My tape measure may be trusty, but I don't always like what it tells me. Namely, when things are either a couple of inches too short or a couple of inches too long.

This happened recently when I dreamed up the idea of moving two 4-foot-wide bookcases upstairs to the guest room. They would be perfect up there, I figured. Why hadn't I thought of it before?

Then I remembered. I had thought of it before, some years back. The bookcases are 6 inches too wide for the wall, my tape measure reminded me. Only 6 inches! The length of a dollar bill! It's not as if I could squeeze the bookcases into the space. Push, shove, squeeeze. The space simply is not there.

This is similar to what I refer to as our "piano problem." The living room wall that would be ideal for our upright is not quite wide enough to accommodate it - even though it looks as if it should be able to. Believe me, we have tried. The piano bumps into the draperies and extends a displeasing distance over the window. We lived with it that way for a while, but, pianos being so easy to move around and all, I finally decided we had to move it - most likely for good - to another, less desirable location.

Next came ?the "fridge fiasco." Several months ?ago, my mother picked out a refrigerator for her kitchen to replace an old, smaller model positioned under a hanging cabinet. The height of the new one worried us. Would it fit under the cabinet? Not entirely trusting the dimensions stated on the label, we measured and measured and measured again. The numbers always varied slightly. Was it the shoes we were wearing? Of course not. In the end, it fit with space to spare.

It's not just furniture and appliances. Our daughter's water bottle is about an inch too tall to stand upright on the cupboard shelf. Our beach towels - no matter how we fold them and place them on the shelf - bump into a wire storage unit that hangs inside the linen closet. That means we have to give that door a little extra shove to close it.

We bemoan books that are too tall for the shelf. Toothbrushes that are too thick for the holder. Platters that are a smidgen too long for the china cabinet. Hair that is an inch too short to pull back in a ponytail. Wrapping paper an inch too short of covering the wedding gift we need wrapped within the hour.


A friend reminds me, however, what a joyous thing it is when things do fit where you want them. I know what he means. Perhaps it's an accent table from a garage sale that now works perfectly beneath a hallway window. Salvaged shutters that fit a window. New sheets that properly hug your mattress - without popping off during the night. Or a wicker basket that nestles nicely inside a sideboard cubby.

"It fits!" Two lovely words indeed