Jane called us two days later.
“It doesn’t fit,” she said.
“Your new staircase. It doesn’t fit in the hole.”
“I don’t get it,” I said.
“Neither do I—and I was there when they tried to install it. Eight men hauled it in and stood it up straight. It looked perfect. I swear it gleamed in the sunlight…
Michael, having caught the gist of our conversation, grabbed the phone out of my hand. “You mean it’s too big?”
“Not so much. It’s the…” she hesitated, clearly at a loss for words. “You know, the way it faces.”
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“Well, it starts out okay at the top, but when it gets to the bottom it runs into the balustrade.”
Michael put her on speakerphone so I could hear. We both tried to picture the problem. “So he miscalculated?” he asked her.
“I guess,” she replied, obviously puzzled.
“So what’s next?”
“They took it away.”
“Yep. To fix it. It took nine men.”
I couldn’t resist weighing in.
“It took more men to take it out than to bring it in?”
“Yes, they were dejected.”
“But if the orientation doesn’t work it doesn’t work,” Michael commented, bringing us back to reality. “I mean, there aren’t many variables here. The tread size is a given, the distance between treads is a given. And you can’t exactly expect people to climb over a balustrade to go upstairs. So what exactly does he plan to change?”
“I have no idea. But I saw the look in his eye. He’ll make it work somehow.”
I took a deep breath. “Are you sure?”
She sighed too. “Absolutely not.”
In the end, Alfredo took the staircase apart and put it back together again piece by piece, adjusting the placement of the steps marginally.
It made all the difference, and a week later the whole thing was in place.
Jane sent photos.
It was pure heaven.