounds waiting for the rabbit to shoot out of the gate.

However the next time someone says that TV doesn't provide exercise, mental stimulation or "quality time" for a couple I will suggest they try mounting one on a articulating bracket in an RV. Who knew that a $74.99 TV bracket could be a great alternative to a $5000 home gym?

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