its not a temperature or a spot on a radio dial. its a measurement and its a sort of magical on for anna and i right now. 94.5 inches.
in november of 1999, we were on our minimoon up in the north of napa. we were in the market for a winerack, something to hold the once modest collection that has ballooned to over 5 cases in the months leading up to the wedding, as well the 3 cases we’d picked & chosen in the few days since the wedding.
we popped into an antique store in cloverdale and discovered it. we’d seen others, but this was the proverbial ton of bricks we’d been hoping would land on us. it was a post office fascade from the 1850’s, and the mail slots were the perfect width & height for bottles of red. the thing was massive, and was 4x the price either of us had in mind had we bothered to discuss budget beforehand. but inside of 30 minutes, we were already incapable of imagining our lives without it. or new lives as husband and wife, as proud owners of a wine rack, exactly 94.5 inches long.
it was a full 2 weeks afterwards that we were finally lugging the beast into 10 circle drive. we had measured it, and had created newspaper shims to try and imaging where it would go. but for some reason, we hadnt considered it would go in the notch under the bar. when we finally positioned it, it slid into said notch with a tolerance i shall describe as a fraction of a millimeter. just enough to squeak against the drywalls on either side, but not enough to press grooves into it. just snug enough to hold the rack fast, but loose enough to pull the rack free if we had to. think: fire. even the top of the rack was a mere 6 inches from the lip of the tiles lining the bottom of the bartop.
we commented then on how incredible it was that this antique object over 150 years old of odd dimensions should fit so perfectly into the space. the fact that it fit under the bar was a nice compliment to the fact that we were re-purposing the object for boozy purposes. it was a perfect fit, both in dimensions as well as into our lives. exactly 94.5 inches.
fast-forward 5 years later, and we’re moving out of 10 circle and into a larger place for jude. after 8.5 years, we’re finally relocating the curio shop that is our home. and in the back of each of our minds, we were both i think a little concerned about the rack. having seen the new house and done all the construction paper furniture cut-outs, the long strip labeled ‘winerack’ we consistently the last item placed on the page. and as the actualy furniture started to filter into the house and migrate to its new placement, the rack sat unaddressed in the garage. eventually, there was no longer an empty plot of wall long enough to accept it.
when it could no longer be ignored, we considered this odd space in the kitchen, where it might possibly work. when measured, anna said it had a few inches to spare. so, once jude was fast asleep to his brian eno, we once again lugged the beast into a new home. but as we positioned it, there was a problem: the rack was high enough to come in contact with a window-sill on one side, that stuck out 2-3 inches from the wall proper. that is, 2-3 inches from the wall where we measured from. all of a sudden, the last remaining viable space (save for the garage) was swiftly being ousted.
we poured another glass, straightened the rack a bit, and removed the bulky window shutters. on our asses with our back against kitchen cabinets, we pushed the rack closer to the wall with the balls of our feet. and as the rack slid into place, there was the most amazing sound: the squeaking of the racks wooden valence against the wood of the window sill. exactly 94.5 inches.
its stupid, but its these little coincidental conveniences that have kept me going the past coupla days. how, an object so odd in its width can fit so perfectly into 2 different domiciles build decades apart. hell, chalk it up to some building standard a contractor could cite just hearing the measurement 94.5.
but it;s numbers like these that remind me that things come in threes. will we each live to be 94.5 years old?
(Originally Posted: 2005_0624)