So yesterday morning at 7:15 Jessica called me at work and this is how part of our conversation went (approximately):
J: “Mom, where did you keep the stuff you canned this summer?”
Me: “Where do I keep the stuff I canned?”
J: “Where did you keep the pickles and green beans and stuff? I know where they are now, I just want to know where they were.”
Me: “It’s all on a shelf in the laundry room, why?”
J: “No, it was on a shelf in the laundry room. Now it’s all over the floor.”
Me: “The shelf fell down?!” (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)
J: “There is broken glass, pickles, and green beans everywhere.” (Compelling reading, no?)
Yes, the shelf that Greg safely installed high up on the wall in the laundry room had too much weight hanging off the front of it (where I had hung Bradley’s full clothes hamper to get it off the floor…) and the metal supports just couldn’t handle the load. They bent almost 180 degrees, pulling the shelf out of the brackets and flat against the wall, perpendicular to where it had been.
There were jars of green beans, dill pickles, cinnamon pickles (the syrup!), and apple butter stacked neatly up there, along with extra jars and a box of miscellaneous canning supplies. Here is a snapshot of what I found when I got home:
Jess had cleaned up much of it already so I never saw the entirety of the mess. This was enough to sicken me, though. Yes, that is the cat box in the lower left-hand corner, full of fresh litter and now, dill pickles.
It took me about an hour to get through the broken glass and scattered food on the floor, mop up the syrup and bean juice, and run the Swiffer over it all to hopefully pick up all of the tiny shards of glass. That was all I had time to do before we had to leave for Jess’s and Bradley’s six-week check at the doctor’s office in Lincoln. By the time we got home early in the evening, the floor had dried with a sticky syrup-glue coating. It was just staying that way overnight. I was tired.
First thing this morning out came the bucket, rags, and scrub brush. It took almost an hour to do just the laundry room floor, but now it’s all shiny clean and our shoes don’t make that sticking, slurpy sound when we walk back there.
If I have to guess, I’d say we lost 80-90% of what we canned. There are a few jars of each thing that did not break, and a couple of empties that survived the crash. Fortunately, this loss doesn’t mean we won’t eat this winter, though it is disappointing to lose what we worked so hard on together. It all sucks, but if we look on the bright side, which I always must do, no one was standing back there when it happened, so no one got hurt. And I’m sure there would have been injuries if a person had been under that shelf when the Mason jars came tumbling down.
I still need to wash those jars that survived and put everything back where it belongs in the laundry room, and the baby is asleep, so now’s my chance. Off to work…