This is the post excerpt.
This is the post excerpt.
So, I was putting away a pyrex baking pan, as I have done countless times before. But as the pan slides into place inside the slightly larger one below, I hear the distinct sound of shattering glass. Oh. I look into the dark lower shelf enough to know that there’s a situation there that’s gonna take some effort to deal with. Not now.
A couple of days later, I either had to put something away there or I just decided now was the time to tackle it. I sit on the floor and address the mess. Yes, the pan is shattered and the broken glass has done its usual trick of getting into every available nook and cranny.
First retrieve a Trader Joe’s double paper shopping bag from the stash in the pantry. Love those bags! Next, lift up the pan below the broken pan and dump all the big pieces into the TJ bag. Then remove ALL the pyrex glass baking dishes from that shelf, six of them. Assess and decide they ALL need to be washed. Then get vacuum and suck up all the little glass shards left on the shelf. Then spray the shelf with cleaner and wipe it with a cloth. Now it’s clean.
However, the plastic shelf liner is curled up in the front with its sticky side showing. This didn’t just happen. It’s kinda been like that for three years since I lined the shelf and because it is raw lumber, the liner didn’t stick right. Maybe about a year ago, I bought a supply of brass tacks to tack down the edges. I actually did this on another shelf, the one where I keep some of my cooking ingredients. I decide that this is the moment to tack down the edge on the now vacant shelf.
I assemble tacks and hammer and attempt to insert the tack into the wood. No go. The wood is super hard and I can’t make a dent in it. I go searching through Pete’s tool area and spy a sign saying “punches.” There are lots of things there but not one that really fits my need. I settle for a very fine punch. I put the punch where I wanted the hole and I hammered it. It did make a hole, but the tip of the punch bent. After a couple of holes, the tip was bent at a 45 degree angle.
I grab the tip and the handle of the punch in my hands and try to bend it back to straight. Pop! It breaks off close to the handle and flies through my thumb, making two holes that began to bleed. I toy with the idea of ignoring this; even go ahead and do another tack with my bleeding finger. Then I thought it would be wiser to clean the wound and protect it. I washed it with soap and water in the bathroom, found the antibiotic salve and applied it, and wrapped the thumb tip in a band-aid. Back to work.
Turns out, now the punch is exactly the right size for making holes to prepare for the insertion of a tack! After the easy front row of tacks are done, two tacks need to be put at the far end of the liner, towards the back of the cabinet. I struggle with fitting my body into the tight space. I need to get both hands to that spot, one with the punch (and later the tack) and one with the hammer. Impossible. Pete comes by and I ask for help. He runs down to the shop and comes back with a very special tool; a 2-foot-long needle nose plier. (That plier has its own story of being needed and found at Home Depot with the help of a tool guy, causing a three-way tool rapture.) With grunts and several tries, we finally get the back tacks in. The job is finished, the pans get washed, and order is restored in my baking pan shelf. The punch now has a new home in the box with the thumbtacks.
When I woke up that morning, I never imagined that I would spend hours of that day on the kitchen floor crawling into the cabinet. I consider it a luxury to be able to follow my nose when it leads me to something to do. It almost doesn’t matter what I do, it’s how I do it that counts. I value staying peaceful and here and now as the situation unfolds and presents its challenges. I’m reminded of my grandson Brendan, trying again and again and again to put the guitar pick in the pick holder on the guitar. It doesn’t occur to him to get frustrated. He’s just learning. We adults like to think we got it all learned, but the truth is we don’t. There are lessons to be learned in every minute of every day. Living open to the lessons is my way of following the advice to be like a child – a prerequisite to entering heaven. Heaven is here and now and everywhere and always, even in a lowly kitchen cabinet.
A couple of days have gone by and band-aids #1 and #2 have come and gone. My thumb emerges with a couple of tags of skin that now get caught on things and hurt. I amputate them with a nail clip. Now I just have two little red holes on my thumb. I am learning how important that thin top layer of skin is. Without it, my thumb is sensitive. Any little touch or change in temperature or environment causes an intense sensation.
I’m thinking the lesson in this for me is about the thin veneer of our definition of the world and who we are in it. Poke a hole in it and a whole new reality can rush in.
The world is what we think it is. And it’s not. And we can’t get the job done alone.