Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stand-ing together

No marriage is without a few growl-moments, times when you glare at the other person with 'what was I thinking?' running through your head. Ours have usually come when we're working on a project together, to wit: trying to use a miter box to build a toy box for child one; backing up a fifth-wheeler into our driveway with the spouse driving and me directing from the street; realigning the mirrored (and therefore heavy) bi-fold doors on the closet; choosing to put together an Es-cargo cartop carrier at 9 in the evening when we were tired. We could have won the prize on America's Funniest Home Videos for that one as I sat in the middle of the bottom tray and he affixed the top, all the while I was leaning farther and farther off-center until I tipped.

Each project had a solution: another trip to the lumber yard; finally listening to me; him remembering where we'd put the instructions to begin with--and then we added some to them!; patience.

But I think we're over that now. After nearly 37 years of marriage, last night we successfully (and in short order for us) put together a TV stand. This is, of course, no ordinary stand. It came in enough pieces to go through the alphabet and then be given numbers like: D1. Kid you not.

But let's back up.

Our den TV is 10 years old and wasn't quite state-of-the-art when new. It has served us well, but as we all know, CRT is out and LCD is in. Last fall we started looking and narrowed down the field. The only problem was we had nothing to set it on, as the current one has a build-in stand. The TV has to go in a corner in a small room with windows and doors. We had to have a stand before we could consider the purchase.

Fast-forward 6 months. In a Home Decorators catalog, I found the perfect piece. Everyone else had found it also, since it had to be backordered. I guessed from the shipping costs that perhaps this three-dimensional piece came in a flat box, but I called to be sure. Um, yes. So it arrived in its flat box and stayed in the living room in front of the quasi-fireplace for 6 weeks. There wasn't any sense in putting it together until we had the TV. It took up much less room as a box.

Last night, we found the TV. It will be delivered Thursday. We need the stand. What better time to put it together than 9 pm?

We laid out and identified all the pieces. Thank goodness, they each had a little sticky tag which helped. Otherwise, I don't think I could have told the right side panel from the left. We developed a system. (Why hadn't we thought of that earlier?) I would look at the next page of instructions, find the pieces and lay them and their corresponding screws or nuts or cams in the work space. He put them together.

The instructions said it was a two-person project. No lie. As it started to take shape, we would continue to compare what was being built with the picture. They were actually starting to look alike. We had a few little faux pas: I put a screw where there should have been a dowel (fixed with a pair of pliers) and the hinges were on backwards before they were on correctly. That took the undoing of 12 little-bitty screws, but the second door went much faster.

So there it sits now. After 2 1/2 hours of companionable labor, we decided that 1) it looks great and 2) if we did this for a living, we'd have to be much faster.

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