Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend projects

You know how frustrating it is to assemble furniture? You carefully open a box, hope like heck that all of the large plastic-coated sheets of particle board (and it's always particle board) are still in their original shapes. You find a sheet of paper with a sketch that your 4-year old could replicate, and a lot of sketchy directions that must have been translated through 3 or 4 different languages (one of which was completely devoid of articles "the" or "a") before finally resembling English.

The directions state that you only need a single screwdriver, but fail to mention that there is no single screwdriver in the world that can handle the 11 different sizes of screws, bolts, and "cam-locks" that they have packaged in individually sealed plastic baggies. They kindly provide an allen wrench for the rest of the fasteners, which snaps in half on it's first try. By the time you reach step #13, you realize that you've installed a piece incorrectly in step #2, and have to disassemble the whole thing and start again. Step #14 involes standing on your head while doing the splits and balancing 60 pounds of a wood-like material on your thumb in order to reach the specified (off-center) pre-drilled screw hole. And it will take all of your strength and both hands to coerce the screw into the hole without poking through the wrong side. Step #15 is missing altogether.

When you're finished with your assembly, you have spare parts, and your living room resembles the North Pole as your children have systematically shredded every sheet of protective styrofoam into individual white granules. You think the baby has swallowed more than a few handfuls of the stuff. You give the directions one final look, and wish that the thing came with a dose or two of ibuprofin, or at least a couple of shots of tequila.

So, you know how that goes right? How you vow to never, ever, do that again? How you start dreaming up ways to entice other people to do it for you? Wishing you could afford some real furniture made of actual wood delivered in a truck and set in place by strong burly men (preferably good-looking ones)?

You do? I don't. I actually like putting together furniture. Maybe I'm strange. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I'm a traitor to my gender. Or maybe I'm just an engineer at heart, one who loves a good 3-d puzzle. I find myself critiquing the directions--insufficient detail, poor use of supporting diagrams. Bad bad bad choices in labelling parts. Except for the sore hands (from the dozens of screws), and the worry that Trystan really did consume a bit of sytrofoam, I don't much agree with any of the above. Well, I wouldn't mind having strong, good-looking men at my beck and call. But then, my husband did most of the hefting for me, so I think I'm covered there. Will try to follow up with the photos...there really was an impressive amount of styrofoam.


Amanda said...

I love putting together those things too. I have to wait and buy them when Phil's gone or he'll try to take over.

Karin Price said...

Hi. I came across your blog on a blogsearch for "imperforate anus". I have a 5 month old who will be having the dye x-ray done next week in preparation for his upcoming pull-through surgery. Reading about your battle with ostomy pouches and doctors visits rings true with me. I also see you're in St. Louis. I live in Dallas now but grew up in STL....small world. Thanks for the blog.
Karin Price

flatflo said...

I love putting that type of stuff together. I would also love some real furniture! And the burly, handsome men!