Saturday, June 19, 2010

Daisy Petals and Destruction

Ikea: I love it...I love it not...I love it...I love it not...

This is a difficult dilemma to solve. Having put together, by my count, 9 pieces of furniture over the past week (excluding the 5 lamps that were assembled) I'm pretty much done. Ikea and I are on break time. We're currently seeing other people; taking some "me" time; re-evaluating our relationship, etc. 9 pieces of furniture and 3 lamps...that averages more than 1 piece of furniture per day. And some of them were pretty freaking big pieces of furniture. Witness yesterday:

Our final piece of furniture arrived in the morning; inspiringly on-time. Having just had the carpets cleaned, it was a hopeful start to a very busy day. We'd like the place to feel liveable before my parents get here tomorrow and it seemed perfectly well to be something we could achieve. Simple, we thought, just put together the dresser and then everything can be put away.

Putting together that dresser was *not* simple. Anyone who has ever built ikea furniture knows that, thanks to their universal appeal and general good sense, the instructions come without words. Just pictures. Occasionally misleading/confusing pictures with very tiny details that, if misread, could mean the difference between nailing the backing of your 8-drawer dresser onto the *front* of the frame rather than the *back*; leaving you perplexed for an hour as to why the drawers won't slide in on the tracks. Just a minor problem.

Speaking of nailing on that stupid particleboard backing, I'd like to take the time right now to thank Ikea for the lovely tiny nails they send to assemble their furniture with. I do love the challenge of sorting through all the tiny deformed scraps of metal to get nails I can actually use: it's like a treasure hunt. And when the nails bend as I attempt to hammer them in without doing painful and irreparable damage to my fingers, I do, in fact, smile to myself and remember that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger...and whoever doesn't kill you will maim you viciously for hours spent smashing fingers to drive bent nails and more hours spent using forks to remove those nails because we don't have a real hammer.

At that moment at 10:30 last night, after 6 hours of on-and-off work assembling that chest of drawers, there was nothing more soul-destroying than the prospect of removing all those tiny nails with the cheap bendy forks from our kitchen. Never mind the annoyance that now, thanks to my inability to use my super powers of microscopic vision, there would be a series of tiny holes in the front face of the dresser. At that point I just wanted to rip the back off the dresser and hammer it into violent yet satisfying oblivion. I was at the stage where I would have spent money we don't have to never have to assemble my own furniture again.

Like the wonderfully overused historical cliché of the Great Retreat from Russia in 1812, there was many a disheartening pitfall along the way. (Other than that there was very little that building furniture in Hampshire has in common with marching across eastern Europe. Except, perhaps, the amount of frustrating swearing involved.) There was the fight with the back of the wide Billy bookcase that resulted in about 5 splinters and a missing chunk from my ring finger. There was using a bicycle spanner to hammer nails into the Hemnes dresser, resulting in a knuckle that is now a lovely shade of plum. Though perhaps what I am most grateful to put behind, like those Napoleonic legionaries, is the bone-deep fatigue after days of physical and mental anguish lifting and hefting and hammering and screwing and swearing at a half-ton of Swedish-manufactured wood, laminate, and particleboard. Not to mention the lovely dumb-show instructions with their inaccurate representations of the 8 types of screws and 4 types of dowels contained in the impossible-to-rip-open plastic baggies.

Sweden: if you're going to sell your conveniently inexpensive build-it-yourself furniture to the whole world, at least have the decency to engage in some imperialistic territorial expansion first. then, you can add words to your directions, and we'll all already speak Swedish. Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment