I am so proud of myself!  I have worked for 30 years full time in various jobs, but nothing I’ve ever done at work has given me as much satisfaction as having built a big 5×5 Ikea Kallax shelving unit successfully, on my own.  Took me 2½ hours.

I hesitated and deliberated for ages before buying it.  I studied the instructions online, and watched a couple of assembly videos on YouTube, and decided I thought I could do it.  I reckoned if I got stuck, I could pay someone to help then.  Anyway, it went exactly as I expected, with the most difficult stages being the later ones.  Getting the second side and the top on is hardest, where you have to line up eight rods at the same time, and I can see where a second person would be useful at this stage (you’re told it needs two people to do it).  The very final bit, where you are supposed to screw together the final corner by tipping the whole thing one way and then the other, was the only bit I knew I wouldn’t be able to do alone, and though I tried leaning it against a wall and attempting to do one of the screws from underneath, it just wouldn’t go in, so basically I gave up and decided I’d just have to leave one out of four corners not screwed together.

But I’m surprised, I’ve really got a buzz out of doing it.  Having to think hard, work out which bit is which, consider whether the pieces have a front and a back, think ahead to how you’re going to manage the next bit, discover as you go along exactly how far you have to hammer the rods in – and problem solving when things aren’t quite as expected.  It’s like when I’ve been singing classical pieces recently, and thinking to myself that the relationship is between me and the composer who wrote the music hundreds of years ago.  Here, you are alone in a room, and the relationship is with the unknown person somewhere who designed the thing, who anticipated what you would have to do, maybe who tested it to check that it worked, and that it was as simple as possible.  It’s a little piece of engineering, and so clever!  Thank goodness there was no major problem and I managed to finish it successfully and without hurting myself.

Now I can enjoy filling it up with my various collectibles!


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