Follow The Instructions

The week started well, with a flurry of activity. On Tuesday, I knuckled down and managed to reel off my teacher training personal statement within three hours. And I’m quite pleased with it as well. If that doesn’t get me into teacher training… well, they don’t deserve me!

It then continued. Also on Tuesday, my dad had an operation on his eye to remove a chalazion in his eyelid, which went well and it meant he’s had the rest of the week off work. So he’s been around the house, which has meant we’ve been doing lots of things to tidy up and get the house in order. Because it’s a bit of a mess around here even at the best of times. The activity continued, with grass cutting, vacuuming, cleaning, tidying… it’s nice to help out as I know I won’t be here after next Saturday.

But the biggest test of the week by far came yesterday, when I went with my dad to my new sister’s house to help him build my sister’s new flat-pack metal shed. Thinking this wouldn’t be that difficult was a foolish, naive idea. As soon as I opened the box it was clear just how horrendous the process would be… and I wasn’t disappointed.

Five hours later, we had managed to put up the frame of the building. You’d think it was a big shed, but in fact it was just 1.8m by 1.2m. There were many false starts, many mistakes, dozens of “one step forward, two steps back” occasions, and a lot of swearing. At one point the instructions were so unclear about the orientation of a certain, crucial part, that if put in incorrectly you would only find out much later, and then have to go backwards to fix it… that we nearly gave up to go and drive to the shop we bought it from to see how they’d done it.

What is it about flat-pack assembly that seems to bring out the idiot in everyone? Even the greatest spatially aware person can struggle to explain what the incomprehensible language and dodgy diagrams are trying to get at. Sometimes, there’s no substitute for trial and error, but then again, when the error results in you wasting your entire day, it might just be easier if the instructions were better…

But we got most of the way there in the end, and now we just have to put the roof on today. Though that’s probably still another five hours of work. Which is soul-destroying. This is my last weekend here. But then again, I can’t actually think of any other way I could spend it.

Like I said at the start, at least I’m doing something useful. I could be sitting here on the computer all day, listening to the neighbours retiling their roof… which is amazingly annoying. Smash. Bang bang bang. Smash again. Since 8am.

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