a dresser waiting to be assembled
LOTS OF PIECES: Yes, this really is a look at all the pieces that have to be assembled to turn a box of parts into a dresser.

There is no such thing as 'simple' assembly

When you buy a piece of furniture that has to be assembled, prepare yourself for something that is anything but 'simple.'

Have you ever noticed that things that are labeled "simple" never are? Especially when "simple" is followed by "assembly"?

Well, I'm “helping” my sister assemble the dresser that she bought for her daughter as a birthday present. (Translation: I am assembling the *@#$%^ thing while she lends me incredibly generous moral support and virtually unlimited Diet Coke.) Let me note right up front that my niece's birthday was last Halloween. So that gives you a little perspective on how eager I have been to tackle this project. Maybe that had something to do with the size of the finished product — 60 inches long by 15 inches deep by 30 inches high — and the size of the box containing the pieces of the project — 60 inches long, 3 inches deep and 15 inches wide. Let me add that when the total of the hardware pieces is anywhere north of 250, you know you are in trouble.

My usual standard is that I don't buy things that require assembly. I deal with furniture stores that deliver the finished product, set it up in my home and clean up any mess involved. But my sister is on a different budget and that means different rules.

We're moving forward. Does anybody know what a "euro screw 1/4 inch" might be? Or how to buy a replacement for one? Here's a flash — they don't sell them at Ace Hardware. So if you are missing one — or if, as in my case, you rounded out the head of one with a poorly chosen screwdriver bit — you have a problem, as in you can't finish drawer assembly. Why the heck couldn't the Chinese understand there might be a problem in assembly and throw in an extra screw or two, just in case they were needed?

I confess that I assembled the nightstand that matches this dresser a year ago. And I ended up calling in aid from the long-suffering Dave (love of my life), who often gets pulled into catastrophic events created by my inability to finish what I've started. As I remember, that crisis also involved a bolt that I was unable to either fully install or remove.

I think back to all the doll houses, bicycles, picnic tables, bookcases, desks, tables, fences, decks and playground sets I've put together through the years, and it occurs to me that things like crawling around on my hands and knees were a lot easier a couple or three decades ago.

But there is nothing like a little adversity to galvanize stubborn persistence. I will not be defeated by a dresser. Nor by "euro screw 1/4 inch."

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