Friday, April 25, 2014

Assembly Required

There were no instructions included with the free crib. That fact normally wouldn’t frustrate me because instructions are usually written in a way that makes me feel really stupid anyway. They’re either impossibly hard to follow because the words don’t match the diagrams, or they were written by someone who is comfortable with just one written language, and it’s not English.

The free crib was given to us by some friends of ours. When the word hit the street late last summer that we were going to become grandparents we started to collect stuff in anticipation of the baby’s arrival. Rhonda, my wife, had heard of this wayward crib in need of a good home; she made the necessary arrangements and I was sent to retrieve it.

I remember picking up the pile of crib bric-a-brac from our friend’s garage and thinking I sure hope it’s all here. I just walked in and threw it in the truck. I never knocked or made my presence known; it felt dangerous and illegal.  Later, when I relayed my actions to my law abiding, upstanding wife, she picked up the phone to explain what had transpired.  I think she may have called the police.

The crib was stored in the granary along with other items waiting their turn to be reused or recycled.  This week it was suggested that I pull it out of storage and bring it upstairs to the “grandchildren’s room.”  Keep in mind, we only have one grandchild, a little boy who won’t be able to handle stairs successfully on his own for a couple years.

So today, having taken the day off for Good Friday, I brought the crib upstairs in a couple trips. Various bags of unknown contents had been tied to the rails, presumably to aid assembly. I split open the bags and spilled the contents on top of a dresser; very little of it made sense to me. No surprise. The bags of nuts, bolts, weird implements, angle iron, Lincoln logs, pieces from an Erector set, and spare parts from, maybe a ’66 Chrysler, did not include assembly instructions, English or otherwise. It’s projects like these that can turn an otherwise happy, healthy, middle-aged man into an old man, bitter and brittle.

So I went to the internet to look for instructions, but instead I discovered a crib similar in appearance which had been recalled for safety reasons. Researching further, I expected to find a warning that any attempt to assemble may lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem along with a link to a anti-depressant website; instead I read where the mattress will occasionally fall to the floor waking the baby, and upsetting everyone else – especially the set-up man. It seems more research is required; perhaps even a purchase from Crate, Barrel and Crib.

I set the cage aside to consult those more suited for such projects: my son, Nathan, and son-in-law, Adam. My short-comings in the area of the assembly are legendary, but by now I do know a thing or two about being a dad and raising kids. When I was a young father I remember consulting with my father on how to raise children. Dad said, “They don’t come with instructions; you just do the best you can.”  So Adam, do the best you can and I’ll be around if you need help.

1 comment:

  1. I laughed until I cried reading this. Every step I felt your pain. By the way, every crib ever made has been recalled for "safety". Enjoyed meeting you today in Lanesboro. I have to keep reading your blogs. Very fun!