Sunday, August 21, 2011

da shelf

i have some blog catching up to do. i blame tim's work schedule. and my laziness.

we have hard water so we have to buy bottled water. it's a major pain and has led to much marital strife and annoyance-it's actually pretty rediculous how much stress this issue has caused tim and i.

for several years now, our system has consisted of refilling our five gallon water jugs and then filling a pitcher from those that we keep on the counter or fridge, depending on the season. but the pitcher would never last the whole day and always seemed to be annoyingly empty at the worst possible times. plus it was hard for the boys to be able to get themselves drinks with that system. ben was finally able to get himself drinks with minimal messes but when the pitcher was full it was too heavy for max to handle. after five years of getting drinks for little boys, i was ready for them to take over that task.

back in september of 2010 meg at sew liberated had this great post: quenching thirst, montessori style. at the time i read it, her system seemed like a great idea, but i just never put it into action. i think i was being cheap and decided i would just muddle along with our free pitcher system instead of buying a water crock. plus, i was pretty certain the boys would make huge messes with unlimited access to water.

but the idea stuck with me and this spring i was totally fed up with our annoying system. while researching water crocks online, i remembered that my aunt and uncle used to have one on a stand in their dining room, but knew that they no longer used it. being the cheapskate that i am, i called her up and asked if she still had it around. sure enough, she did, and gifted it to me, but no longer had the stand. it needed a new faucet and gasket so i set it aside and procrastinated ordering them.

i finally ordered the new parts in july and when they came, gave the crock a good scrubbing and had tim put it together. we started using it with it just sitting on our counter. it was nice because it held more water than the pitcher we had been using and ben and max could reach it, but tim wanted to be able to just put the whole five-gallon jug on top of the crock instead of filling the crock every couple of days. but when he would do that, it would block the upper cabinets that stored everyday essentials like plates and glasses--no good.

tim wanted to order a stand like this one but i really didn't want to spend almost $50 for something so simple, plus i wanted to have shelf space on the stand. so i said i would build a shelf. *insert tim's skeptical eyebrows raised look here.* in our years of marriage, i may have developed a reputation for saying i would make things that haven't quite materialized. tim has been patiently waiting five years for a tshirt quilt and a lemon meringue pie.

but this time i was really going to do it. i drew up a rough sketch-pretty good for me since i usually just start screwing things together-and called my little brother to see if he would be game for helping me.

with my boys at my parents' house, i went to lowe's to get my supplies: sandpaper because i forgot to bring some from our house, screws, and one 2x12x12 untreated board. fyi: lowe's will price match anyone else, plus 10%-no printed ad necessary.

i thought i was so clever for having them make my cuts for me, which is free, saving myself and brother the time of getting out the saw and adjusting it, but they didn't make the cuts the right length. brother and i persevered anyways, just screwing it together and ignoring the gaps, because i was running out time-the boys' movie was almost over, and i really just wanted to get the project done.

when we stood up the finished shelf it looked great, except for a suspicious feeling that it looked a little too wide to fit in the space i needed it to. i tried to ignore the feeling all the way home, but upon bringing it in the house, it was proven that yes, it was too wide. being the expert carpenter that i am, i hadn't accounted for the width of the boards on the sides of the shelf, which was about three inches because of my thick board.

i was soooo frustrated. i had already been having a very cranky week and i needed this to be an easy project to perk me up and that wasn't happening.

after literally dreaming about fixing the shelf, the next day i took it all apart and attempted to cut it with our circular saw. the thing with our saw is it doesn't cut staight through the board-it cuts at an angle because it's messed up. i tried to adjust it and thought i had fixed the problem, but nope, it still cut at an angle.

totally irritated, i called another brother (there's a lot of perks of having six brothers)and asked if he could help me. i think he could hear the crazy in my voice because he kindly agreed to let me and the boys come over. i would say he helped me fix the shelf, but he actually did all the work while i stood there and watched. he sympathized with me-we both enjoy doing projects but with limited free time, we both get really frustrated when they don't turn out right the first time because then we have to wait awhile to be able to fix them. granted my projects are small and simple and his are big and amazing, but it still made me feel better knowing i wasn't totally crazy for getting so annoyed over a shelf.

the shelf now fits perfectly and allows for a nice display space for some on my colorful treasures, as well as a spot for glasses so the boys (and second kind brother's kids)can help themselves to a glass of water-YAY! admittedly, we had a few accidents in the first couple days of use-max would be so mesmerized watching his glass fill up that he would stand there watching as his glass overflowed and water poured onto the floor. but now with a couple weeks of use under their belts, i think the novelty has worn off and we haven't had any more spills.

now, whenever i get a drink, i think of two of my very sweet brothers who helped me. and the price:

$24.78 sure beats $50 and i still have a few screws leftover and the sandpaper has me ready for my next project.


  1. Awesome! That shelf looks great. I'm not nearly as handy as you. I would never attempt to build anything.

  2. what a great idea--the shelf is cute and it makes a nice addition to your kitchen, and it's practical too!
    I'm surprised your boys haven't played with the water too much. Nicholas and James would be all over that. Good thing I can lock my fridge water...
    I could feel your frustration when you said the shelves were too wide. I hate moments like that. What a blessing to have your brothers handy like that. :)