Tuesday, February 26, 2008


One of the things that we really struggle with, like many American families these days, is time. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done. I realize that this is part of the human condition, or at the very least a part of our culture.

There are still boxes all over the house; upstairs, downstairs and in the basement. We still haven't put away a lot of the stuff that we own and we are struggling to find the time to get ahead of the mess that we created for ourselves with all of the moving we did in the last three years. So, I try to pick small wins that I can step back and feel happy about. Its really the only way to take on what seems like an insurmountable task.

The downside to this is that when I tell people what I did over the weekend or last night, they look at me with an expression on their face that says, "That's all you did? It must have been a boring weekend." And I would agree, that hanging a picture, for example, does not seem like a huge accomplishment.

But let me elaborate. In a modern house, if you wanted to hang a picture and do it thoroughly, you might get a nail or two, a tape measure, a pencil, a stud finder and a level. You'd measure the spot, mark it with a pencil, maybe mess around a bit to find a stud, and then pound in the nail(s). Hang the picture, level it with the level, and you can go back to drinking your beer.

For me to hang a picture, first I have to find a picture rail hanger, like these. That involves either a trip to a framing place or an order online. Then I need to decide what to use to hang the picture. I chose copper wire, which meant a trip to the hardware store to pick up a spool of stranded copper wire. Then I need to make sure that there is something to attach the wire to on the back of picture. If I'm clever, I've thought of this ahead of time and picked up D rings at the hardware store when I got the copper wire. If I wasn't clever, I have to go BACK to the hardware store for D rings. **sigh**

Because the walls are plaster, there is no need to measure and pound nails (which is a time saver). First I attach the D rings to the back of the picture frame. Then I measure the copper wire, cut it and wrap it around the D rings. I grab a ladder or chair, hang the picture rail hanger on the picture rail, and then suspend the copper wire (and the picture) from the hanger.

Standing back, I notice that I've cut the copper wire too long, so I take the picture back down, undo the wire, cut it shorter and reattach. Now that the picture is the right height, I can level it. I take my trusty level, place it on top and level the picture.

Standing back in satisfaction, I look at the picture and think, "It looks crooked." So I check it again with the level and sure enough, it's level. So I stand back and look again. Frowning, I "straighten" it so it looks right. Measuring it with the level shows that it's...crooked. And then I finally get it.

The entire house is crooked.

Because the ceiling sags, if the picture is level, it looks crooked. My eye naturally compares the angle of the picture against the angle of the ceiling. I might as well throw away my level when hanging a picture. And all that was for just one picture.

We don't have much on our walls yet.


DiploWhat said...

Dude! You use a level when hanging a picture?!? I thought Wog was anal when it cam to measuring and marking. Me, I'm an eyeball it kind a gal, it always seems to work out fine.

Pusher said...

Yes, we've run into that issue too. Everything is designed and built for straight lines and 90-degree angles. HAHAHAHAHA!

Mr. Kluges said...

I never used to use a level. I always used to just eyeball it. But then I bought this cute little torpedo level for some project or other (possible the concrete steps I put in at the last house we owned), and it just screamed out out to me, "Use me for pictures!" So I did. And it worked great. Since then I've become a believer. Guess I better go back to the ranks of level-using heathens.