Picking up where we left off last week: my twelve bookcases and desk were finally delivered from Office Max, I'm now out of the hospital after emergency back surgery, and the time has come to put the damned things together. Oh, yes. I have to put them together all by myself.
First, the bookcases. According to the box, no tools are necessary for assembly, and each case only takes twenty minutes to put together. Buoyed by that statement, I opened the first box and ripped open my right hand on some sort of packing crap…I think it may be called a brad or a staple or, hell, Mildred Pierce for all I know.
Following a quick trip to the emergency room and 57 stitches, with the promise of a 50/50 chance of being able to use my thumb again, I set to.
I yanked at the boards in the box. Nothing. They were stuck. I sat down on the floor, braced the box with my feet, and really put my back into it. Out flew a long board, narrowly missing my head before embedding itself in the wall. Try as I might to remove it, it became clear that board and plaster had plighted their trough, and would be joined there for all time.
I stepped back and surveyed the destruction; much like van Gogh would step back from a painting in progress just prior to cutting off some body part or other. To sum up, I now had clotted, drying blood all over my beige oriental rug and a six-foot board sticking out of my wall, looking as if it were shot there by some gigantic deranged Indian.
What to do?
I grabbed two stools, placed one on each side of the board, and called it a "Breakfast Nook."
Being a humorist and therefore having no capacity for self-preservation, I opened another bookcase box.
Out charged the biggest rat I've ever seen since Humphrey Bogart in The Roaring Twenties.
My ferret, Gizmo, took a great deal of interest in this rat, and in a frenzy, managed to get out of his cage and make a beeline for Mickey Mouse on PCP. The fact that this rodent was twice the size of Giz didn't seem to bother him at all. He latched onto the hairless tail with all the might and killer instinct that a two pound animal can muster, and proceeded to be dragged around the room by this panic-stricken, shrieking rodent. Vases toppled and smashed gaily on the floor. Plants were overturned and trampled. Bric-a-brac didn't stand a chance as the rat scrambled up onto furniture with my ferret still attached to his nether regions. Watching him try to get shed of Giz reminded me of kids playing "Crack the Whip" at ice skating rinks.
But Gizmo would not be moved. Well, that's not entirely true. He'd allow himself to be dragged around the apartment like a dust mop, but that tail was going to remain firmly clenched in his fangs.
Finally, the rat got tired of it all, reached back and gave Gizmo a roundhouse punch in the nose. It surprised him enough to let go, and the rat legged it to parts unknown, leaving me with an embarrassed, ashamed ferret to comfort. After two hours of assuring him that I didn't think he was a pantywaist, I returned to the bookcases.
The rat was still at large, but I didn’t care anymore.
I emptied the box of its selection of boards and little hardware doodads that I assumed I'd be needing, and picked up the instructions…which were written in German!
I am nothing if not game, so I laid the pieces out in what looked like the appropriate arrangement, and started putting in dowels and screwing in screws…for the next three hours.
"Twenty minutes! @$%#%$#% Office Max! @$**%#$#% bookcases! And mostly, %$#@$#@%#%#% Germans who don't have the decency to provide English instructions!" I remarked.
At any rate, at the end of three hours, the swearing was done and I stepped back to drink in the full impact of my creation.
It didn't look like a bookcase.
It looked more like a chicken coop in a slum.
I took it apart and tried again.
This time, it was a ghastly recreation of my ex-husband that I knew would haunt me until the day I died.
Some would call me "persistent," others might opt for "idiot," but I gave it one more try.
My final effort resembled something out of an Irwin Allen movie, and the rat immediately moved into it…to give birth. Though I had to relocate them to a shoebox, I am keeping her family, and the rest of us, nice and warm.
Guess what I'm using for firewood?