Shelf-Awareness and Shelf-Shabotage

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Laugh at yourself because you discover you contain the brains of an academically-challenged fruit fly, and you have the makings of blog post.

Truly, it is only for We of the Grand Blogosphere that incidents of personal confusion, clumsiness, and monumental stupidity lead to-- not appropriate shame and self-loathing-- but the phrase, "Crikey-Moses, I must blog about about one!"

The setting? Saturday afternoon.

I am in my dining room, evaluating the placement of a four-foot wide, three-foot tall shelf, designed to sit on a mantle or sideboard.

It isn't heavy, as much as large and unwieldy. And having determined that it won't work properly on my fireplace mantle, I set my sights on the only other wide surface in the room.

On top of a six-foot-tall cabinet.

Note, I do not care for heights.

So I get a small ladder. (So far so good!)

Then I butt the steps right up to the cabinet. (Nice and close!)

I jiggle it a few times to ensure its grippy stairs are locked properly in place. (Safety first, donchaknow!)

Then I grab the giant shelf and begin my ascent.

Step... step... step... Almost there!

Only... erm.... not so much.

I am out of steps. I barely peer over the top of the cabinet. And as I try to lift this shelfish monstrosity up and onto its top, I realize I failed to take into account one more important thing.

Lifting requires bent arms to unbend themselves. The shelf is more than a foot wide.

I am about a foot from the cabinet. My arms are pinned.

Physics says 'no.'

I am, in fact, so close to this cabinet--- my nose taking in its lemony-fresh furniture polish scent-- that I am ever-so-slightly off-balance now. Meaning, I could try to take a step backward, off the stair I'm on, but I can't see where the step below it is, and the angle is off.

And I can't lift the shelf up because there's no room to unbend my arms, because I am physically in my own way with things like boobs and noses and chins, all of which I feel I'll need for later.

I stand there blinking, wondering exactly how I got into this position and whether I would, quite possibly, be spending the remainder of my life here.

I could get a different hand-hold on the shelf, but there's nowhere to rest it.

I try balancing it with one hand, but the shelf is too wide, and it keeps slipping.

I try jogging my hands into place, inch-by-inch, but it is wood and I am scraping off skin which-- like chins, noses and whatnot-- I think I'll need for later.

I decide, in my infinite brilliance, that I might be able to temporarily wedge the shelf between my stomach and the cabinet. In a rudimentary vise grip. You know: just so I can move my hands.

So here I am, hoping Mighty Iron Stomach (which is more like Mighty Jell-O Stomach), will support all the weight of a four-foot-by-three-foot shelf.

I apply stomach to shelf.

I let go with one hand.

The cabinet rattles and sways. I rattle and sway. The china inside the cabinet contemplates life as a mosaic.

In a moment, one side of the shelf slips. My stomach learns that splinters are like acupuncture but less therapeutic.

I catch the shelf and stop.

I stand holding the shelf for a long, long time, thinking about life and how it has come to this, me being trapped in mid-air in my dining room with only woodgrain for a view.

And that, my friends, is when I begin to scream for help.

"Heeeellp! Oh, heeeeeeelllp!"

My housemate soon heard my dire pleas for assistance and came rushing to my aid. It is not terribly easy to explain how I got into this predicament, I discover. But she's been my friend for years and recalls me hydroplaning without a car. And the time I Wile E. Coyoted off a stepladder while hanging curtains. Oh, and the time I crippled myself in Cape May.

She has seen the wonders of my overly-ambitious yet rubbish brain. Yet still hangs out with me.

That's friendship.

Only, folks, she's in the process of purchasing her own house. Meaning soon, yours truly will be left solely to her own devices with no one to call for aid.

So if there's a week I suddenly don't post? Do me a favor. Please have the cops stop by my house and check on me.

My hands may not be free to make the 911 call myself.



Jaffer said...

I don't have anything to say with my mouth hanging except: "Poor Jenn ! I'm glad she's alright"

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Me, too! It was touch and go there for a while. :) But thank you!

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

Great telling! I can just picture the scene (unfortunately for you). Glad you survived. I hope it didn't damage your shelf esteem.

Jeez, I crack myshelf up.

Jenn Thorson said...

Chris- You're a shuper-dooper shpeller, too. :)

chyna said...

Maybe you should get one of those Life Alert necklaces to wear around once Scoob is gone. Or perhaps you should put the neighbors on alert when you decide to do anything death defying like home decorating. LOL

Sher said...

LOL! I'm not so sure about you being all right, but at least you're unharmed.

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- Every time Scoobie goes away on vacation she tells me not to do anything stupid and get myself injured. But... where's the fun in that? :)

Sher- Heh, yeah, yeah... Maybe I just need to hire myself a strong handsome fellow to lurk in case these sort of crises come up. What do you think?

C.B. Jones said...

"I am physically in my own way with things like boobs and noses and chins, all of which I feel I'll need for later."

What, pray tell, do you need more than one nose for? Does this mean you have more than one pair of boobs? If so, do you enjoy giving out free hugs?

Jenn Thorson said...

C.B- When you have a lot of sinus problems, an extra nose could be handy.

No comment southward of the nose(s). :)

ReformingGeek said...

