There’s no denying it – E and I make a pretty good team. He likes to cook, I like to eat; he wears clothes, I like to wash them. We haven’t read any of the same books (exception: The Old Man and the Sea), or seen any of the same movies (exceptions: Flight of the Navigator, Airplane!), but the resulting diversity of knowledge would probably make us unbeatable as a couples’ trivia team (never actually been tested, not sure we want to).
When we decided to move in together, E spent the first couple of weeks trying to get me to sell half of my stuff, convinced that it wouldn’t fit into our 300-square foot (if that) apartment. I spent those same first weeks giving him dirty looks and tersely telling him that I would make it work. I then spent the next few weeks using my Gift – my ability to make a lot of crap fit into a very tiny space and then, impossibly, squeezing in more (previous uses of this Gift include packing my entire dorm room into the back of the Golf). During this time I discovered E’s Gift – his ability to build things and understand and use tools. I would say, “Hey, I think we need something here to hold x, y & z.” And he would pick out the parts and the tools and magically hang shelves that were straight and well-supported. It was destiny. And now our apartment looks awesome, although we do have to get rid of something every time we decide to buy something new.
A few months ago we noted that our kitchen cart was overflowing and our system for wine storage (stuffing the bottles behind the couch) was less than ideal. So I said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we got another kitchen cart where we could store some extra stuff?” And E said yeah, that would be cool, but he didn’t like anything we had looked at recently, plus the stuff we did like was super expensive. To which I replied, “It would be *really* cool if we could get something custom-made – something with a wine rack and some shelves. Then we could put all your freaking cookbooks out here in the kitchen where they belong and free up some space in our bookcase…OOOO! Why don’t you make it?”
E spent between then and now looking into it and discovered that IKEA makes really cheap parts for building custom furniture. We bought the parts and E went to work cutting down the legs and putting everything together. Originally, he was going to get a pre-made wine rack, but upon realizing that the pre-made rack was longer than our shelves, he decided it would be less hassle to attach some sort of dowel or divider to a shelf that was the same length as the others we were using. He sent me to Soko Hardware in Japantown, where they didn’t have the right kind of dowel, so I came back with some sort of trimming. E had to run off to work and I didn’t love the idea of having parts and tools lying around for another day, so I decided to cut down the trimming myself. It took about 10 minutes and three failed attempts before I figured out how to put E’s tiny hand-held saw together, but once I got it, I was able to cut the trimming into 7 dividers for the wine rack.
The next day, E and I glued down the dividers using the cookbooks as “clamps” to hold everything in place. Then we replaced the shelf and loaded the wine bottles (there’s room for six). E also noticed that our cutting board fit perfectly on the top of the cart, so now we have a permanent home for our cutting board (it used to live behind the couch with the wine) AND some extra “counter” space to prepare food on. We spent the rest of the day (and let’s be honest, probably the rest of this week) feeling very pleased with ourselves and celebrating our complimentary sets of talents and abilities.