Monday, September 21, 2009

Successfully assembled—Or was it?

My wife recently completed some kitchen remodeling and I must admit that she did a fine job. Other than saying; “I think that’s a great idea” a lot, I didn’t help much. You see, my wife thinks I’m “tool challenged” and I do my best to reinforce her belief. She’s not the patient sort and usually all I have to do to get kicked off the job is grab the pointy screwdriver instead of the straighty one and say; “I think I can make this one work.” Shezam, she takes over.

There are times however when my services are required, generally where brawn is involved. As part of the remodeling effort I was given the task of installing the new kitchen sink. I think I got the job because the sink weighs more than 70 lbs. It’s actually called a DOMSJÖ because IKEA has the annoying habit of assigning hobbit names to all of their products. The DOMSJÖ also came with a HJUVIK which required assembly.

In America, HJUVIK is pronounced "fo-set." The HJUVIK came with 12-pages of assembly instructions which I’ll reprint here in their entirety; “Turn the stopcock off before replacing the old mixer tap with the new one” and finally; “Flush the mixer tap clean before using for the first time. Unscrew the filter and let the water run through for about 5 minutes. Then screw on the filter again."

The end. The faucet has 36 pieces to assemble and only 44 words of instructions. That's about 4 words per page. Besides reminding me of the unwelcome phrase “I have a headache,” the stopcock isn’t even labeled. What is a stopcock? Why is it called a stopcock? What happens if I turn off the mixer tap instead of the stopcock? All unanswered in the instructions.

The rest of the 12 pages consist of assembly “drawings.” By carefully following the instructions I was able to successfully assemble the faucet. However, a difference of opinion exists on the “successful” aspect of the assembly. Because there were parts left over, my wife thinks the assembly was not entirely successful. On the other hand, I feel that since water (hot and cold) comes out of both the faucet and the sprayer without leaking, the assembly is wildly successful. Since the "extra" parts aren’t indentified in the assembly hieroglyphs, I can’t even tell if they’re supposed to be in the box or if someone on the faucet assembly line misplaced parts from their lunch-break scooter repair.

It’s been a year since the faucet was successfully assembled and I’ve never given it a second thought. On the other hand, my wife has been troubled by those “extra” parts for the entire year it's been operating and she recently inquired about the location of the "extra" parts. So even though the faucet has been functioning perfectly for over one year, she "just wants to see if there is something I may have missed." I’m not bothered by her checking up on me at all, but because I love her and want her to have peace of mind—next time there are extra parts, I’m secretly throwing them in the garbage.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cure for Insomnia

Lately I’ve been having trouble getting enough restful sleep so I decided to search the internet for insomnia cures. My sleeping problem is actually quite specific, it only occurs on Sunday from 1:00-4:00. After some extensive research (Googling “Insomnia Cures”), I came up with the following list of helpful suggestions:
  • Listen to white noise or relaxation music
  • Read something religious
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Establish a routine
  • Wear socks
  • Don’t watch TV

Based on this list, I’m already doing the things necessary for restful slumber, for example:

White noise—Check. I mean what could be more white noise than listening to Sister Najelly Young relate the Old Testament story of Esther? “. . .and then in the thirteenth of the month of Adarthen the king said to Haman that Mordecai sat in the king’s gate with two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh and then Esther who wasn’t Mordecai’s real daughter became the queen . . . z z z"

Reading something religious—Check. I’m in church.

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine—Great big check. The only “mixed drinks” allowed in the church involve fruit punch and Sprite—but never on Sunday. Even the hard-core caffeine drinkers in the congregation leave the Coke in the ice-filled cooler in the trunk of their car. They don’t bring them into the chapel or share them with me.

Establish a routine—Sacrament service from 1:00-2:10, Sunday School from 2:20-3:00, Relief Society/Priesthood from 3:10-4:00. What could be more routine that that?

Wearing socks—I’m not sure what this has to do with sleep but I wear socks to church so I guess I can check this one off as well.

No TV watching—Since there are no TVs in the chapel this is easy. However, I admit to checking the internet for the latest NFL scores which may interfere with my sleep.

Since I’m doing everything right and still not getting enough sleep, I decided more research was in order. Intensive Googling finally revealed the cause of my insomnia—lateral epicondyle adlido costae verae. Don’t worry, it’s not serious. In fact the cure is very simple—sit farther away from the Relief Society president. Lateral epicondyle adlido costae verae is a highly scientific term meaning "elbow striking ribs". It seems the Relief Society president considers spousal snoring bad form and she applies her rather attractive elbow to my ribs whenever it occurs (usually by about 1:35 p.m.)

I’m considering sitting farther away from my wife but then people will think we’re fighting, plus she throws well and the hymnal will definitely leave a mark. No, I think the real answer to my insomnia is learning to sleep quietly—preferably with my eyes open so that it looks like I’m there. If I ever perfect this technique, please don’t call on me to say the prayer without waking me first.