Stephen Fahey: Half Ton Flat Pack

Those in the know are familiar with Polish businesses supplying Ireland with furniture, building materials and the like. Well, when a bedroom needed refurnishing we sent for a desk, wardrobe, cupboard, press and set of drawers. Because twelve year olds amass a serious amount of clutter that even that many pieces of furniture can’t accommodate.

It arrived on a truck, in seventeen separate boxes, each heavier than the next. We should have known then. But we foolishly love our daughter and for some unknown reason her happiness is paramount to us. After two pulled muscles, a herniated disc and a sprained shoulder, we got all seventeen into the house. It only made sense that we then let said boxes rest, to marinade, if you will. Then, on the following weekend, we set to work.

The instructions being in Polish I was at a loss, so I enlisted the help of a Polish-born friend who is handier with a torque wrench than maybe any one human being should be. I got beer and pizzas in and we set to it. We unpacked the first box. No instructions. We unpacked the second box. No instructions. We unpacked the third box. There were instructions, and subsequent relief-beers.

It was our mistake, however, to begin assembling the largest and most complicated unit first. Of course, this was not apparent until we fitted the very last piece of dozens, excluding bolts and screws, and realised that the second and third pieces were upside down, which meant that we had to take the entire unit apart to flip parts two and three. At which point regrouped and quickly had sadness-beers. But Chris is also very handy with a power drill and saved us total emotional breakdown with a few short bursts of the drill bit.

Once we had caught our breath over pizza, more beer and the customary conversation about the current political climate in Poland we were back to unit number two. All seemed well at first. But in short order we realised that the lessons learned from unit number one were all too short lived and it became apparent that we had made a very similar mistake. Only this time, despite considering the power drill, the chainsaw, the jackhammer, and petrol and matches, we soon understood that we had to take most of unit two apart to fix the problem. There was no way around it. Admittedly, after the incident which shall never again be mentioned, on pain of death, there were a considerable number of anger-beers.

Then Karol arrived to assist, so that we didn’t end up finished the job sometime around Christmas 2027. Having come to the firm belief that the furniture company are in fact evil geniuses, we finished units four and five and quickly ran from the room before we realised that we had missed, forgotten or neglected something. The emancipation-beers were all too sweet. Followed by reserve emancipation-beers, just in case, along with more talk of politics and a brief rant about that particular airline which shall remain nameless charging a new free for hand luggage as of November.

It was bloody. It was painful. It was even a little racist, somehow. But there was a lesson learned. And that lesson is, never have kids.

Stephen Fahey

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