Monday, January 10, 2011

Building Blocks

The other day, I purchased for myself a small bookcase. Truth be told, it's really more of a closet organizer than anything else, like stackable milk crates, but it was the right size for the space I had available in my office so I took it home to try it out.

It spent a couple of days sitting against the wall in the foyer because that's pretty much what happens with everything I bring into the house, especially those things which require the reading of directions and the use of tools in order to assemble. Except for a brief stint in college when I worked as a stagehand, tools and me are un-mixy things (bonus points for anyone who can NAME THAT REFERENCE!) so I generally turn to my trusty significant other to build me something out of nothing.

But today was different. Don't know why, really, but it was. So when I got back from my errand run (by the way, no one in the damn Mount Washington Valley had any bathtub markers in stock. As a result, I am planning to order some from Amazon very soon.) this afternoon, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

Here's how it went:

2:30pm: I drag the box into the living room.

2:4opm: I get the box open and dump the contents out on the rug. Two long pieces, four short pieces and a bag of hardware. In between the two long pieces is a piece of cardboard. I give it to the Gator Girl.

2:41pm: I squint at the instructions. Somewhere in here, I am sure there will be English.

2:43pm: Ah ha! English!

2:45pm: I will need a #2 phillips head screwdriver and a hammer for this project. I manage to find the screwdriver all right but can't seem to locate the hammer. I know we have one. Joe actually gave me a hammer (and a tool box in which to put it) for Christmas one year because I said I didn't have one.

3:00pm: I am forced to call Joe to ask him where the hammer is. This leads to the following conversation:

Me: Hey, do you know where the hammer is? I've checked the tool boxes and I can't seem to find it.
Him: Why do you want to know where the hammer is?
Me: I need to hammer something.
Him: What?
Me: Well, I'm not sure exactly but I'm guessing nails of some sort.
Him: What are you doing?
Me: Looking for the hammer.
Him: No, I mean, what could you possibly be doing that would require a hammer?
Me: I'm putting together my bookcase.
Him: You're putting together your bookcase?
Me: Gotta go before I think of something else I could do with the hammer once I've found it.

3:10pm: I find the hammer. So there.

3:11pm: I squint further at the instructions.

3:12pm: I start putting this damn thing together. Insert tab A into slot B.

3:15pm: Oh shit. I put that shelf on backwards. But of course I did.

3:18pm: I get the shelf unattached again so I can reattach it correctly.

3:25pm: Who needs book shelves? What's wrong with giant unorganized piles of paperbacks?

3:30pm: I finally get the basic structure of the bookcase put together. The instructions then tell me to put the back on. I look around. There is no back. I check the box. There is no back. I look at the instructions again and realize what the cardboard piece is. Good thing I gave it to the Gator Girl. Fortunately, Fat Cat has kept the Gator Girl rather busy this afternoon so the damage to the cardboard backing is minimal. Once it's up against the wall and covered by books and duct tape, you'll never know there's anything wrong with it.

3:33pm: Hammer time! You can't touch this!

3:40pm: I may have put the cardboard backing in the wrong place when I started nailing it down. Oh well. No turning back now.

3:45pm: I attempt to stand it up. It works!! Next I attempt to put the adjustable shelves in. This is less successful.

3:53pm: I am forced to get a little rough with the shelves. They're probably not adjustable any more.

So the important thing is, I have a new bookcase and the best thing is that it has not yet fallen apart. That's five whole hours that something I put together has stayed together.

Which is more than I can say for my WIP. Remember last week when I said I cut four chapters out? Well, by the end of the week, I had replaced it with one chapter. Then I decided that one sucked too so I took it out as well. Now I'm back to thinking I want the four chapters I started out with, only better written. The first drafts were too much tell and not enough show so I'm planning to take another crack at them. I'm whittling away at the first of these new chapters, one sentence at a time. Just like building blocks (see what I did there? Clever, huh?). I just hope I have enough Legos to build myself a masterpiece. Or, at the very least, something that doesn't completely suck.

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