One down…

Y’all are too young to remember Joe Btfsplk, from Li’l Abner the comic strip. I’ve insisted from time to time that the little black cloud, filled with thunder and lightning, that perched perpetually over his head has passed on to me. I have more proof.

Astute readers will recall that I have become too short to have gotten the final two screws of the shelf standards, in the upper left and upper right corners, into the closet wall and had to rely on the kindness of others, if not strangers. Dave made me feel better because even with extra inches, he couldn’t get them in, so I figured maybe I wasn’t quite as incompetent as I felt; Rob managed to muscle them in by dint of being both Taller and Larger.

Then Saturday, after Grandma asked for special food and then stood me up (another whole story), I stopped by Lowe’s to have the shelves, which I had carefully measured, checked, and re-checked no fewer than FIVE TIMES for proper size, cut. After the cutting lady’d cut four shelves, I thought they looked a bit narrower than 20″ ought to look. Sure enough, she’d been cutting 16″ shelves. Great. So she started over. And eventually got them cut.

After I finished work today, I started putting in the brackets to hold the New Closet Shelves. Great excitement! Finally, I can start putting away some of the piled-to-the-ceiling-in-the-bathtub-and-corners stuff!

They went in fine.

I took the first shelf, managaggled myself with it onto the ladder, expecting to drop it neatly into place. I shall skip over the comedy show that was I trying to lift and maneuver the shelf. But once placed, it wouldn’t go in. Tried several other ways. No go. Zip. Nada. Impasse. Wound up having to take all but one bracket out, shove and hammer and swear (emphasis on the efficacy of swearing) the shelf into place, then put the other brackets beneath it. Needless to say, but I shall anyway, this whole process gouged and scarred the walls I had so painstakingly repaired and textured. Pretty significantly. (And of course, I’d used the whole gallon of mud I’d bought, thinking I’d use half of it at most, so if I repair the gouges I have to buy more mud.) Had to do the same thing with the second shelf. It became obvious that Something Was Wrong.

What was it?

Not my measuring. For once, hallelujah, it was NOT MY MEASURING.

Are you ready for this? THE WALLS ARE NOT VERTICAL. The closet is narrower at the top than at the bottom. Like some idiot was building a cattle chute, and it got thrown into my house. The two shelves that went in the four-foot area in which I could reach to measure fit just fine.

However, thanks to persistence, a good rubber hammer, and a limitless vocabulary of swear words, the shelves are all in now. Except that I need another three tiny standards put in at the bottom so I can get the last shelf at the right height. And the shortest, 1′ standards are now too long because the baseboard comes up 5 1/2″. (The standards came in 7′ maximum lengths and the back wall is 9’6″, so even strategic placement wouldn’t make it stretch far enough.) And I am sick to death of the whole thing. This project would have taken anyone else one afternoon, tops, excluding the wall reconstruction, because you can’t hurry mud drying too much, and it’s been going on for weeks now.

I shudder to think what the second closet will require. Except that I’m not tearing anything out. Except probably more hair.

Posted by wordsmith

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