Thursday, September 29, 2011

My room, my desk.

After spending that past semester trying to make due with my card table to do homework on (trying to squeeze my books etc on there along with my monitor is very frustrating), I broke down and bought a nice spacey desk. It weighed a ton...and came in a box. Apparently I had to assemble my new work space before I could enjoy it's many shelves to put things on, its long wide table that will hold my monitor and books easily, and the little lamp I bought especially to shine down on my new contented head while I did homework. All I had to do was put this puppy together and I was good to go. Homework heaven here I come.

I might mention I have never in my life put anything together more complicated than Lego blocks. My ex did all that sort of thing and I wasn't allowed to touch anything cause I "might ruin it"...being a girl and all. Whatever. How hard can it be anyways?

It took me 20 min to get the darn thing out of the box. Those boxes are like...indestructible. Seriously!!! I was hacking away at it with my kitchen knife no less and contemplating borrowing the neighbors chainsaw to get it done. (no idea if my neighbor has a chainsaw but he looks very I'm assuming odds are in favor he has one tucked away in his closet somewhere).

Finally ripped a corner open with a banshee scream of success, which brought all my kids which one of them pointed out the easier way to get it open. Which he did, in about 2 min. Creep.

There were about a million and five pieces to this desk. I sat looking at the pile of soon to be desk delight...and at the picture on the box and couldn't fathom how all these pieces were going to culminate in such a work of art. Looked like left over pieces after building a very big house.

Then I remembered these things come with DIRECTIONS!! Yay me. I hunted for the elusive piece of paper...actually a small sized telephone book of instructions it turns out...and eagerly flipped through the pages big deal. Nice pictures, plenty of big deal.

On the first page it makes this claim (that I discovered later was TOTALLY bogus...I should sue someone for false advertising) that it would only take about one hour to assemble this lovely desk. One hour. I had 5 hours before I had to be at work so plenty of time to get this thing together AND to test drive it with some Biology homework I had waiting. No big deal. One hour.

One of the very first things I learned about furniture assembling is that you need a lot of space to spread things out adequately. I was in my bedroom and had to put the desk together there cause it wouldn't fit through the door later if I did it in the living room...where there is lots of room. So the most I could spread out was in about a 4 by 5 foot square area....with areas extending down by my bed and into the closet. It was a tight squeeze, but hour. I could tolerate the cramped space for an hour.

I separated pieces of wood into like piles and went hunting for some tools. Screwdriver, check. Hammer, check. Apparently that was all I would need so I was good to go. I sat down in the middle of my pile and looked at the directions for the first step. A nicely drawn picture of two pieces of wood joined together with little pictures of the appropriate nails to hold them together with. Some kind of locking nail as it had a hole in it which another nail was meant to sit in at some point and lock together when you twisted it into place. Easy peasy.

I looked at all the pieces trying to discern which ones were the ones in the drawing. I held up this one and that one and compared them to the that one...too narrow. Not that one, too square. they are. Two rectangles that matched perfectly.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to hold two pieces of wood together while at the same time screwing a nail into them. Apparently I was jumping the gun as I was meant to screw the lock into one piece and the locking nail into the other and then fit them together. Ok, gotcha. I'm starting to catch on to rules of the game. Things should go smoother now.

Once done with those two I looked at the next set of directions. I had to add another piece onto the two I just fit together. Once again I hunted for the right piece of wood...not easy when they looked pretty damn similar to each other. (I would be nearly half done with this damn thing before I actually noticed that on the edges of each piece of wood was a letter associated with the pic it was needed in. So much easier that way *sigh*)

For the next hour I hunted for the proper pieces...struggled with nailing and screwing things as they are not my forte, and cursed the heat, the lack of space, the mocking children who ventured in every now and then to point and laugh and the various scratches and bruises I was self inflicting at an alarming rate. was coming along...sort of. By the end of the promised desk still did not resemble a desk and there were far more pieces left to assemble than had been assembled. I grumbled and went to take a break before I chucked it all out the window.

I came back with new resolve and tackled the next set of directions. Attach the little shelf dividers with pegs that went into each edge and into the main part of the desk. No problem. Easy enough. After completing this no brainer I sat back and looked at my progress. It was then I realized I had put the shelf dividers on backwards. Instead of the nice smooth pretty surface facing outwards (where we can see it) the grainy woody part was looking at me. Damn!! I grabbed the hammer and tried to pry them back out. I could barely get the edge of the hammer underneath the edge. It was too tight a fit. I struggled with it for a few minutes before deciding, Who cares? My desk. One little misstep would not take away from the purpose of the desk. (I'm pretty easy going like it gives the desk character. *ahem*)

I finally got the point where the shelving pieces fit onto the top of the desk. At this point I am meant to sit under the desk, twist and contort my body into a position in which I can screw nails upwards and at an angle...putting pressure on top as well to allow the nails to enter. While Pilates class has taught me some interesting moves of late, this was nearly impossible. It was probably the most frustrating part of the whole damn process. I took another look at the directions and noted at the beginning where it said One Hour (liars) it also said only ONE person was needed for assembly. Really? One very nimble flexible 4 handed person apparently is what they had in mind. That wasn't me by a long shot.

I took another break.

