I usually write reviews of products I eat from Costco; I guess those are generally more appealing to me, but my circumstances have changed in the last few weeks, and I found myself in need of a temporary desk. I thought, why not try the commercial Fold-in-half table from Costco?
I’ve seen those tables everywhere, but I’ve never had the occasion to use one. Here’s my chance!
First things first: the fold-in-half table costs $57.99, plus taxes, in Canadian dollars, and is unfortunately made in China, but what isn’t these days. The dimensions are 72 inches long, 30 inches wide and 29.25 inches high. In my case, the table is long enough for my computer, a desktop, my two monitors, and my mouse and keyboard. For reference, the Costco (Canada) item number is 277974.
For those that need to carry this around, for exhibitions, booths, presentations or whatever, the folding mechanism is easy to use and convenient, and the legs fold easily where they are supposed to. The legs come with a ring to secure them when they are deployed so that the table cannot collapse unannounced.
When it comes to actual load, I would not want to hazard a guess as to how much this folding table will hold, but loaded as it is, with a computer, monitor, et cetera, it’s not even breaking a sweat. I know that I could put much heavier things on it, no problem.
One thing that is a bit annoying is the weight; the table, folded, weighs in at 33 pounds. That is not crazy heavy, but it’s certainly not light. Despite the fact that is has a convenient carrying handle, I would not want to have to lug this around all day, it’s quite bulky and heavy.
All in all, I have to say that the table feels solid and well built, and for about $65, everything included, that is hard to beat. Buying the wood and metal legs separately would have cost at least this much, I would have needed to assemble it and the result would not have been half as nice.
As you can see, the commercial fold-in-half table from Costco will work just fine as a temporary desk. I look forward to moving to my office in the basement and using this table as a packing table, which will ultimately be its destiny. For reference, the exact same table is sold at Home Depot (Canada) for $149, plus taxes. If you decide that you need this table, it’s totally worth it to become a Costco member just for that; it’s cheaper than buying it elsewhere!
I’ve written quite a bit about techniques to declutter, or to stop accumulating so much stuff. Recently though, I was introduced to a new method to get rid of lots of stuff: flooding.
My little town suffered the breach of a dyke about 3 weeks ago, which I wrote about here. Writing at the time was pretty traumatic, and the whole thing still feels surreal.
I want to make it clear that all that was lost, in our case, were material possessions. My children are safe, and so are my wife and I. Thanks to herculean efforts and the help of a few dear friends, our house is almost ready to be moved back in, which is a lot more than many people can say.
This brings me to the decluttering angle of things. I find one of the more difficult aspects of decluttering is letting go of items that remind me of things, that elicit memories or feelings. Because so many of my precious books and belongings were damaged by the flood, and the disgusting sewer waters, I had no choice but to get rid of them. In many cases I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.
I catch myself a hundred times a day thinking, yeah, I have something like that … oh wait. No I don’t. Not anymore. My wife was asking me how many bookshelves we had – for insurance purposes. My first thought was, that’s easy, let me go check … oh wait.
As horrible and traumatic as this experience has been – let’s call it that – the fallout has something that for me, is somewhat cathartic. I don’t have to go through thousands upon thousands of items, deciding at every step what makes the cut and what doesn’t. God has already made the choice for me, and He chose whatever was on the lower shelves, hung in the water or fell in the water, as well as the actual floor, walls and ceilings of my basement. And the washroom. And the freezer. And my grandmother’s rocking chair. And all the kid’s toys.
God has made the choice, and I had to carry everything out to the curb.
In the picture above you can see a small excavator picking up 40 years of treasured possessions and dumping them unceremoniously in a truck. We initially took so much stuff out that it took that machine 2 hours and three – THREE – full trucks to haul away our stuff. We put more out afterwards, at least another truck full.
The result has been spectacular in terms of decluttering – silver lining here folks. I never thought that I would get the chance to remodel the basement to my taste, but here we are.
Having lost so much possessions already, I find it easier to select what I’ll be keeping from what has survived. I thought that since so much was lost, I would be keen on keeping every shred of what was not, however I find that this is not the case.
