Today was a day full of sweaty nervousness and penultimate fear. I was anxiously eyeing a plain cardboard box that I had deposited three weeks ago in my newly cleaned office. No, it wasn’t ticking, but its length of 4 feet and its width of 1 foot and its height of 3 inches was supremely intimidating. Why? I had opened it the first day I brought it home and pulled out the 10 page booklet of instructions on how to assemble my LOTE 3 drawer chest of drawers from IKEA. “Too many pieces” was my first and last thought so I left it there, lying dormant like a Jack-In-The-Box. Today I decided it was time. My very first IKEA assembly. I was ready.
I know how they came up with the name of LOTE. LOT(s) of EXASPERATION = LOTE! I had hoped that my hubby, Wiseguy, would take pity on me and surprise me by doing that husbandly / manly thing of using a screwdriver to create the final masterpiece. It didn’t happen. So today I decided it was time for me to delve into the mysterious world of “building” something because it couldn’t really be that hard right?
The reason I held off for so long was that the first page showed me all the parts that had been hidden within the confines of that simple flat cardboard box. Here is the breakdown:
4 x screw # 144821
4 x screw # 105007
24 x screw # 108461
4 x screw # 107605
12 x screw # 144741
36 x ummmm…not a screw – maybe a bolt?
12 x uhhhh….hmmmm…plastic hole filler with a hole in it?
Then there were these plastic pretend edges for the drawers. A couple of metal pieces for the … frame? Sure, that’s what they were for. And so began my adventure into the vortex of humility, shame, anger, frustration, elation, exhaustion. Yes, IKEA – I Know Embarrassment Abounds.
I decided to approach this magnificent build by using my baking and cooking knowledge: Mise en place. I took out ALL the pieces and laid them out on the floor around me. I counted each screw and put them in their appropriate size grouping. The nervous tension rose as I worried it might be like a puzzle from my childhood with one piece missing. And breathe…all pieces were accounted for. Now….onto the diagrams!
The good thing about IKEA manuals is that there are no words. There are black and white pictures with arrows and an X through the screws that you aren’t supposed to use or an X to show you which way NOT to assemble the furniture. The bad news is that there are only black and white pictures with arrows and an X through the screws that you aren’t supposed to use or an X to show you which way NOT to assemble the furniture.
After the first 30 minutes I miraculously managed to build the frame. The first 10 minutes were used to uncover the magic X shaped screwdriver from the Tool Vault in Wiseguy’s workshop. No problemo after that. I planted my derriere on the floor and started the assembly process. Screw wouldn’t fit into bolt. Bolt flew out of my hands across the floor. Got a charley horse from sitting on floor. Screw flew out of my hands across the floor. Used my chin to hold frame in place while I put screw through hole. Used my thighs to hold everything together. Screw was not fitting into bolt. Bolt fell out, screw fell to floor. Screwdriver clanked to floor. This is what building IKEA items must be like.
Then my mind started to wander as it is wont to do when trying to acclimatize itself to a new and unyieldingly unsatisfying situation.
My brain: Forget the old days of making license plates while incarcerated. Inmates should be made to assemble IKEA furniture. That would create a significant decrease in crime.
EXAMPLE: Convicted serial killer. Judge passes sentencing: “Killer of multiple people, you have been tried by a jury of your peers and sentenced to life in prison without parole. You will be spending each day of your life assembling LOTE 3 drawer chests.
CSK: *cries of woe and sorrow* – NOOOOOOOOOOO!
(Somewhere in little Italy – Mafia meeting): Big Joe: “Dats right! Ya hurd me! No more murderin’! I ain’t goona hafta build no Aj-kija (translation IKEA) F-in furniture!”
My brain: *at Ikea University* – Professor to student: “Congratulations Sigge (means ‘one who is always victorious’) Bilderson (means ‘one who is son of a builder’…ok I made that up). I present you with your diploma for having successfully completed your Masters Degree in Frustration Free Assemblage and Visionary Building of Ikea Furniture. *loud cheers and raucous noise of approval*
My brain: what the F was I thinking! No wait…I can do this! I am a full grown smart adult woman with extensive life experience. I have created exotic meals in my wonderfully exotic kitchen full of Subzero Wolf appliances…you can do this!!!
My leg: Ow….cramp cramp cramp cramp! (yes, my leg has a voice … doesn’t yours?)
Time lapse: One hour and 32 minutes later
I DID IT! Yes I did! Whoot whoot whoot!!!
My pampered computer finger tips were swollen and throbbing from holding the bolt while I twisted all the screws in. My legs were numb from trying to find a comfortable position on the parquet floor. My brain was attempting to process the fact that I had, indeed, completed the designated task. All was well. A job well done.
It wasn’t until I put the drawers into their allocated positions that the red alert sounded in my brain. I had misinterpreted one of the simple black and white diagrams and had screwed the metal slider on the drawer incorrectly. Was I shocked? No. Was I disappointed. Absolutely! It’s like running a 10 km marathon and getting to 9.5 km thinking you won and realizing…nope….not done yet! Unscrew. Move piece. Rescrew (yup, that is now a word). AND…DONE!
I would’ve celebrated with a funky boo-yah type dance, but my left leg was numb and there was a weird twitch in my right ankle. I managed to erect myself without falling over and considered that a win. I pushed away from Frankenstein / Ikea 3-drawer pet project. No pride of ownership. No pat on the back for a job well done. It was more of an acknowledgement of defeat. IKEA…you have won…THIS TIME!
I will stick to amusing myself with children’s colouring books. I will prepare fancy meals for my family. I might even mow the lawn. With my white flag waving proudly in the wind, I solemnly swear that I will no longer attempt to purchase and/or assemble IKEA furniture. I will leave the screwdriver and hex key (yeah…hex…meaning ‘cast a spell’… see I knew IKEA had an evil streak) to the men and women and adventurous children who would love to spend hours playing with the puzzle pieces of adversity that is IKEA furniture.