I am working on the apartment with Larry. Today's project involves fitting the mirror doors onto the downstairs coat closet. Because mirror doors = finishing, I'm in a good mood.
Larry hammers away, then suddenly stops.
"Did that wall just move?" he asks.
Maybe it just vibrated a little from the hammering, but it definitely didn't move.
The doorbell rings and my fear that we are making too much noise is confirmed. I look at Larry with an expression that says, "You get it."
I open the door to see a vaguely familiar face. It's one of the cleaning ladies I have seen in the building. I think she actually cleans for the super, which means that even the super has a cleaning lady, but that's another story.
"Habla Espanol?" she asks.
"No," we respond.
"Too much noise?" Larry asks in that "I-know-you-don't-speak-English-but-maybe-if-I-over-annunciate-you'll-understand" sort of tone.
"Bam, bam, bam?" she says.
What's that? Timmy fell in the well again?
She motions for us to follow her into the apartment across the hall.
"Bam, bam, bam?" she says again, this time making a downward motion with her arms and pointing to the closet around the corner.
Somehow, we have cause the closet rod in that closet to collapse. And not just the rod, but the support for the shelf above it.
Larry tells the cleaning lady to take everything off while we go back to the apartment to get some tools.
The shelf is hanging precariously, overloaded with a ton of shit.
"Basura," I say to the cleaning lady.
"Si, si, mucho basura," she says.
I try to push upwards on the shelf so that Larry can screw it back into the wall, but it's incredibly heavy. Larry goes back to the apartment while I stand there, holding it up, feeling part "superhero," and part "weightlifter just before a fatal accident."
It's obvious that this was a disaster in the making due to the fact that the side that hadn't fallen off was sagging for so long that they just painted around it. Combine that with shitty, 1982 construction, and you get a ruined Saturday afternoon.
Larry returns with a pole and a brick that we use to prop up the sagging shelf. As he starts working on reattaching the shelf support, I look at the pile of clothes on the floor: an ugly 1980s denim jacket (see example below), a hideous brown leather jacket with braiding on the sleeves, a teal and purple nylon track suit.
(insert gagging noises here)
Maybe it wasn't our fault. Maybe the closet collapsed under the weight of its own hideousness.
Thank God Larry's handy I think to myself as Larry deftly reattaches the shelf support with just a few well-placed sheetrock screws.
When we get back, we decide that we won't be doing any more work in the apartment for the rest of the afternoon. I am sad that we won't get to install the mirrored closet doors, but at least the contents are from this decade.