It’s like the Band-Aid has been pulled; I am now able to throw away things that I have been keeping for years, on the odd chance that I would need them again, or because someone I cared about loved them. My dear, departed mother loved books by Larry McMurtry; I don’t. I don’t need to keep stuff someone else loved because I loved them. It doesn’t make me love my mother any more or miss her any less because I am holding on to these things – and countless others.
We are now in the process of boxing up what we have left so that we can finally move back into our house. The water is drained, everything in the basement is demolished and taken out, the decontamination is done. All we have left to do is clean up and move back in, and remember the lesson that was taught to us, at great emotional, physical and financial expense: stuff is just stuff.
The reason that I haven’t been writing so much the last few days is that on Saturday night, 27th of April, my town was flooded. I’m not talking about humidity in the basement kind of flooding, I mean cars pushed away, cops and firefighters going door to door and giving people as little as one minute to leave.
Possessions and pets were abandoned in the melee that ensued. Over 6,000 people, a third of my town, were evacuated and over 2,000 houses flooded. A dike, which some claim was ill-maintained, broke, and all hell broke loose.
At 8 PM, we had just finished watching The Secret Life of Pets (which was hilarious by the way), we put the kids to bed, and … the power cut.
I counted to 10, as I always do, hoping the it would come back on. Instead we were treated to a spectacular chorus of sirens from the fire department and seemingly every cop car in the province. I stepped outside to see what was happening, and a neighbor told me the dike had broken and some streets were being evacuated. It was pitch black and terrifying.
I went back in the house. My son was already up, panicking slightly. I gave him the task of holding the flashlight while I awkwardly carried valuables (to me) from the basement to the main floor. About 15 minutes later we were ready to go.
We went out with our two cars so as not to leave them to get flooded. We decided on a rendez-vous point, which we reached quickly. It was decided that my wife would go to her parents, while I would go back and try to help as I could. As it turns out the bridge to go to her parent’s house was closed, for, the same reason, so we ended up going to my sister’s.
As I returned I was greeted by the sight of two yellow school buses full of police officers on my street, on their way to evacuate a old people’s home right on the water. The water was already halfway up the street to my house from the lake, and the street parallel to mine was already flooded.
I went back inside the house, but stupidly didn’t use the time I had to move more things upstairs. I wasn’t thinking right. I’m still not.
I left to go join my wife and kids. It was really eerie. The police and military presence was overwhelming, in a good way. At least we felt that we weren’t left to fend for ourselves
As I walked back to my car I was greeted by the sight of a military armored amphibious vehicle, along with more soldiers and police officers.
After driving for what seemed like an eternity we made it to my dad’s apartment, which was unused as he was in Florida. I broke down in tears in the street as I realized I left all our family’s pictures on the floor in the basement.
Now 5 days have passed. We are staying at my dad’s place, which is not ideally located for us, but is warm and dry and safe. My kids have gone back to school and daycare, and I’ve gone to work one day this week so far. I go to our house every day to see if the water has receded but so far, it hasn’t.
Today we tried pumping out the water with two powerful pumps, but the groundwater is still too high, it drops by about 10 inches and then no amount of pumping does anything. A friend helped me clear out some soaked belongings to the yard. 40 years of treasured possessions lie in a broken, soggy heap outside. It’s both tougher and easier than I thought, mentally speaking. One heck of a way to declutter.
This is the same view as the picture above, 5 days later. They are furiously pumping water back into the lake, but it’s going to take some doing. The lake is 1,500 feet away and the area affected, immense.
Thankfully, I was able so save many books, and some photo albums survived. I even think that I’ll be able to rescue most of the photos which are now floating all around the basement.
When we compare ourselves with others who were flooded, we got it easy. It’s not easy, bear in mind, but still. My street is flooded, sure, but my land is dry. All the water came up through the sump pit. My rear neighbor has electricity so I can plug a pump in. When all’s said and done we’ll have had about 25 inches of water in the basement. People I know have their entire basement completely flooded, and other neighbors can kayak through their house. Other house, mainly mobile homes have simply been knocked off their foundation.
Some folks have lost everything, barely go out with their lives. If this had happened in the middle of the night instead of at dinner time, there would have been dozens of casualties.
For my family, the bad news is that even though we’ve been luckier than some (most?), we’re still evacuated, and we can’t go back home for a while, as we can’t pump the water out and we have no power, so no heat, light, refrigerator, nothing.