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Sadly, shower caddy is a fallen angle


EVERY HOME REPAIR guy likes to admire a job well-done. Gazing at a successfully completed project gives him a feeling of pride, a sense of accomplishment.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum, the job you botched. It is an embarrassment. It reminds you of your limitations. Every time you walk past it, you look down at your shoes, or in my case recently, down at my bare feet.

I botched the shower caddy job. Instead of standing up straight in the corner of the bathroom shower, providing a stable home for bars of soap and bottles of hair care products, my shower caddy is a slouch. It should have the erect posture of the Washington Monument. But mine has the Tower of Pisa lean.

I bought the device at a shop that sells bathroom accessories. It is a piece of plastic molded into two triangular-shaped shelves. In theory, the device should fit snugly into the corner of a shower, attaching itself with several adhesive pads to the shower walls.

At the time I bought it, it seemed like a solution to the vexing household problem of keeping order in the shower. I was tired of searching for the soap, hunting for the shampoo, chasing down the conditioner. This shower caddy, it seemed, could provide a stable home for these slippery denizens.

I eyed the various styles of shower organizers. There was the kind that slipped over the the shower head, like a coat hanger. It seemed too shaky. Narrowing my focus to the kind of caddys that fit in the corner, I considered the appeal of the two-shelf and three-shelf models.

After considerable thought I went for the two-shelfer. A third shelf would, I surmised, encourage the appearance of more soaps, shampoos and conditioners. This, in turn, would lead to confusion in the shower, the very condition the caddy was supposed to eliminate.

I was proud of my purchase. So proud that I wrapped it up and gave it to myself as a Christmas present. As I took the caddy out of its box, my hands were trembling with excitement. I tried to calm myself. I took a deep breath. I read and reread the installation instructions.

They seemed pretty straightforward. Remove the protective covers from the adhesive pads. Attach the caddy to the shower walls. Don't operate the shower for 24 hours.

I took a couple of practice runs, holding the caddy up to the shower walls, while keeping the protective covers on the adhesive pads.

When I was certain I knew exactly where I wanted to put the caddy, I removed the pad covers and went to the full-adhesion mode. Slowly, carefully, carrying the shower caddy with two hands, I moved it toward its new home, in the corner between the front and side walls of the shower, a little above eye level.

Then something went wrong. I am still not sure what. Maybe one of my hands jumped with excitement. Or maybe one of the shower walls jumped out at me. Or maybe there was a small, extremely localized earthquake that affected only my shower. Before I could say, "plumb bob" the shower caddy had attached itself to the shower walls and was crooked. The right side of the caddy was higher than the left side, creating a lean to the left.

At first I tried to reposition the caddy, but the adhesive pads would not let me move it.

Next I tried to put a positive spin on the slouching caddy. The lean was actually a good thing, I told my wife, because it prevented water droplets from forming on the shelves.

My wife was not convinced. She refused to put her shampoo bottles on the caddy because she was sure it was going to fall.

I assured her that would not happen. I was wrong. The caddy is coming off the walls. Very slowly.

Ever since Christmas its posture has deteriorated. At first it had a little lean. Then a serious slouch. Now it is moving toward a full recline. Pretty soon, instead of having to pick up a bottle of shampoo, I can lather up by letting the bottle stay in the caddy and simply flipping open the lid. The caddy will be sitting at such a steep angle that shampoo will come rushing out like the Gunpowder at flood stage.

I have tried to remove the caddy from the wall, but can't. A couple of the adhesive pads still have some life left in them and they cling to shower walls.

I have adopted a tactic of weighing the caddy down and waiting it out. Rather than putting a mere one or two bottles of shampoo on the caddy, I load it down with six or seven containers. I am hoping that the weight and stress will eventually make the shower caddy surrender.

When that day comes, when the last pad adheres no more, I will be one happy fellow.

The crooked shower caddy, the evidence of my misstep, will be gone. The shower walls will be clean, ready for a new vessel, one that will carry both my hair care products and my dream of a cleaner, better organized tomorrow. I have already begun practicing the installation procedure. I vow that the replacement, unlike its predecessor, will be upright.

Pub Date: 2/13/99

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