I came back and with more sweat and cussing than nohow, I managed to get the damn shelves on. They even looked mostly straight. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Next part was to put the backs on the shelves. Little flimsy pieces of panelling that closed off the back. How hard could that be?

Hammering teeny tiny little nail wannabees is a lesson in perseverance and marksmanship. Perseverance I have...marksmanship....not so much. 10 throbbing fingers later I had the panels on. Now it was looking like a desk. Hot damn!!

My daughter came in, took one look and asked..."are those panel things supposed to be showing the grainy side this way?"


I grabbed my hammer and attempted to pry the panels off so I could turn them around and put the smooth side facing the right way. The panels were too thin though and immediately began to shred when I attempted to pry them up. Hell...OK big deal. My room, my desk.

I looked at the clock and noted that over 3 hours had passed by now. One hour my ass. Who wrote that false claim on those directions anyhow, Inspector Gadget?

I was hot and a mess. I had numerous self inflicted injuries...and my "be calm be patient" mantra was starting to wear thin. I had to be at work soon so needed to get this done. I did NOT want to come home the next morning and face this mess on the bedroom floor.

I tackled it with renewed vigour...and promptly stubbed my little toe on a protruding edge. More cursing and some fairly energetic hopping around and I'm sure I heard some giggling coming from somewhere else in the house. Just remember, kids...moms don't forget.

I started slamming the remaining pieces into place and banged away with the hammer much harder than I needed too...but ironically my aim improved considerably. Who knew?

Within an hour (20 min till I needed to be at work) I was putting the last piece into place. (or so I thought). I called all the kids and they came to admire (poke fun at) my handy work. Not bad if I say so myself. It looked like a desk. The goal I was going it's all good. See what nearly 5 hours of hard labor will get you...a desk with several backward pieces and some nicks and cuts here and there...but homework here I come.

My son pointed out that there were several pieces of wood still on the floor. I turned to look and yes indeed, there were 4 triangular pieces of wood just sitting there mocking me. What!! I grabbed up the directions and flipped pages frantically trying to figure out what step I missed that would include 4 triangular pieces. I looked at the picture of the finished product and could see nothing that looked even remotely triangular in nature. WTH!!!

I will be honest and say that I chucked those pieces of wood in the dumpster. Until now I have no idea what they were for...but the desk seems to be holding up nicely so whatever they were for...they weren't being missed.

At any rate, desk is assembled...homework has been done on it with nary a problem arising from the backward pieces...and I'm proud of myself for getting it together without resorting to the gasoline and matches that had crossed my mind more than once, taking hold.

I won't be putting anything else together anytime soon. There are somethings I can do easily...and maybe better than some other people...but assembling furniture is not one of them because I know...if I choose to do this again..there will be sweat...there will be tears...and yes...there will be blood. (not necessarily mine but you know...blood).


Anonymous said...

Last week I bought a table, a cabinet (almirah, cupboard) a bed, a dressing table and a bedside table.
I paid 50 local bucks extra for fixing and the furniture fitters came to my room fixed everything in few minutes (less than the time that took to read your adventurous post)kept in right place and disappeared.

janice said...

Pictures, pictures, we need pictures!

Angel Darling said...

Glad you're back Coolred!
Yes, I've assembled many a furniture in my day! I know the pain!

oby said...

OMG! You have my desk! Years ago my huby and I bought a desk and had the same adventure putting it together. NOTHING will test a marriage like putting one of those things together.Lots of finger pointing and blame...When we finally got it together There were a few overlapping pieces here and there and strangely one of the draws would not open unless you grabbed it my the handle and lifted it up and then pulled out. But I reasoned I wasn't going to use it any time soon so no sweat. The desk was a two parter with a full set of shelves sitting on the back a bookshelf on the drsk. We took a break like you did....but we never finished the shelves and my wonderful desk with bookshelves forever remained unfinished. I saved the pieces for years "just in case". When we moved the moving guys carried the desk up the stairs and it was so wiggly I am amazed it actually held together. I had them put it next to the dumpster along with the bookshelf that never was. My husband and I decided that next time we would pay the $50 bucks to have the guys from the store put it together. We figured our marriage was worth at least $50.00!

Anonymous said...

Coolred, I feel your pain. My dh and I put a desk to gether recently. Day one we worked on it till we were about to throw it threw the window and stopped till the next day. After two days we had it done. I was back at the store browsing when I saw the sign by the desk. "will assemble for 15 additional dollars" Wow, I wish I had seen that sign when we bought the desk.

coolred38 said...

Thanks for the commiseration everyone. It was indeed a trial..but Im fairly sure if anyone had been "helping" me it would never have been finished simply because I would have had a target for my frustrations and swinging hammer. Just saying. LOL

StrangeOne said...

When I turned 16, I got a bookcase for my birthday. The best part of the whole experience was watching two grown men who obviously didn't "need" the directions put the bookcase together. When almost finished, they were surprised that something hadn't turned out quite right. Meanwhile, some of us who had encouraged the use of directions were by this time in the other room laughing.

Sure, it didn't turn out "perfect" but things like this sure do make for great stories to share with others later!

And keep in mind that putting together a bookcase is much simpler than putting together a desk (had to work on those pesky things myself).