Monday, September 01, 2008

Wheelchair Sports

Well, we conquered IKEA.

Who'da thought.

We bought a couple of storage units, one in metal for the kitchen, one a wooden sideboard for the front room. A friend said he'd put it together as long as we gave him tools, quiet and beer. We promised all three. But then life conspired against this plan and we were left with tools and beer and nervous chatter about what to do with these boxes cluttering up the front room.

Joe decided that we'd put together the metal one because we needed that one most and it came in 12 boxes. 12 boxes. That's a dozen boxes. That's more than ten. Hell, that's more than ELEVEN. At first I just stayed out of the way. I am many things, but I'm not handy. I don't know a crescent roll from a crescent wrench, except one is yummmm good.

Only a few seconds in, Joe said, "You are going to have to help me with this." I glanced for the exit. It was blocked with boxes. I resigned myself to the fact that I would surely be divorced by noon.

At first Joe gave me simple tasks. "Hold this here. Hand me that there." I was sailing along. Then the tasks got progressively harder. "Put this screw through that hole, then find two other pieces with holes in them, align them up and then find a long piece with a hole in the end and screw it onto the screw thereby holding the other three pieces in place." "Um, what?"

Of course the IKEA directions were there to help. They had no words, they just had a picture of the completed item and then arrows pointing to the different joins with a blow up in a circle of what the joins look like. Well, now. That's great. I like the elimination of language and a reliance on pictures. I like the simplicity of the instructions. But, "Um, what?"

At one point we noticed some neighbours cross the way looking over at us. They must have been amused to see me in my wheelchair holding bits of metal, like they were made of dog poo, in place while Joe looked at the picture saying, "Do they want the across first or the up and downy first or the back piece first," I did my best to just look pretty.

6 hours later, it was done. I can point to each part that I worked on. I'm proud of the fact that it doesn't list or lean, it stand firm on the floor, it looks almost identical to the picture that we were given.

Neither Joe or I have mentioned that there are two big pieces left over.

Must have been a miscount.



Heike Fabig said...

Right. Totally. That's meant to happen. (well, no, but never mind if it's all standing up). I think you have progressed to the lofty levels of IKEA hacking. Have you discovered this phenomenon? I reckon you and Joe are naturals.

Dave Hingsburger said...

What is IKEA hacking ... never heard of it.

Susan said...


And I join you in wondering what IKEA hacking is... I'll bet it's what you do to their furniture when you're half way through assembling it and get so frustrated you take a hatchet to it all...

Having put together a few IKEA products myself, I can only imagine the heights of frustration one can reach...

I have a friend who did an entire kitchen of that stuff. Can you imagine?

Anonymous said...

To be honest, i've always found IKEA stuff a lot easier than some other manufacturers stuff. I recently put up a set of drawers from ARGOS and nearly gave up and turned it into a bonfire. And i'm not on their books, promise, but i have to say that our local IKEA have been absolutely fantastic at being open and creative in offering real jobs to people with disabilities here and really vauing their contribution. Honest, i'm not paid by them!

Tamara said...

Congrats! That's quite an accomplishment. And a standing piece of furniture with two pieces leftover? Much better than two pieces you can't find.

I was just saying we need to make another trek to IKEA (five hours away for us), but now that you bring back those memories, I might have to rethink that idea!

Amy said...

We avoid Ikea like the plague for that very reason. Way to conquer the Ikea demons!

painting with fire said...

Heh - I've had that experience of building IKEA furniture, having it seem to be all together just fine and having pieces leftover. Always exciting. Seems to be the nature of the beast!

Anonymous said...

That reminds me of the time when I had to put a desk together. It only came in one box. The instructions said the approximate assembly time was an hour and a half. Being the genius I am I thought it would surely only take me an hour at the most. And who really needs instuctions anyway. To make a very long story short (which I'm sure you will appreciate) the job took the better part of four hours and I too had left over parts. I think they give you extras so if you lose some it will still work. I always have extras left. I used to tell people that I put the desk together by myself but I noticed they wouldn't stand too close to it. Congrats on your successful project.

Anonymous said...

First and foremost. Congratulations to you and Joe, still speaking! Far more than I can say about any project my partner and I have collaborated on that required pictures and tools!

Heike Fabig said...

IKEA hacking is when you either use an Ikea piece eof furniture for something different than it was intended, or add bits to it to give it a new use, or use the pieces in the box to construct something different.
Have a look

Wheeling said...

Hey, it stands, what else do you want?

Okay, I'm actually good with tools and building things, so I'll reassure you that pieces left over aren't always an issue. I just wish manufacturers would tell you that.