Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Stop me before I kill again.

Although I really wanted to grab the camera, hop in the car and go somewhere scenic and cooler than LA (like up to the redwoods), since unnecessary driving is no longer on the agenda around here I decided to use my holiday weekend to catch up on some of the around-the-house type stuff I’ve been putting off.

My project this weekend was installing some shelving in what I generously refer to as the ‘office’. Really, it’s what is called in Los Angeles apartment nomenclature as a “junior bedroom”, which really means a large closet used to justify a ‘2 bedroom’ rating and thus more rent. Of course, I don’t use it as an office so much as a repository for the flotsam that doesn’t have anywhere else to go – most of which is books, so shelves would give the appearance that I’m organized. Or at least that I care.

So, I drove up into the valley, fought the crowds at the local Swedish furniture warehouse, bought some of the unfinished wood shelving, wrestled it into the truck and somehow got it home.

I decided against trying to finish the shelves – the humidity is still at tropical levels around here, so I’m guessing it would take the varnish about 30 years to dry completely, and it’s still way too hot to even think about sanding anything.

If you’ve never purchased furniture from said Swedish furniture warehouse, it’s all flat-packed and has to be assembled with some of the most fucked-up instructions I’ve ever seen. In an attempt to only print one set of instructions for the entire world, they’ve decided that hieroglyphs are the best choice of instruction for assemble-at-home furniture. There are little line drawings of bits of what I can only assume are the shelves being attached to each other with a hexagonal bolts (wrench not included, of course. Thankfully I happen to have a socket set and a power drill).

The main problem is that the recommended method of assembly and installation is simply not physically possible.

I don’t mean ‘difficult for one person’ or ‘impossible after a few drinks’. I mean it’s not physically possible to put the fucking shelves together the way the stick figures are doing it in the little paper.

Although the idea that the furniture should be assembled while flat on the floor and then ‘Iwo Jima-ed‘ into place looks great on paper, I knew from the get-go that it wasn’t going to go well as I purchased a configuration that has corner pieces, since I needed shelving on perpendicular walls.

If the hieroglyphs were to be believed,  the shelving units also had to be connected to one another for structural integrity which made my original plan of just building them individually and bolting them to the wall unworkable.

I decide to try the recommended method of building them flat on the floor first, and it went well until I got to the corner piece, where it became completely impossible to build as the floor was no longer supporting anything, and to lift and a corner shelving unit with one half-assembled end sticking straight up into the air is surprisingly heavy and unbelievably awkward. Several attempts to lift the thing resulted in a nasty bump on the head, a cut on the shin and several deep gouges in the wood floor.

I then threatened to kill the person who had drawn the instructions.

Next, I tried to just assemble the back side, lift that into place and then bolt the front uprights onto the units while they were, well, upright. That failed as well and resulted in my threatening to find and kill whoever designed the damn things in the first place.

By this time the cat and my neighbor had both wisely hidden (guess the screamed obscenities rattled them. The neighbor, at least. I would imagine the cat’s used to them by now) somewhere while I had a temper tantrum, threw some things, threatened to kill a few more Swedes just for practice and then decided that if I’ve ever really, truly needed a drink, that was the time – medication be damned.

After I’d calmed down, I made the trek back up to the store, bought extra uprights and made each section a stand alone bookcase, lined them up and bolted everything to the wall, despite the warnings from the store’s personnel that this would create a dark, unstable-shelving magic which would lead to a politician selecting a completely unqualified redneck as a running mate in the presidential race…


Sorry about that. But I did get the shelves in and they’re loaded up with books (and camera gear, and painting stuff) and they’re still holding.

So far, I’ve only got one day of work this week, but it’s a short week so I didn’t have my hopes up to begin with.

How was your weekend?

Filed under: cranky, humor, mishaps, Non-Work, Off-Topic, rants, , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 Responses

  1. Catherine says:

    I haven’t even read the post yet, the TITLE just made me laugh hysterically. You rule, ty.

