Back up, you say. Okay. For weeks now I've noticed the shelves in my hallway-turned-closet were listing just a tad. On closer inspection, I saw that the braces underpinning the whole contraption were buckling, some out, some in, and knew that if I didn't take precautionary measures (like unloading the shelves and taking them down manually) the whole structure would collapse, spewing the closet contents willy nilly. Since most of what I own is stored on those shelves and some of it is precious, I began this morning to take everything off. By 9:30, after two cups of scalding tea and still clad in my nightshirt, I'd managed to drag and haul every last thing on 12 shelves into the cottage proper where it languishes still, taking up every available piece of furniture and floor space (except the chair on which my backside is perched).
|The other half of the cottage looks equally cram-jammed.|
J's a good sport. She came right over. She wove her way through the path I'd cleared from the closet to the front door and stood looking at the sway-backed shelves. She reached out and gave them a jiggle. The shelves leaned toward her. "Well!" she exclaimed, pushing them back. "This shouldn't be hard."
She took hammer in hand, whacking at one of the supports and then another. I was holding the top shelf against the wall when all of a sudden the whole structure collapsed on itself. The top shelf caught J's shoulder and the bottom one landed on my foot. The two of us yelped in unison but the shelves had done their worst and settled in a heap on the closet floor. J rubbed her shoulder while I inspected my foot.
"Now, if my husband were still here (J's husband G was a carpenter. He passed away a year ago), he'd have held a conference with all of us, then cleared us out and dismantled that thing without causing so much as a scratch." She grinned at me. "But who has time for that? Can you walk on that foot?" she asked.
I could, so we began hauling the broken shelves out to the burn pile at the farm. "Who on earth put these things up in the first place?" she asked me. "They're nothing but press board that's been glued and tacked together. Not a bit of it was even fastened to the wall!"
I had to admit they'd been fashioned by a fellow who didn't know a hammer from a soup spoon but had had good intentions, nonetheless. J's son came in while we were cleaning up the mess we'd made. He took one look, turned on his heel and returned minutes later with a couple of sturdy boards and his electric drill. In two minutes he'd braced the second set of shelves on the opposite wall. They just may may make it through the summer without mishap. thanks to his know-how.
|You can see how the shelves are buckling.|