The (Not So) Handy Man

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By: Thomas Schulte

My father is poor with his hands. My father’s father was poor with his hands. My father’s, father’s father was a rural Kansas farmer, so it’s fair to assume he was at least somewhat skilled with his hands. In conclusion, when tasked with purchasing and moving a large sectional sofa into our small, second floor apartment last week, we ran into our fair share of problems…

Issues commenced as soon as we met our mystery Craigslist seller. Kyle (my roommate) and I were under the impression that the heavy sectional was to be waiting for us, ready to be easily moved from the building’s loading dock. It wasn't. Instead, it was lodged deep within the seller’s apartment on the fourteenth floor. Typically this wouldn't be too big of a problem, except that the service elevator was broken and two of the three sofa pieces were too big for the passenger elevator. With no other options, Kyle and I made two trips down the fourteen floors, hauling these large pieces of furniture.

Drenched in sweat with the truck properly loaded, we belted cheers of victory—unfortunately, these cheers were quite premature.

Once we returned to our apartment in Dorchester, we began to question exactly how we’d get the sofa pieces into our second-floor living room. Our front entrance offers wide gaps that continue up the stairway, but lead to an extremely narrow hallway. The back entrance has narrow door frames, but an easy path to the living room. We spent the next few hours taking doors on and off of frames, marking-up wooden floors, and damaging drywall with absolutely no success. If there was one bright-spot to our failures at this point, it was that our neighbors were at least mildly amused with our shortcomings.

I was completely and utterly defeated. My lack of being handy was on full display and I had come to terms with wasting a few hundred bucks and an entire afternoon. However, I have failed to mention that Kyle is an avid dreamer that will not quit. He suggested heading to Home Depot in search of a way to heave the sofa from the ground up to our second floor balcony. While he is a project engineer for Suffolk Construction, I had extreme doubt in his ability to execute this idea. This doubt was reaffirmed by a Home Depot employee laughing at our request for strong rope and a durable tarp. Nevertheless, we returned to Dorchester for our final stand.

After laying out the tarp, we placed a single sectional piece in the center and threaded the rope between the tarp’s holes creating a makeshift pouch. From the third floor, Kyle and I both held an end of the rope and slowly began pulling the tarp-wrapped sofa pouch from the ground. At this point we had quite the audience watching and taking videos from their porches—waiting for the tarp to rip along with our spirits. I am pleased to say that did not happen and that all sectional pieces successfully made it into our living room.

There are plenty of lessons to learn from this entire experience, from not trusting Craigslist to managing a local Dorchester crowd. Although if there is one single notion to forever keep in-mind, it is that you don’t necessarily need to be handy, you simply need a handy roommate.