When we moved into our home in 2015, it was beautifully decorated, with great painted and wallpapered walls, very expensive window coverings, and solid oak paneled doors, like they would build in 1996 in a nice neighborhood. One of the rooms, which eventually became my office, was used by the wife to house her extensive collection of dolls. The first time we walked through the house, the room actually was a bit scary, seeing hundreds of dolls everywhere in the room. There was half a wall with built in shelving, and another desk and bookshelf arrangement, again, all filled with dolls of every size and shape.
Fortunately, when we finally moved in, the dolls of course were gone, but the desk and bookcase, pretty well built in, remained. I filled the shelves up with my books and other wonderful items. Right above the desk itself was a 3x5 foot cork wall, that happily carried all my notes and incredibly valuable information…
One day, however, I walked into the office, and something seemed a bit amiss. I looked at the desk and bookshelf, and noticed it was no longer snug up against the wall. I’m pretty sure I felt just like the builders of the Tower of Pisa, when they first noticed a bit of a lean to the building. I had the leaning Bookshelf of Pisa. I guess I had not calculated the difference in weight load between a shelf full of little dolls, and one carrying heavy theology books.
My first thought was to try to repair it, or get it straightened back up against the wall again, instead of hanging in space. Again, not accurately calculating the weight of all the books, I pushed on the structure, and I was as successful as the fellows pushing of the Tower. It didn’t budge – it just sat there, leaning with a sinister smile of its face. I thought of shimming up the front legs, but the whole weight was too much to even move them up to shove anything underneath. I realized it was an entire system failure, and the only way it would possibly go back to normal would be to take all the books out, and probably replace them with little dolls, which wasn’t quite the theme for my office that I was looking for. It seemed to be a bit silly, also to have a nice, fine bookshelf standing empty, while all my books were piled on the floor – also a look that I had not planned for.
After a consultation with my marriage partner, we agreed that what probably needed to happen was to actually take the structure down, and donate it to someone, and then go out and buy a new desk and bookshelf. Actually, the area I was using as the desktop was better suited for a 4th grader, so I looked forward to the change.
So indeed, all the books ended up stacked on the floor. As I looked closer at the bookshelf/desk, I realized they had originally been put together from sections, with each of them secured to the other with brackets on the back side of the piece. This meant that, instead of just taking it apart piece by piece, I would have to do what the owners of the Tower have yet to commit to doing… I would need to slowly pull the structure completely away from the wall, and lay it down on its face on the floor. Of course, you remember the books. I indeed did take them out of the bookcase, but stacked them up all behind me on the floor. When I started to pull the bookcase down, I realized the thing was taller than I thought, and the drop would land right on top of all the books. Don’t you love having to repeat a job? I moved the books – again – and put them on the other end of the room.
Next, I had to move the recliner that was also in the way, and I had to make sure the cats were out of the room, since they love nothing better than chaos, and big messes.
I finally, slowly, tipped it completely over, and began to detach the pieces from each other. Of course, the next problem, not considered before, was what to do with the separate shelving and desktop and such once it was apart. You see, the books were taking up the spare area of the room where they normally could be stacked…
I finally was able to get ahold of a charity that actually wanted the unit, and they came and hauled it away. As I stared at the empty wall in front of me, I realized all too quickly that it wasn’t empty. You will recall the 3x5 cork wall. Well, it wasn’t part of the unit that came down – what I discovered was that whoever put up the desk and bookshelf, decided that instead of hanging a cork board up, they would glue a roll of cork to the wall itself! Of course, the cork had been cut to make room for the pieces of the bookshelf to sit right against the wall – which it didn’t – and so instead of a nice rectangular shape, it looked more like a map of Idaho, or Oklahoma.
No problem, I said. I’ll just pull the cork down. Well, they used some mighty fine glue, I tell you, because halfway through the process, I was taking as much of the top layer of sheetrock off the wall as I was the cork. Plus, besides the glue, they had tiny, incredibly sharp pin-like nails to also hold the cork in place, which remained in the wall once the cork came off.
It would be kind to say that, after more than a year or so, it’s still a work in progress. No longer 3x5, it’s now about 21/2 x 4, looking more like the Hawaiian islands, with clumps of cork and bright white untextured sheetrock.
Yes. It is a mess. Yes, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it, short of hiring someone to come and “fix it.” Yes, my dear wife – every time she comes into my office – remarks about how ugly that wall is, and that “we” should really do something about it, and it will have to be fixed when we move. Now, I figure to be in this house for at least another 10-15 years, so I figure there is time, and since I’m not entertaining anyone from the outside world in my office, it’s fine. For now.
I’m sure you have, like I have before, had “projects” that in concept seemed to be easy as pie, and then they unfolded into a colossal mess. This is an instance in which one “intends” and acts intentionally, on purpose, to accomplish something, but the intention fails to discover the unintended consequences that may arise. I guess in one sense, that’s part of life itself, but I still believe the best path to take is to think about things, be intentional and think about what may occur, even if we have to go ahead and hope for the best after all.
Anybody know how to “fix” an interesting looking wall?
Word for the day: balatron. Pronounced BALL-uh-tron. A rarely used word anymore, but an effective descriptor. It sounds like it should be Greek, but it’s actually from the Latin balatro, meaning “jester, or buffoon.” A balatron is a joker or clown, but not in a witty or intelligent way – a balatron, by most definitions is a buffoon—speaking a lot of nonsense, and simply acting the fool, but taking it on as a life’s work.
Go ahead and tell your big brother that you have always considered him a great balatron, and see if he takes it as a compliment, at least until he looks it up!
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.