Tuesday, August 19, 2014

another grueling morning

This morning, I met my buddy Tom and we had ourselves a day of sweat. We went to a used-furniture shop not far from my new digs and bought ourselves some shelving. Tom got two huge cabinets; I got one super-large bookshelf and another, smaller companion bookshelf. For me, the shelving is supposed to help with storage and free up some floor space; for Tom, the cabinets—which are lockable—will serve as a pantry that will be hard for his one-and-a-half-year-old kid to access. We negotiated with the furniture ajeossi and got a humble W20,000 discount off a W220,000 total purchase (that's Tom's and my stuff together).

The yongdal ajeossi—the guy who would drive the flatbed truck and help us unload the cabinets—came to the store and helped us load everything onto his truck. We all piled into the front of the truck and I guided the ajeossi back to my place, not 500 meters away. There, Tom and I got my giant bookshelf off the truck and struggled sweatily up the stairs... where we discovered, much to our dismay, that the bookshelf was simply too large to fit into my room. We had no choice but to wrestle the damn thing back downstairs and take it back to the used-furniture ajeossi. I traded in the shelf, which was old and which cost W50,000, for a newer, smaller shelf that cost W60,000. I paid the W10,000 difference and offered the truck-driving ajeossi another W10,000 to compensate for the extra trouble. Tom and I successfully wrestled the newer shelf into my room, then we three sped off across town to Tom's place, where the yongdal ajeossi helped offload Tom's two gigantic cabinets, and I helped Tom heave those bastards up to his fourth-floor apartment (again, no fucking elevator... what is this Korean aversion to elevators?!). The driver took off and left us to our devices. Tom and I finished our herculean task in time for a sweat-drenched-yet-tasty lunch at a local branch of Nolbu Budae-jjigae. After that, Tom and I went our separate ways.

Tonight, I have to put the bookshelves in their proper places, stuff the shelves with my possessions, then collapse and throw out almost all the cardboard boxes (with two or three exceptions—e.g., the printer box and the oven box). I still need another shelf or two, but having two bookshelves for space-management purposes is a good start, and I now know where the furniture district is.

As Tom pointed out, today's work would have been a lot harder had we not thought to buy those "ajeossi gloves," the gloves made of a cheap white cotton weave and dipped in some sort of red rubber to provide friction for gripping boxes, furniture, and the like. I'd normally have had a much harder time managing those bookshelves and cabinets; because I'm so sweaty, my grip tends to get slick, and I sometimes drop heavy objects as a result. Thanks to those miraculous gloves, which cost only W1,000 a pair, no such mistakes occurred today.

So my muscles are screaming. Not two days ago, I had pushed myself almost to the limit of my endurance by going up and down flights of stairs about eighteen times. Today was all about manhandling sizable pieces of furniture. By tonight, I ought to be mostly sorted out in terms of room neatness: most of my possessions ought to find themselves in some niche or other. For the moment, though, I'm enjoying an afternoon break before I get down to business.

Tomorrow, I start my side job in the offices of the Golden Goose. On Friday, I mail to the States a package containing Sean and Jeff's purchases in Korea. Meanwhile, I need to keep studying up on Dongguk University's policies and procedures, and I'll also have to start formulating syllabi and lesson plans. Wunderbar. Vacation hasn't really been much of a vacation, but that's what happens when your life is in a state of major transition. I can't wait for the bank account to start piling up once I start accruing dough in earnest.


No comments: