From Where I Sit – A Nightmare

Hilary is in many ways the typical 27-year-old: full of dreams and projects but wanting to live each day fully right now. She’s also exceptional in that she works crazy long hours, volunteers for good causes, travels for work and pleasure, has an active social life, and is committed to family. All that adds up to a huge time squeeze.

That’s why I carved a chunk of time out of my own busy schedule to offer to help her finish some long-standing projects. I warned her that if I was giving up part of two days, we had to get something done.

I arrived about 6:30 on Thanksgiving Sunday and we immediately set to work assembling the six-foot tall Whittier bookcase she had stained and varnished. We knew from experience that the product was good, solid real wood. Between us we already have five seven-foot bookcases and an armoire. The cam locks are good quality and there are always a few surplus bits of hardware.

We both love the staging part of home décor, but this time we showed real discipline by moving on to the next project. That meant opening the two boxes of metal shelving stowed in the garage and carrying them bit by bit into her triplex basement. A couple of strong men could have kept them intact, but alas there were none. Sometimes working smarter also means working harder. Damn.

Before long we had those rolling storage racks assembled and in place. Again the quality was good. For $99 each, they will last a lifetime. We began emptying and sorting the boxes that have remained untouched since her move a couple of years ago: Flowerpots, painting supplies, Christmas decorations, gift bags, light bulbs, photo boxes, and more now had a home. Artwork and décor items will be arranged throughout her home next time.

By 11:30 at night, we were toast. We set our weary heads down, knowing that the worst lay ahead. We hoped that an early fresh start and reinforcements in the form of Carrie (and Grady) would help.

Not so. Hilary has turned one bedroom into a dressing room. She was using her smaller Ikea Expedit shelving unit to store scarves and part of her large handbag collection. It wasn’t enough space, so she bought the five by five-foot/25-cubby version of the unit.

Oh my goodness. It took the three of us multiple trips to get it from the garage to the second floor. There were no print directions, and the online ones were the usual all-graphics-no-words version. The picture didn’t match the product. There weren’t enough wood dowels. The crappy little Ikea Allen tool was undersized for the job it was expected to accomplish. It was impossible to perfectly snug up each piece so that gaps were closed and the thing remained square. One screw stripped, so a drywall screw is now needed.

Isn’t there anyone in the world to give this company a run for its money? At least my blister has almost healed, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.