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.

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