Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dining set: Can she build it? Yes she can!

When I moved to my new apartment, I didn't have much.  I brought my bed, dresser, recliner, desk, computers, a small TV, clothes, and my cats.  My couch was delivered the next day.  A friend found a perfectly good coffee table in her apartment building and gave it to me.  A co-worker friend moved right before I did and offered me one of those shelving units-with-baskets.  Like this.  It has wooden boxes instead of baskets, but it's hard to Google something when you don't know what it's called.  Anyway, it now serves as media storage and TV stand.

My next big purchase was either going to be a bigger TV or a dining set.  I don't watch much TV, I wanted to have friends over for dinner at some point, and my dining room was awkwardly empty, so I opted for the dining set.  I ordered a decent looking set from Target.  I didn't need anything fancy or heirloom-quality, just something to eat off of.

The day it was supposed to arrive, I was working from home.  As I furiously refreshed the UPS tracking page, a small detail caught my eye.  The dining set, which was in transit, weighed 110 pounds.  This was a problem because:
  • I live on the second floor.
  • I weigh just a few pounds more than the box.
  • I have a laughable lack of upper body strength.
How did I overlook this when I ordered?  Before I could panic, the doorbell rang.  The UPS driver looked at the box, then looked at me.  Without even asking, he dragged the box up the stairs for me.  I offered him a tip and a bottle of water (it was a hot day), but he refused both.  Big ups to UPS!

That extra .03 pounds'll getcha.

I managed to push the box into the dining room and stared at it for a while.  Then I ignored it for a week.  Then I remembered I was hosting the next Spa Night, which involves my girlfriends and I getting together for dinner, wine, gossip and foot-soaking.  Dammit.

Free cat with every order!

I was amazed by the sheer amount of stuff that came in this box.  Legs, backs, cushions, bolts, screws.  No wonder it weighed so much.  I procrastinated further by making cat toys out of the packaging.

Typical playing with cats = Me and Lenny play while Chloe gives less than one shit

I put the table together first.  The directions were in Engrish, but it wasn't too bad.  One thing it did say clearly was that the use of power tools was strictly forbidden.  Perhaps so you don't overtighten and crack the wood.  Ok, fine, they were nice enough to provide a wrench.  I was set, right?

No.  No, no, no.  If you want your table to be done and still go to bed at a reasonable hour, you will not use the provided wrench.  The space between the bolt and the side of the table was so small, I could get in a quarter-turn at a time at most.  Luckily, my dad feels that no single gal should be without a toolbox, so I screwdrivered the shit out of those bolts and the table was done in no time.

Wrenches ain't shit but hoes and tricks.

The chairs were not quite as easy.  I put one frame together and got stuck.  The instructions said I should screw the cushion up from the bottom of the frame.  But the bottom of the cushion was this super-hard particle board and manual screwing (heh) just wasn't doing it (heh heh).  After going through the seven stages of grief that went with mourning my inability to be independent, I borrowed a friend's cordless drill and finished the job.

Tada!  I need a real vase.

Despite my worries that the chairs would collapse under my unsuspecting friends' bottoms, Spa Night went off without a hitch.  Now that it's over, the table is most often populated by cats, on their way to the windowsill.  But it sure looks pretty!