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Friday, February 12, 2016

"Don't put anything heavy on it," he said ...

After a couple of failed attempts to get the bottom shelf hung level, there was more than one large hole in the wall. The anchor and screw holding up the left-hand side was perched precariously over two other holes in the wall. Too much weight on that shelf and the anchor would tear through the thin strip of plaster separating the it from the other two holes, sending the whole thing crashing to the floor.

"Until I fix it, don't put anything heavy on it", he said.

"I won't", I replied obediently, as I innocently sat six empty, pint-sized mason jars on the shelf. They looked perfect . Patting myself on the back for my decorating finesse, I took a picture.

The next morning, the shelf was still intact. Emboldened, I got to thinking ... why have empty jars there? Why not fill them with things I need most often when cooking and baking? It would certainly save time if I wasn't running back and forth from the pantry.

The pint jars would be perfect for salt and cornstarch, but they were too small brown sugar or powdered sugar and such. I went to the garage and got some quart mason jars, then bought some cute chalkboard labels, white chalk, and red lids.

Once home, I discovered you cannot write (legibly) with blunt-edged chalk on a small label ... I can't anyway! I started to the closet to get my pencil sharpener, but then I hesitated. The chalk would smear when I handled the jars ... and I wasn't entirely certain chalk lent itself well to being ground to a point.

My daughter was out running errands, so I asked her to pick up a white sharpie. I'm not sure if they even make white sharpie's, but they didn't have any, so she picked up a white-out pen. After a little practice, I carefully labeled the jars (they looked adorable!) and arranged them on the shelf, distributing the colors of the contents evenly and fashionably. My daughter and I took one last look at my handiwork, then turned to leave the kitchen ... just as the shelf crashed to the floor.

His words echoed in my head ... "Don't put anything heavy on it."

Heartbroken and humbled, I picked up the jars ... which remarkably made the 4' fall to the ceramic tile floor completely unscathed. They still look adorable, but they were now taking up valuable counter space.

I knew he couldn't fix it that night, so I didn't bother calling to tell him what I'd done. He's over all the time ... and ... he's not blind. He would find out what an idiot I was soon enough!

Hey ... maybe I could fix it! I could hang the shelf about an inch higher. That would still give me room to remove the jars when necessary, it would hide "most" of the holes, and the integrity of the new anchor wouldn't be compromised. I got out my tools and handily put an anchor and screw in the perfect place on the right-hand side, then started on the left. The anchor went in easily. Proud of myself, I began screwing in the screw. It was at this point that the anchor, screw and all, slipped inside the wall. My heart sunk. I hadn't fixed anything. Quite the contrary. All I had succeeded in doing was making an even bigger mess of things!

The next day, I confessed my stupidity. He seemed neither surprised nor upset. I guess he knows me well enough to know that there was a very strong possibility I would put too much on the shelf and it would fall. In all honesty, he was probably expecting me to do so! Still, I felt bad. My to-do list for him is already long enough without me trying to "help".

I had already formulated a pretty good idea as to how to tastefully hang the shelf, hide all the holes, and make it sturdy enough (hopefully) to hold jars full of kitchen staples.

I picked up a piece of 24" x 4" x 1/4" oak to mount to the wall, then attach the shelf to that. I also purchased a 24" x 2" x 2" piece of oak to hang underneath to act as a cleat. With enough toggle bolts supporting both pieces of lumber, it would easily be able to hold my jars. Wouldn't it?

My shelf is now hung, but filled with empty wine glasses. The jars that I just had to put there have long since found a new home on the shelves above the cooktop. Those shelves are much sturdier and it made more sense to put them there anyway. Too bad I didn't think of that before, huh?

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