IKEA Goodies and the Chaos that is the Potts House

03 Jul 2006

We had a big day Sunday — we went back to Ikea and bought Isaac’s new loft bed, two bookshelves, and some miscellaneous items. It was quite a challenge to get this all into the station wagon along with two kids, but the Escort was a real trooper! It’s a good thing it is still running, because the van is not. On Saturday I took it to a mechanic and they found that it needs a lot of brake work, some suspension work, and a new battery. It isn’t safe to drive: the brake pedal is dropping. I am biking to work for now and the van work is on hold until the money is available; this is another stressor, and I’m not sure I’m going to keep to my gym schedule, but we’ll work around it for now. We have to re-think how we’re going to spend the money for rearranging the apartment.

We got one of the bookshelves built last night. The model is the tall, narrow “Markor,” in a dark brown stain. It looks very nice, although of course we put a shelf in upside-down and then had to very gingerly take out all the screws and pry the sides apart to remove it, hoping we weren’t going to tear the backing, and reverse it, but it finally went together nicely and feels very solid. You have to drive a lot of small nails into the back: they go into the edging and into one shelf.

You are supposed to mark where they go so that you drive them properly into the shelf — but you can’t really see what you are doing, and sometimes it is hard to drive them absolutely straight. One nail wound up coming through the shelf, but I pulled it back out and used the age-old trick of hiding the damage by just coloring it with a black marker… almost unnoticeable!

I’ve put together quite a bit Ikea stuff over the years and I am pretty familiar with their tricky ways, but still, I almost always make at least one small mistake! Sometimes the mistake is “following the directions exactly.” For example, their directions have you nail on the backing while the thing is upside-down as soon as you get the fixed shelf in. If you instead save the backing for last you can verify that everything else is correct before driving nails. Screws are a lot easier to remove than nails!

Grace is getting some additional help — a guy is coming by this afternoon to assemble Isaac’s bed and put up some shelving. It makes me too nervous to drive screws into the walls of a rented apartment — I’ve had far too much trauma with damaged plaster and difficult landlords for one lifetime, although I can happilydrill holes in someone else’s walls. I’m glad someone else is doing it!

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