Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hope The Wall Doesn't Fall Down

I was sitting on the patio, dog in my lap, eyes closed when a campground neighbor wandered over.

"What are you doing?"

I opened my eyes and replied "I'm praying the wall doesn't fall down."

My neighbor gave me an odd look, surveying the campground for a wall. "Ummm, just what wall is that?"

"Here, I'll show you."

Actually praying the wall doesn't fall down is a metaphor for me practicing mind over matter in an attempt to heal thyself. It began in the galley one day...

When I bought my 1994 motorhome in 2009, the galley came with this whitish wallpapered wall next to the stove. It had a plastic paper towel holder screwed on it. Several weeks later when a friend came to see my new old home, my paper towel holder was still empty, so he bought me an 8 pack of paper towels as a gift. 

Now it felt like home.

In 2010 while wandering around Ohio, I bought this traditional Amish utensil basket. My flipper, spoons, and spatulas were crammed into a tiny drawer on the other side of the sink. It was rather cumbersome to fight with the utensils, looking for just one in the small drawer while my pancakes burned in the fry pan.  

I bought a little hand crank drill, a package of large brass cup hooks and a screwdriver. Nervously I put the first hole in the wall, screwed in the hook, then hung up the basket. I was delighted with the beautiful utensil holder and the Amish folks who made it. Cooking was fun. I quit burning things.

Now it felt like home. 

After I had drilled one hole into the wall, what's a few more?  I felt really bold. I decided to relocate the ancient paper towel holder to a tiny wall above the built-in microwave. Two more holes were drilled to accommodate that. I also discovered that unused holes in the wall could be neatly filled with a brass screw. Then it just looks like a screw is holding the wall up, not that I have an extra hole in the wall. I chose brass because my motorhome came with brass hardware on the cabinets. Otherwise I would have chose stainless steel because I am an old salt (a former live-aboard sailboat owner.)

On $5 coupon day at Dollar General, I bought these 2 rectangular baskets because underneath the weaving was a sturdy metal frame. After all, I still had brass hooks leftover from the package I bought to accommodate the utensil holder. Four more holes, four more hooks, two more baskets were hung on the wall. 

Cooking was tastier with a few handy spices.

Now it felt like home.

As time went on, the wall became a growing project. Whenever I found something handy and useful for the wall, I snatched it up. Some of my finds were from thrift stores (used) or found at recycling or gifts or Amazon. The wall is a startling reminder, my own little metaphor, that despite all the dire predictions by doctors in 2009, I kept waking up alive and living, one day at a time. The wall became a sort of creative outlet for invention as I made my tiny galley more to my liking and living and cooking and eating and dining and recuperating. Healthy nutrition can drastically change one's medical concerns (but it's very hard work!)

In my funny little brain, I figure as long as the wall holds up, all is well and Life is good. 

I am still occasionally drilling holes in that wall, hanging up stuff to make my rolling galley more efficient. Behind the stove is an  an oak spindle galley rail that I coated with polyurethane, sawed, screwed and glued to the counter top with the help of a friend, to make a spice rack on a section of unused counter that was otherwise just collecting dust. In the picture above, you can see the counter before the rail was added in the picture below.

Now it felt like home.

And that's how and why I recently came to be reclining on the patio, with my eyes closed, dog in my lap, praying the wall doesn't fall down. It's my metaphor for my fragile chaotic life; praying for strength and better health.

Many of the useful items shown are also available on Amazon. Click the links for details, I've added my comments in brackets below.
Collapsible Purple Squish Mixing Bowl, 1.5-Quart (perfect for making tossed salads and has a nice pour lip on it too for pancake batter)
Collapsible Green Squish Oval Mixing Bowl, 5-Quart (it's so nice to have a jumbo bowl hanging around, makes awesome potato salad too)
Magnetic Tool Holder, 13 Inch Wall-Mount with 3 Hanging Hooks (this holds my ice pick and favorite little knives and spreaders, the attached hooks are super handy too)
15 by 20 Inch White Cutting Board (this is shown hiding my sink, I don't cut on it, I keep it to use as extra counter space and hide the dirty dishes under it, when my front door opens, it's the first thing one sees, so that's why I don't slice it up)
8x8 inch End Grain Teak Chop Block (love this chopping block and the teak reminds me of my old sailboat, as a bonus, it fits in my wall basket, second from the top on the left side of the picture)
Amish Utensil Wall Basket (I love baskets and my close friends say I am a basket case)
5 inch square cast iron skillet (ideal and fun cooking for one, doubles as a speedy bread toaster too, I gave away the bulky toaster that came with the RV, it took up too much room)
Pate Knives (shown on magnetic strip, these are great little spreaders for soft cheese, jam, butter)
Oak Spindle Galley Rail (used to create built-in spice rack on counter behind stove)
Cheese Knives (these are super handy for more than just cheese)
Clock and Weather Station (shown above shopping list)
15x20 Microfiber Dish Drying Mat (folded up in very top basket, super useful when I have lots of dishes drip drying)
Corelle 7 Inch Salad/Dessert/Snack Plate (these fit in an upper basket near the microwave, handy for small meals and snacks, doubles as a bowl cover when microwaving, I found these used at a thrift store)
Portable Oval Slow Cooker, 1.5-Quart (came with a heavy duty rubber band to lock the lid down, great for traveling days, let it cook while I drive without the lid rattling or bouncing off)
Red Silicone Double Spatula (gets the last little bits out of any sized jar)
OXO Good Grips Can Opener (fast, easy and painless)
Long Lighter (prevents burning fingers when lighting gas stove, oven or BBQ)
Ceramic Knife (sharper than steel, does not brown apples or fruits, can slice super thin with ease, works with bread too, lives in the Amish utility basket)
Silicone Round Trivet, 8-Inch (indispensable, saves burning a table or counter, works as a pot holder, loosens stuck lids, non-skid too, plus easy to wash and clean)
Shopping Note Pads 8x3 inches (these are magnetic, but wall is not, I stuck a hook in the wall, then added a small clamp that had a hole in it to hang on the hook and hold the removable pads, it's easy to scribble grocery lists and random thoughts) 
Stainless Steel Ice Pick (can poke holes in wall for screwing in hooks, also I keep a plastic shoe box in the freezer for holding ice cubes I make myself, when they occasionally stick together, the ice pick breaks them apart)
Manual Rotary Craft Drill (for drilling holes in wall, more precise than using ice pick)
3/4-Inch Solid Brass Cup Hooks (most of the items on the wall are held up with these simple hooks)
Silicone Head Tongs (won't scratch pans, doubles as salad tongs and servers)
Incandescent Night Light with Switch (super useful for extra lighting under the cabinet, my motorhome has 8 of these)

In case you are wondering... all that stuff has stayed up on the wall quietly when I go bouncing down the scenic highways and byways. The pot holders act as a damper for the little fry pans hanging on the wall)


  1. damn mermaid, do you think there might be room for a spare tire or 2 on there? i ain't sayin nutin here, just askin, just askin.

    peaceup. raz

  2. Utilizing the space in your tiny kitchen makes food preparation easier, and it is very much your space, done your way. I love it!


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