Now that summer is officially here, I must admit that one of its more dubious aspects is the need to assemble “things” in order to: (a) enjoy the season or (b) keep from having your yard condemned under various noxious weeds regulations. We're less than a week into summer, and so far I've had to assemble a screen house to keep out homicidal mosquitoes; a “garage in a box” (cute name) because my previous one caved in last winter; a gas-powered grass trimmer; and a pressure washer. (Actually, my wife assembled the pressure washer, but I gave her advice, which should count for something.) I did not have to assemble, but still have nightmares about having assembled my gas barbecue. I also have not assembled a metal tool shed that I bought ten years ago because I gave up trying to figure out the instructions.
Having learned the hard way, I offer this advice to those brave souls who plan to assemble anything with more than four parts:
- The term “instruction guide” is a misnomer. These guides are written in barely recognizable English by people who wish to torture, not help you. They are so cheerful about it too, using such nonsensical terms as “easy to assemble”. The diagrams are particularly unhelpful, because there are so many arrows, labels, and parts that you would need an advanced degree in engineering to understand them. Do the best you can, but trial and error may play the biggest role in your success.
- Do not assume that when you have parts left over, the manufacturer was being generous and gave you spares.
- Do not assume that a manufacturer includes “accessories” needed for the successful operation of the machine should you be lucky enough to put it together.
- Do not pick a windy day to put up a screen house.
- Do not involve loved ones in your assembly attempts.
- A square is not a rhomboid.
And by the way, have a great summer. . .