Some $#%%^ Assembly Required

Some $#%%^ Assembly Required
8 March 2011
My friend (author C.M. Fleming) bought a five-foot cabinet for her crafting room. Much to her horror, it came in a compact flat box. She and her husband took deep breaths,  opened the box, got online to decipher the Chinese instructions, threw away the instructions, and got started. They put together a lovely cabinet, and it only took two days. How long did the instructions say easy assembly took?
The Prince Consort and I experienced our first Assembly Required when we bought then six-year-old Professor Daughter her first swing and slide set. The playground arrived in a flat box. We stared and stared. The slide was in there, with the frame, the swings, et al? It was. And it took the whole driveway to spread out ALL nine thousand bolts and all the other gizmos that have technical specific names of which I am ignorant and uninterested. I had enough to do on my hands and knees searching for the little stuff that rolled away into the grass. 
We put it together, the neighbors stayed indoors, nobody died, and we stayed married, barely. 
Memory dimmed, and we bought cabinets for the laundry room. They came in two remarkably small flat boxes. We extracted the encyclopedic instructions in some unspecified language. We studied these from several directions, upside down proving to be no more informative than sideways. Then decided to use the pictures while balancing the many many small screws, slotty things, things that require Allen wrenches (whoever that is), and other technical thingies. Although there were about three million of these small bits, we ended up short one. Of course.  Which meant a garage-diving expedition to find something substitutable. Or close enough.  
Once the first cabinet was put together, the second was a breeze. We came in only two hours over the twenty minute assembly time. We were much faster because this one had all the parts, and only needed one missing hole drilled. Ta DA! 
And then the monthly electric cooperative magazine came, and I flubbed-up. I usually hide it in my magazine pile. But I left the mail on the table and wandered off, (probably in search of chocolate) and The Prince Consort found it and read it. Next thing I know we are headed out to buy materials for bird houses. We bought almost enough lumber-hardware stuff, and scrounged up the rest from our leftover stashes. 
Either TPC and I have lost our ability to read directions, or there’s a conspiracy to write them in an alien language. Three bird houses for three tiny birds took nine hours. In the cold garage. Not that I’m counting. The houses are done and hung. So those birds better start nesting, or there’s going to be names taken and bird feathers kicked. 
Now,  I’m counting. 


  1. You all did good! The birds will surely be grateful!


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