Tuesday, 27 January 2009

So let's build some boxes...

I went to Ikea last night. A very kind friend (let's call him GBM) drove me there in his car. Now, I don't know about you, but every time I get sucked in to Ikea I end up walking out with much more than I intended, spotting items which I just know will be useful at some point in the future. In fact, most times I have gone in for a picture frame and walked out with eighty quids worth of random kitchen items, some hangy shoe things for my wardrobe, a cafetierre (even though I already have two) and some novelty rubber ice-cube trays (currently sitting at the back of a kitchen cupboard). I will use them at some point. But last night I was rather restrained.

In an effort to 'organise' all of my stationery and "office materials" in the hope that somehow this will organise my mind, I bought two Fira wooden storage boxes, some drawers for the hangy shoe thingy for my wardrobe, some oil for the wooden chopping board that I bought untreated from Ikea two years ago (which is still sitting decoratively on my kitchen counter, un-used), a wooden cutlery drainer (how did I miss that last time?) oh and some broad coat hangers which will be good for hanging woollens on once I organise my wardrobe (after which point my mind will definitely be organised). And having only spent £30 on said items, I stretched myself to buying a bag of those little Daim bars (come on, we all know they are really Dime bars... surprised they couldn't be a little more inventive with the name, like Shtockahponchoclit, for instance).

GBM who arrived with no intention of purchasing anything, escaped rather lightly, buying only a dish drainer, some refills for his fluff removing clothes rollers, a pack of 3 body polishing puffs for the shower and a picture frame. We nearly turned back to look for cushion covers when we reached the till, but shivered at the thought of "Going Back In" having managed the first pass relatively unscathed. A second pass could be suicidal. We reached the exit and hugged each other for comfort in the knowledge that we wouldn't have to go through that again for at least another year.

So today I just thought I would 'knock up' the two Fira wooden boxes. As you do. One of the boxes has nine drawers (very handy for pens and sellotape and staples and post-it notes) and the other has three small drawers and two long ones. Of course, when I planned to buy them I was thinking 'requirements' and completely overlooking the building process. And I love building things and using hammers and nails. Don't I? I spent most of my time between the ages of sixteen and eighteen elbow deep in grease building two motorbikes. My 21st birthday present from my Mum was a 5-drawer cantilever toolbox fully equipped with chisels, hammer, screwdrivers, allen keys (very handy for Ikea furniture), marking gauges, set squares. I have two socket sets, a set of spanners and a Tap-and-Die kit. I am not the kind of girl who whacks nails in with a shoe. You could say that I am a bit of a tomboy.

Added to this, I bought and built a Fira wooden box quite a few years ago and it looks good. It is not yet held together with glue or string. It was a breeze to put it together. I didn't take in to consideration that it only has three drawers.

And so I prepared my kit: boxes, unwrapped and with manufacturing dust brushed off. Check. Hammer. Check. Philips screwdrivers (two - one ratchet in case my hand gets tired). Check.
I noticed that they had given me 5 extra nails in each pack. What a waste, I thought - imagine all of that steel that gets unnecessarily created only to be thrown away. I pictured mountains of nails and staples clogging up landfills and got angry. What kind of numpty is going to bend 5 nails?

Crap, I hate building boxes. I have such a short memory and less patience than a three year old trying to rip open a tough bag of sweets. I realised this the second I tried to hold five pieces of wood together with one hand and a knee, whilst trying to hammer a poorly balanced nail in place on the living room carpet. Halfway through one box, I found myself humming the Bernard Cribbens song 'Right, Said Fred' ("...Had bad twinges takin' off the 'inges, and it got us NOWHERE! and SOOOO! Charlie said 'let's 'ave another cuppa tea' and we said, 'Righto!'"). In fact, I have had so much tea this afternoon, my eyeballs are floating.

At the end of the first box (nine slightly-wonky-no-let's-call-them-rustic drawers... the second one will be a breeze by comparison and I am surely getting the hang of it now?) I had used up all of the spare nails (numpty) and had to dig around in my handy tool box for some spares. Oh, and I had rounded off the end of one of my screwdrivers. Tits. I looked at the second box and tried to wish it in to creation, but nothing doing. 32 bits of wood, 12 screws and 77 nails sat there quite motionless on the carpet.

So I tried to rouse a bit of enthusiasm by reminding myself of all of my successful projects in the past - like the time I tried to rescue my sister in her new flat by putting up her new pine-slatted window blinds, borrowing Dad's super-sized drill with Concrete-Plinth-Busting Hammer Action.
"Oh for goodness sakes, don't be such a flaming GIRL!!" I mocked. "Anyone can put up a blind! Do you have a ladder?"
"Can you borrow a ladder?"
"So what can I stand on?"
"Oo. Well, maybe if you had one foot on the chest of drawers and one foot on the window sill? That might work. But you'll have to take your shoes off if you are going to stand on the chest of drawers"
"Oh, how's that for health and safety?!"
"Oh don't be such a flaming GIRL!"
So, balanced precariously on my sister's furniture wearing slippy socks with an industrial-strength drill hoisted above my head with the bit in position, I pulled the trigger to drill a nice, neat hole and demonstrate to my sister exactly how it should be done, and how much of a girl she really was.

Only that's not exactly what happened. What actually happened was that the drill was so violently percussive, it kind of did it's own thing, really, bouncing all over the wall with me somehow still attached to the end of it, clinging on for dear life and unable to let go of the trigger. After a few attempts (during which I insisted I was 'getting the hang of it') my sister was left with a hole more fist-sized than rawlplug-sized. I'm not really sure how I managed to find a piece of unadulterated wall to drill in to after that, nor how we managed not to wet ourselves as my credibility as a handy-woman disappeared along with half of the plaster.

I don't know how we got the blinds up in the end. I think my sister just whacked some nails in with a shoe.

*sigh* So anyway, after my fifth cup of tea I finally completed the second box and learned my valuable lessons.
  1. If Ikea provide 5 extra screws for a flat-pack unfinished wood project, you will need 10. Any numpty knows that.
  2. Trying to hammer on carpet is really, really not a good idea.
  3. When building 'unfinished wood' products from Ikea, you will need to add tweezers to your tool kit list.
  4. I don't actually like DIY as much as I think I like DIY.
  5. I never remember that I don't actually like DIY as much as I think I like DIY, despite being reminded of this every time I decide to do a bit of DIY.
  6. Building boxes does not organise my mind. It makes my hands sore.
I'm thinking of selling all of my tools on eBay and exchanging them for shoes....

1 comment:

  1. ha ha ha ha. Oh I had forgotten the blind debacle. Wish I'd had the sense to wear a panty liner (!) before reading your blog. Loved it. Well done Kabbalah bird. Like. Your. Style.

    big sisxx