Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ikea, Particle Boards and Florida Don't Mix

It was one of those things.

Having house guests meant we got to go shopping.  I had to restock the kitchen.  No problem there, I actually like going to the big Publix supermarket downtown.  If anything I try to restrain myself from getting all sorts of crazy goodies because I like the challenge of making new recipes and sharing them with friends and family.

In a small house, you learn quickly that cabinets and pantry space are at a premium.  There are many that would consider 1200 square feet large, and others that would consider it a rabbit hutch.  They're all not paying my mortgage so I'm inclined to tell them to have a nice day.

Among other things.

But we did get creative with storage when we moved in here.   Coming from 1900 square feet on three floors in Philadelphia, I'm still throwing things out that we moved with back in 2006.  The box of random parts gets smaller since I just don't have room to store things that can be repaired.

There is always room for food, and with the seasons being only two here, I have to store food for each.

Hurricane Season means that we store two weeks worth of food, water, and necessities for six months.
Snowbird season is easy, the weather is predictable, and we don't really expect problems.  So this is when you eat the Hurricane food.


One of the things we did was throw up our hands and build up the laundry room.  It's definitely not "ADA Compliant" any longer.  In fact, I have to wonder if it is even Ramblingmoose Compliant. 

There are so many cabinets in the laundry room that my shoulders brush both sides of the path to the back of the room.   Shelves above your head, on the walls, and cabinets on the entryway.

That's where Ikea came in.

We went to the land of cheap Swedish Flat Pack Furniture a while back.  They name things by taking a phone book in Stockholm and throwing darts at a random page and saying "Billy!  I shall call a cabinet Billy!"  or "Look it's a Boj!".

Not that anyone out of Scandinavia knows what on Earth a Boj is, mind you.  I suspect it's another word for a room of convenience, and most likely flat packed so you can assemble it with a happy Allen Key and a lot of swearing.

Oh, and it's probably made with Particle Board.

Ikea doesn't make everything out of particle board.  This is a good thing because particle board is rubbish in a humid climate like South Florida.  It's rubbish in a dry climate too, but at least it won't melt there.

I had some rather nice looking dressers from Ikea that were made of particle board in Philadelphia.  By the time I moved out, I didn't have any trouble moving them out.  I simply gave it a nudge, and it collapsed. 

All the more easy to throw out.

And this was the basis of my problem.

We got back from Publix with giant bags of food.  Technicolor bottles of soda.  Cans of random condiments.  Eggs.  Lots of Eggs.

All of that food had to be stored.

I walked into the kitchen and began to fill the freezer immediately as Kevin brought in the rest of the food. 

Beginning with the frozen fish that was on a "Bogo", I began playing Freezer Tetris. 

I think somewhere in Stockholm, six weeks ago, a Butterfly flapped its wings.  That butterfly caused my pickles from Nebraska to bounce.

The pantry simply collapsed.

We hadn't actually added anything to the pantry.  What must have happened was that the rain that was approaching from a tropical system that was two days away at that point scared it.  Six feet worth of Canned Goods, boxed pasta, random glassware including two strange Star Trek promo glasses I have no idea what to do with, a stack of 5 ready made pie shells, three jars of spaghetti sauce and much more began a short trip.

The shelves gave way in the middle of the pantry.

The sheer volume of the food that hit the floor was a shock, we didn't realize that we had those 4 bottles of catsup in the extra large sized handy plastic squeeze bottle.  We also don't know what we'll do with them, considering that we don't use quite that much catsup. 

We still have the catsup by the way.  It survived the trip to the floor.  Those bottles ricocheted off of the washer, onto the stack of bottled water and onto the floor in the corner cushioning more fragile things like cereal boxes on their way down.

The pickles were a gift from my cousin Bill in Nebraska.  Good ol' Mason jars.   I never knew that a glass Mason storage jar could take the fall from chest high, bounce off of my dryer, the spaghetti jars, and some other weirdly random food and survive with only the sealing ring getting dented.  But survive they did.  Good thing because Bill has an excellent recipe for sweet and sour pickles!

Unfortunately that spaghetti sauce didn't survive.   We had four jars of the stuff.  The two that were in the Good Ol' Mason Jars bounced off of the pickles and settled on the floor back in the corner intact among the dirty towels that have been collecting waiting for Hot Wash Day.  The other two did not.  They were commercially prepared, and since glass isn't designed to take impact unless it is a Good Ol' Mason Jar, and the commercially prepared stuff is much thinner glass.  It's Just Thick Enough to get it home, but not really thick enough to survive any shock.

How did all this happen?

The side walls of the pantry were not built with any support beams across the back.  The pantry itself was built as four sides with a piece of cardboard nailed to the "box" as a backing.  It wasn't designed to hold it together.  Yes, a piece of particle board nailed across the back would hold it up much better but that wasn't to be. 

The box bulged through the successive years of humid weather and jars of pickles, and that night even before I put another can of Whole Fruit Cranberry Sauce on the shelves, it collapsed.

I never saw a cabinet burst its seams like that before.  It was a giant waterfall of crap.  It simply vomited up my stored food and Star Trek glasses into my laundry room.

My laundry room now has a slightly pink floor.   Yes, the spaghetti sauce again.  The floor is unsealed concrete and while I managed to get up almost all of the sauce with a mop and a lot of hot water, it is impossible to get all that healthy lycopene back up off the floor once it has been left there in an explosive fashion.

I'll be cleaning up spaghetti sauce for years.

So if you do get a tall and narrow Ikea Particle Board cabinet, there is a fix.  Screw your shelves in with a long drywall screw through the outside box of the cabinet.   That will give you the lateral stability you need in case your cousin Bill from Nebraska should ship you some yummy pickles again!

Pickles.  Suddenly I'm craving some pickles.   No ice cream, please, and we have quite enough spaghetti sauce that survived.

Did you know that a Mason Jar could bounce?  Neither did I!

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