One of the bloggers that I follow is Hallysan at Photographic Memories. In a recent blog acknowledging an award, she had to give us seven things about herself. One was that she was good with her hands and that caused me to comment that I was not and flat packs send me into a spin.
I remember one particular time when a flat pack was in order. I had arrived in London in time for Christmas and was staying with my sister. A few days before Christmas Day a flat pack arrived by courier. My sister had ordered a toy kitchen for one of her grand-daughters.
We opened the package and saw how many pieces needed to be put together, so in the hope that her son would turn up in the next few days, we closed the box and put it aside.
The days passed and Christmas Eve arrived but her son didn’t, so we were faced with putting this toy together. The first warning read “Not to be assembled by anyone under 10 years” (or words to that effect). Then there were the usual warnings about small items and small children but hey – we were two adult, grown-up Grandmothers. We could do this!
My sister is much better with her hands than am I – in fact both sisters are and it would be hard to find anyone who wasn’t. So she would put the pieces together ie build the kitchen and I would read the instructions and pass the requisite screws, screw-driver, stickers, parts etc. We were doing very well until I turned over two pages in the instruction book. Yes, there was a book and it had been translated into English from Chinese, we think by Goofy and his pals. It made hilarious reading. I wish I had known the Good Greatsby then and his command of Chinglish it would have been very useful.
Imagine this. Two adult women surrounded by pieces of a toy kitchen, screws, stickers etc and having no idea how to put it all together. Hours passed in discussion on how to do this, interspersed with shrieks of laughter when first one thing and then another either didn’t fit or hallelujah it did fit!
Then telephone calls to nieces and nephews in London, to family and friends in New Zealand and to elder sister in Los Angeles. They all shared in the hilarity and passed comment and advice while we tried to put this danged thing together.
My mobile phone bill reached an all-time high and we did too. Eventually, a rather wobbly kitchen was put together but my nephew commented the next day that one of the panels was in upside down or round the wrong way, but the four-year-old for whom it was intended loved it anyway.
So no more flat packs for me. I enjoyed the exercise of putting it together but oh dear me, at the end of it we were left with about thirty extra screws. I wonder where they were meant to go? And I never enquired as to how long the kitchen stayed upright. I left shortly after Christmas and it never came up in conversation again.
As I have said before sisters are the best friends and they are also the best people with whom to share such an experience.
“A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.” Author Unknown