I can shee myself on the shfloor with that thing on top of me, head shkewed to one side up against the fireplace. Oops.

Da Old Man said...

The Life Alert people may give you a discount. Your misadventures would make their bloopers highlights.

Leeuna said...

Jen, you didn't read the instructions. It says "Caution: do not wedge this shelf between your boobs and a tall cabinet." I think that's what it said.... :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Reforming Geek- It sheemed an almosht shertainty to me, too. :)

Da Old Man- I could be the youngest person ever to purchase Life Alert. I should start practicing my "I've fallen-- and I can't get up!" lines now, so I'm ready.

Leeuna- Well, it's a really old shelf. So the instructions are all in Victorian handwriting and faded. Who has time for that? :)

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Another top-shelf post, Jenn! You should write a book about these mishaps of yours and then prominently display the book on a shelf -- but only if it sells well enough to let you hire an installer, okay?

Jenn Thorson said...

Mike- I'll definitely keep that in mind! Or maybe I just should be completely safe and make it a coffeetable book. :) No ladders, ya know.

Lisa (Jonnysmommy) said...

This is awful! *snicker* I'm so glad you are OK. Oh my...*snicker* I'm not laughing at you. . . merely because it sounds exactly like something I might have done and probably will do before you know it! :-)

Hayseed said...

Too funny! You're right about the contrary nature of physics and that whole 'equal and opposite reaction' thing.

After a painting project, I missed the last two steps of the ladder on my way down. The ladder reacted to my stumble by flinging me into the grass and launching the paint tray skyward. From a flat-on-my-back vantage point, I watched the tray do a slow, lazy flip.

I assume physics uses that maneuver to calibrate landing trajectory and notify bystanders of the impending touchdown. Just as Dad and a shop employee walked around the corner, the paint laden tray zeroed in on my head...and waist-length hair.

Jenn Thorson said...

Lisa- Heh, well, I hope not. Because I don't think Jonny will be tall enough to grab one end of the shelf for you and rescue you! :)

Hayseed- Oh boy-- wouldn't you know it? :) I'd done a similar move once with a ladder and a bucket of gold paint-- moved the ladder forgetting the paint bucket was at the top.

I guess I don't need to tell YOU what that was like to try to clean up. :)

Anonymous said...

I love how you paint a picture without using a picture. At first, I thought I'd like a picture of this shelf, but then realized, I didn't need it. You gave us the picture. Thanks.

Jenn Thorson said...

Rambler- You can see the shelf, if you like, here on my thrift blog--

It's LARGE and full of curlicues and delicate stuff, so you can see where it might have been challenging.

I just didn't want folks to have to get caught up in the detail of it in order to understand the painful logistics. :)

Chaotically Calm said...

Ha ha..wait I am not laughing at you I am laughing with you...ok maybe a little at you but it's in good faith (no pun intended).

If my life wasn't such a train wreck I would write about my total lack of coordination. The most recent being just the other day while flatironing my hair stepping backwards, tripping over the cat and teetering between banging my head on the sink or the bathtub. Luckily I was able to keep my balance without burning my face or falling to a porcelin death.

Jenn Thorson said...

Faith- Wow, imagine explaining that one to 911 or the on-the-scene med guys.

And I would hate to think of you snuffing it in an unfortunate flat-ironing incident. It's not as bad as dying on the toilet like Elvis, but it isn't exactly stylish. :)

Be safe, my friend!

jay said...

"The china inside the cabinet contemplates life as a mosaic."

Hahahaha! My china has contemplated that from time to time, too!

Tell you what, when your housemate moves out, you might wanna get one of those alarm call buttons old people hang around their necks? You could do worse. LOL!

jay said...

"The china inside the cabinet contemplates life as a mosaic."

Hahahaha! My china has contemplated that from time to time, too!

Tell you what, when your housemate moves out, you might wanna get one of those alarm call buttons old people hang around their necks? You could do worse. LOL!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- Yes, it's looking like that might be a viable option. :)

Or else I need to get a Lassie dog who can go fetch help and bark things like, "Jenn's fallen in a well!"... Or "Jenn's trapped under a china cabinet!"

chyna said...

Hey the Life Alert people could use a new spokesperson. Wasn't Ed McMahon one of them? All I know is that their spokespeople have to be 6foot under by now. All-Senior-Citizens-Need-Life-Alert, yup they could use your help over there.

Hayseed said...

Jenn - >giggle< Gold paint!?

More than hilarious, you're therapeutic! Thank you... I feel MUCH better about my white paint escapade now :}

Skye said...

"The cabinet rattles and sways. I rattle and sway. The china inside the cabinet contemplates life as a mosaic."

See, this is precisely why I don't have any china! The cabinet woud rattle and sway so much and so often that the china inside it wouldn't be contemplating anything anymore, it simply would be a mosaic! I'm so accident prone that I'm surprised I'm allowed to work with knives and meat slicers!

racheld said...

This is absolutely hilarious!!

I'm in process of painting a huge "hutch" made of knotty pine to match my parents' dining room in the Fifties (can one go bankrupt buying KILZ?).

My DH calls me a "dish junkie" as I have WAY too many, and they're everywhere, and I would imagine that most of them have been in constant fear of conversion to Mosaicism for years.

Thank you for the fun!! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.