Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Partially Built

Ray and I bought our share of those furniture pieces that come in a box and are assembled once you get home.  The assembly task was usually mine, with extra hands from Ray when necessary.  The only piece that completely defeated me was the barbecue.  Thank goodness Larry showed up from Sacramento to become that day's Knight in Shining Armor.

I've been thinking for a year about something to put at the end of my dad's bed that could hold pretty things for him to look at -- flowers, Easter bunny, Christmas Tree.  He has a bedside table, but when he is in bed he has to turn his head to see it.  He doesn't do that very often.  Last week I trudged down to City Mill (the Orchard Supply of Honolulu) and found -- on sale -- the perfect item:  a narrow five-drawer chest, wood frame with rattan drawers that look like baskets sitting on shelves but actually work like drawers.  Just like at Orchard Supply, store staff load the box into your vehicle.

My plan was to assemble the whole piece at home, separate the drawers from the frame, load the car, and carry the separate parts from the parking lot upstairs to the 3rd floor of Oahu Care Facility.  But I was warned by the salesman:  these pieces are not particularly stable.  A road trip across the city will negatively impact structural integrity.

Once at home, I recognized that I was facing one of those situations this blog is all about.  Always before I've had someone -- and a furniture dolly --  to unload the car and get the box to its assembly point.  In Groveland, I have multiple power screw drivers.  Not so in Honolulu.

Where to work?  How to get the large box (which I cannot lift myself) from the car?  A painters drop cloth and a bath sheet sized towel on the floor of the carport made an acceptable work surface.  My mother's small tool box produced a pair of phillips screw drivers.  Open box in car, remove and assemble the basket parts, leave two sides (resembling a pair of small ladders), a top and four crossbars for assembly at Oahu Care.  Just unpacking and assembly of 5 baskets took the better part of 3 hours.  Manual screw drivers take a lot more work than the power variety!

The next trick was finding a parking spot at Oahu Care with enough room to open at least one car door wide enough to remove all the chest parts.  Ahhhh, there was one!  Didn't have to park in the center aisle.  Two baskets and clean laundry arrived at my dad's bedside.  Arriving with the second load, found the call light on at my dad's room.  He was trying to get out of bed to follow me downstairs.  Thank goodness for bed alarms!  One more trip and some help from one of the maintenance staff -- and all the parts were upstairs.  

Laying out a towel on the floor and putting the instructions on the end of my dad's bed, I proclaimed, "Gentlemen, your entertainment for the afternoon!"  Gotta make this light.  Those two men each know more about the assembly process than I do, and both were awake and alert.  OK.  Two sides.  Check.  Four crossbars.  Check.  No, wait, the crossbars are designated E, F and G.  Does that mean different bars for different places?  Sure enough.  E goes in the front.  But where is front?  Oh. Drawer stops are on the back right.  Which little ladder has the drawer stops?  That ladder becomes Right Side.  Check.  Peg crossbars into pukas in side pieces.  Bigger round thing into matching puka on crossbar.  Oh-oh.  It is supposed to connect to something.  It's that funny widget that looks like a cross between a screw and a molly bolt. This can't be right!  How do I get that piece which clearly has to go east-west through north-south opening?  

Sun-he (say soon-HEE), one of the CNA's arrived about that time, wondering what was being assembled.  Fortunately, her mechanical skills are better than mine.  "Take this off." she said, pulling out the pegged in crossbars.  "This one go here." she added, deftly fitting one of the funny widgets into the side piece, long end out.  "Now like this".  She plugged the crossbar back into place, the funny widget now extending through it's own puka in the crossbar and into the puka designated for that bigger round thing.  Round thing into puka, over funny widget.  Quarter turn with screw driver in round thing, and voila! Fastened.   "Now you do."  she declared, leaving.  I did.

Twenty minutes later the crossbars were in place, reinforcing angle brackets attached, and the top screwed to the base frame.  Drawers had been added, and the job was done.  My father was pleased.  I am pleased.  The CNA's will have to figure out where I hid my father's socks.

Give thanks for anyone who offers help today.  Be gracious enough to accept it -- with a smile!  Don't forget to pray ....


  1. Cute tale, Bonnie! And it sounds as if the piece you bought has at least dual purposes: 1) display/storage, and 2) "entertainment center"!!

    Your thoughtfulness is to be admired; I am sure your Father appreciates your efforts!

  2. I love that you got the job done, go Bonnie!!!!I also like the new color backround. It is much easier to read, Thanks.


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