"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, April 24, 2009

Little pieces of a larger whole

I love puzzles, which is why I love mysteries so much. Little pieces of things, put together to make something bigger. You can take a little jigsaw patch of blue, set it in its correct location and say, "Wow, it was a wave in the ocean, all the time!" It was one of the most fun parts of writing FREEZER BURN - figuring out whodunit.

I'm pretty sure this love of puzzles accounts for the fact that I love IKEA. I buy bookcases and TV stands and bring them home to assemble. The instructions are picture-driven, and clear, if sometimes absurd in their overstatement.

"Attach the Base (D), the square tray marked 'D', to the Side Frame (A), the large piece marked 'A', with Head Cap Bolts, in the package marked 'Head Cap Bolts'."

Um, could you repeat that? You lost me at 'D'.

Oddly enough, I also love antique furniture and have several really nice, old wardrobes and tables and such. But I digress.

I decided I needed a new storage unit to replace the butcher block microwave table I'd had since my second marriage. It had no sentimental value, and my failed-attempt-at-owning-a-terrier had resulted in the second shelf being thoroughly chewed.

So I saw a little baker's rack in the online Target store and ordered it. It came a week later, in a bulky box that weighed 70 pounds, meaning I couldn't possibly drag it into the kitchen to take it apart so I could put it together.

Hubby wasn't home, so what else is a girl to do? I opened the box and dragged each piece into the family room, so I could put it together while I watched Bones.

One thing I hadn't counted on was the styroform shrapnel that was attached to each piece. My carpet looks snowier than when I was shredding that bag full of old documents. But, again, I digress.

Unlike IKEA furniture, which only takes one hexagonal wrench (provided) to assemble, the Target rack needed the wrench plus a Phillips screwdriver. We have quite a few screwdrivers in the house, but I decided to use my special screwdriver. I'm not sure where I got this, but I've had a little combo hammer-Phillips-flathead-screwdriver for a long time now. I refer to it as Maxwell's Silver Hammer. Doesn't it remind you of that song?

Each time I use it, I start humming, "Bang bang, Maxwell's Silver Hammer came down upon her head. Bang bang, Maxwell's Silver Hammer made sure she was dead."

Cool how it comes apart, too.

Took me about three commercial breaks to get the baker's rack assembled. I faltered, briefly, at Step 3, when I forgot to attach the Front Rail (H) marked 'H', to the Side Frame (C) marked 'C', but I recovered quickly and was on my way.

The 'hutch' portion of the rack was, simply, a beeeeyotch to get together. Every piece had a dowel to fit into the other piece, they weren't always aligned, and they had to all be put together at the same time. There was a little cursing, I admit. If you've ever seen Bones, you've seen Seeley Booth get angry, pull out his gun, and shoot an inanimate object.

Let's just say it's a good thing I don't own a gun and leave it like that.

But here's the result. Pretty, huh?

Do you like to put things together? Do you follow the directions? Or do you like to pay someone else to do it?

More importantly, does your love for puzzles carry over to mysteries? Or vice versa?


Pam Ripling said...

I always put things together myself. And I quite often try to do it before I read the instructions. My bad. Love the blog! Cute rack. Wanna put one together for me? I have a nice little rack for my dolls.


Gayle Carline said...

My hubby thinks I have a nice rack, too, Pam - ha ha ha. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Sure, bring it with you to the Book Festival and I'll work on it while you sell our books. (Just joking, Karen!)

The part of this story I left out is that, after I get the bookcase/stand/hutch/thingy put together, I make my husband come into the room and admire it. Yes, he must actually ADMIRE it, and praise me for my ability to read directions.

Teresa M Burrell said...

I'll be sure to call you next time I need something put together. I have trouble changing a light bulb. I almost broke a thumb once trying to change a bulb. Don't ask...

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