Building Stuff

One of the distinct pleasures of being single is learning how to do for oneself.  This realization was a real challenge for me since I’ve never really done any handy stuff around the house.  I’ve always relied on a male friend to help me with anything that required assembly (even if secretly I wished to work on a project myself).

I got an opportunity to do just that, thanks to my strong telepathic message to the universe about doing something myself.  Enter, bookcase.


Now, I had no idea that this bookcase would require assemblage.  It wasn’t mentioned on the website that showed a real pretty final version of a bookcase that I have desperately needed since moving two years ago.  Modern websites are all designed this way and I’ve since learned my lesson–thanks to this doozy of a bookcase.  The day that this baby was delivered, it was snowing.  The delivery guy who dropped it off decided not to inform anyone and so it sat at the base of two flights of steps, leaning against the house.  Panic.  Not only was no one outside, but my landlord wasn’t around and after a few failed attempts at trying to lift the monster, I realized that there was no way I could lift it.  Not unless I were Lou Ferrigno or this woman.

After a few desperate minutes inside of my apartment, trying to warm my frozen hands, I realized that I would need help.  Fast.  Giant, fluffy flakes fell as I searched the neighborhood, blowing on my hands to keep them warm.  Most people were smart, snuggled warmly behind closed doors in their yummy, comfy houses.  My eyes had to adjust to see an older gentleman coming out of his home across the street so that he could shovel the sidewalk.  I knew that I had to seize the opportunity since there wasn’t anyone else I could ask.  Quietly, I asked if he could help me.  I soon realized that I had to ask him in Spanish because the man didn’t speak any English.  He was kind and obliging and I swear, if it wasn’t for him, I would have a damaged pile of shelves sitting outside the house in a heap.

I paid the man what I had (which wasn’t much) and got to opening the behemoth.  These shelves weren’t only extremely heavy, but packed tight with clear heavy plastic and cardboard and it was getting to be a ridiculous mess.  Not to mention that I had the second dilemma at hand: assembling the thing.  Panic again.

Oh my God how’m I gonna do this all by myself?  Who could I call to help me?  Is there anyone around?  Nevermind. Just buck up and DO IT, Lisa, don’t be an idiot.  You’re an Amazon.  You’re Wonder Woman.  YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.

So I decided to begin working on it right away because I was so anxious to get it done.  I can’t say it was without a fair share of stumbles.  Firstly, I do not have all of the appropriate materials needed to make assembly easy.  I mean, I have like a baby-set of Phillips screwdrivers and a crappy $1 store hammer.  These aren’t exactly optimal tools, but I had to make do with what I had.  Remember the kitchen curtain fiasco?

I dug into the box and couldn’t believe how many parts there were.  I cursed men for inventing such ridiculously complex bookcases just so they could assert themselves as master-builders-of-the-universe.  A woman like me could think of a million and one ways of simplifying this design so as to reduce stress…a sort of zen carpentry, if you will.  Nuts, bolts, nails, pegs and items I didn’t know the name of were in the box along with super-heavy wood slabs and an instruction manual.  I got to it.

I cried, I pleaded to the gods, I stubbed my finger and broke the skin.  The backing, which seemed to be the hardest part, took a lot of nails to affix it to the shelves. It was a battle that I had thought I won when I made the first attempt to stand it up.  It was lop-sided and refused to stay standing!  Ugh.  Panic again.

Why won’t you stay up, you bastard?  Gonna give me a hard time, eh?  Well, you’re not going to beat me, you understand?!  You are not going to get me to give up.

But after several tries, I went back to the instruction manual and noticed a pile of bolts I had missed completely along with two instructional pages that were stuck together.  I had to concede.

The unit had to be disassembled and I managed to get help.  Now the bookcase is in one piece serving its function.  However, I did manage to learn a few valuable lessons that I wish to share:

  1. Never again will I order this type of furniture online.
  2. Pay attention to your instructions.  I cannot stress this enough.
  3. Use the appropriate tools to make your job easier.  Work smart, not hard.
  4. Know when to fold ’em.  Thank you, Kenny Rogers.  You knew your stuff.

Tell me your assembly horror stories…I’d like to hear ’em!


About Lisa Perez

Lisa M. Perez is a published poet, editor, copywriter, public speaker and artist. The co-creator of the first ever ArtSpace in Jersey City, member of IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists), and administrator for an online Mail Art group, Lisa supports the arts and advocates for creativity. Her successful, Art Journal and "Notes from my Brain" series are ongoing projects that evolve with the artist. In addition to being an active blogger since 2005, Lisa scripts and edits copy for various online articles and videos. In September 2017, she was a guest-speaker and virtually chaired a YOGA Recovery meeting. In her spare time, Lisa studies, reads, and creates while maintaining a day job in a STEM field and being a full-time fur-mommy to her shih-tzu, Cher.
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4 Responses to Building Stuff

  1. Deborah says:

    I had to laugh out loud just recalling my own assembly errors, I have since put together 12 of these bookcase units, and I have put some of the shelves upside down, put the lip on the wrong side and reversed the top/bottom. Am I now a bookcase expert, no currently the newest addition is a 6′ tall unit the top shelf is upside down and its staying that way. Here is a hit for the next shelf delivery, you can open the box at the bottom of the steps and make frequent trips carrying one or two pieces at a time, great work out too.

    • Mema says:

      Omg…der…I REALLY didn’t think of that. All I knew was that I was cold, my hands were ice & I wanted to go home. There goes rational thinking… Lol ^_^

  2. Pingback: What I Know About Snow | MeMa's Musings

  3. I stay far away from furniture that I have to put together myself, because it has never worked out well for me. I’m glad you got your bookcase together, but where is the picture of the finished product?

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