  2. Catherine says:

    …And the rest of it was even better. What I would I do without you? I had to forward this great post to a couple of friends who will now be laughing their asses off (with you not at you – sympathizing madly) thanks to you. :)

  3. snarkolepsy says:

    Oh no. Sends shivers up my spine. I’ll-kill-ea is top on my list of places to never go to. It has a dark force. An ugly cloud. A horrible life sucking vortex. Congratulations on making it through the gaunlet of screaming children!

  4. Peter says:

    Iwo Jima-ed, ha ha, that’s a funny term.

    As for the furniture warehouse in question, the Swedish meat balls in their cafeterias are quite good.

  5. Mark says:

    I’m sure the person who writes the instruction hieroglyphs is protected by a legion of bodyguards. There are armies of husbands (and women too) wanting him dead.

    Did you see the episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 where Kate comes home from the Swedish store with 17 items be assembled? Many men would have made her a single mom of 8 at that moment. Jon’s a saint.

  6. geekhiker says:

    I’m currently rolling with laughter… mainly because I have so, so been there with that stuff. I’ve had a couple of pieces fit together perfectly (like an end table), but that shelving is always a bloody nightmare…

  7. Chris says:

    Having filled 5-tons with flat packs, and spent mind-numbing weeks assembling that stuff (and marveling at the shapeless, smiling little guy instructing me), I feel your pain.

    Ironically, the part of my brain that cared about exposure to formaldehyde has been destroyed by all that out-gassing particle board.

  8. -k- says:

    I drank copious amounts of Trader Joes Pomegranate Juice with Green Tea before, during and after the “Mad Men” marathon.

  9. Mary Sue says:

    I used to wear a yellow shirt and work at aforementioned Swedish furniture store. As I was hired on before local outpost of aforementioned Swedish furniture store opened, I got to build a lot of furniture. Yes, the directions are totally confusing.

    We considered that the ‘fun’ part of the job and always jockeyed to get off the cash registers and into the Recovery where aforemention Swedish furniture was build for displays and suchlike.

  10. Frank says:

    As luck would have it, I was in the selfsame Swedish furniture store last weekend, spending too much money on a flat-screen television stand.

    Personally, I prefer the website.

  11. Charli says:

    We bought a dresser from Ikea and had the maintenance man from the hotel put it together (thank God for Spanish instructions, plus he had help with one of the housekeepers who spoke English). Last time hubby and I put something together, it was an entertainment unit, we had an ‘extra’ piece leftover which I am convinced was never in the directions, something called “c” panel.

  12. Marci says:

    I love that you instantly got so many comments.
    The wicked Ikea directions have vexed all of us for years. I think you’re doing really well if you end up with a few extra nuts and bolts an just drill the fucker into the wall!!

  13. Gary says:

    The “hieroglyphs” sort of work in any language. It’s the f%^&ing artist who draws the pictures I wanna kill. Many pieces are NOT symmetrical so the location of each and every little hole is critical.
    There is a “retired” couple in Florida that gets $25 to $100 bucks each piece for assembly of IKEA stuff.

  14. anima says:

    o how i feel your pain.
    i live out of state from said swedish box store, and inherited a closet unit from a tenant. The heirogliphic page said this was the *pax* unit, which must be swedish shorthand for *imbibe 2 6-packs to keep you calm during assembly*.

    of course i had the bright idea to move the unit from one bedroom to another… fairies stole parts, or maybe there were never there, i don’t really know… forget about getting replacement parts. took a year to finally put the glass doors in place.

    hear my feelings in audio form at post wc127 IKEA Customer Service

    and may you never have to suffer such pain again…

  15. Martha says:

    Oh Peggy. I know I’m late for this post, but I so don’t care.

    I thought I was all alone. I spent three hours cursing that store while putting together two twin sized beds. And of course, I had to have these damn things put together for my sister in law who’d left my brother and was coming to my house. (um, let’s not talk about that twat)

    and -k- you’d have to give me something much harder than that to drink if you’re ever gonna get me to sit down and watch another eposide of Mad Men. I think it’s the only series we’ve actually turned off because it was so bad.

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