Pandora's Box

It was a day full of interesting developments, thunderous challenges and vigorous responses, a time when fate conspires with chance and coincidence in an attempt to shake your confidence like a tail on a bone-eating dog.

My wife, Annette, had just walked in the front door when we heard what sounded like a swinging wrecking ball dealing out destruction in the bedroom. I ran into the room and discovered that all the shelving and hanging racks in my closet had decided to respect gravity and collapsed to the ground, leaving behind only bare screws and broken brackets.

I wrote down what hardware I would need to make the needed repairs and flew out the door to visit one of my favorite places on the planet: Ashland Hardware. Home repair hardware was everywhere for the contractors, but finding what you might need for a do-it-yourselfer required abundant knowledge of the part(s) in question. I found a helpful clerk who led me down a long aisle and handed me the last two bags of plastic hooks, just what I needed to mend the closet.

I was set to check out, but interesting new items caught my eye and soon I was wandering about enraptured by the extensive inventory. I emerged an hour later with a new flashlight, a pair of work gloves, an extension cord and, of course, the hooks.

Arriving back home, I concluded that the closet needed to be cleaned out and vacuumed, so I began to carry out dozens of overflowing armloads of slacks, coats and shirts which I hardly, if ever, use. At this point every surface in the living room was piled high. I am pretty sure that I own 200 ties that I used during my tenure of Lance version 1.0. I rummaged through the ties and stopped to remember where, when and why I acquired each one of them. It was clear that I was hung up on the neckwear and put them all into a large plastic container, to be opened and sorted another time.

The vacuum cleaner's bag was full and all it did was spew dust and debris about. After a half-hour I concluded that I had better get some more bags at the hardware store.

Again I picked up a couple of items in addition to the necessary bags and soon was heading home with a new drill, two drill bits, a tape measure and a hard hat. You just never know when these things might be needed.

With the vacuum cleaner raring to go, I entered the dustbowl and soon had the closet clean and tidy, ready for the shelving once the hooks and anchors could be properly mounted.

To be truthful, nothing was going according to plan. The anchors were tighter than a home loan, forcing me to use a pry bar to get them out. Getting the new ones in was easy, once I found the sledge hammer and the resolve to finish the job as quickly as possible. Yet this was not to be the case.

I had writing and research to do and several deadlines were fast approaching. Dirty dishes, dirty clothes and a refrigerator in need of cleaning enticed me, like the Sirens in the days of Odysseus. My week was already full and the time needed to refurbish the closet seemed to span many days. I am proud that I tripped and fell only four times while wandering around in the middle of the night.

Four days into the fray found me looking for more parts and time to finish the task. It was then that Annette demanded to know when all the clothing would be hung again in the closet. I glanced around the living room and answered:

"I should have things tied up here in another day or so." was last seen wearing a tool belt and petting Sprinkles the deer in his front yard. If you know how to install shelving in a cramped closet, send Lance an e-mail in brackets.

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