Like any couple, Robin and I have had our ups and downs over 17 years as a couple. The arrival of our children put us to the ultimate test. We agreed that anything said between the bleary hours of midnight and 6am was inadmissible in the divorce courts. If you can survive piecing it together, you can pretty much survive anything.
According to a survey of couples renovating their homes together, 12 per cent became so frustrated and angry that they considered separating or divorcing during the process. In another survey of people who put together furniture with their partners, 17 per cent say they end up arguing. We send the children off to the grandparents for the day and get to work.
How difficult can it be? There are few things that terrify me more than DIY. Job interviews, public speaking, supporting the England cricket team: When my daughters were three months old, Jill ordered a pair of cots, which I naively assumed would be delivered fully assembled. When the flatpacks arrived, I was secretly anxious, but the male ego soon kicked in.
Reassuring my wife, I sent her and our babies to the in-laws, and with a surge of confidence, I set about the job. Only then did I bother to read down to the bottom of the instructions, where I found the note: The storage unit arrives in nine separate boxes. Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have been intimidated by its complexity.
Our first disagreement is which box to open first. Robin says this is ridiculous. But as the manual says there are 22 different kinds of screw or bracket and 13 different pieces of wood that go into its assembly, my other half is not taking any chances.
Jill and I have different arguing styles.
I like to have a reasoned discussion. Despite this, our TV unit is starting to come together nicely. Our first proper argument. Robin says the base of the drawers is missing. I find the bases in the first box I look in. I have therefore taken charge of the operation. Robin likes to think he has taken charge of the operation. I explain to Jill that my power tools are not toys.
If we ever get there. These things are massive. We may have to move to a bigger house. How do they behave when the stress is on?
I bet scientists built the Hadron Collider in less time' 3pm Jill: Breaking off for a bite to eat, we sit for a few minutes and discuss our previous experience of Ikea. There is no denying its success is staggering. In the UK, twice as many people visit one of its stores regularly than go to church every Sunday.
Apparently, 10 per cent of babies in Europe are said to have been conceived on an Ikea bed.
Tighten screws on wooden bed slats to stop squeaks If you determine your wooden bed frame is the source of the squeak, remove the mattress completely. However, it arrived with some damage that couldn't have come from shipping - someone packed it that way.
I pop into my local Leeds branch every couple of months but usually end up leaving with only tealights and a hotdog. I hate this unit. Robin is strangely silent as we assemble the second bookshelf.
To its credit, Ikea does understand that flatpack furniture can create tension. However, we understand some people may find building flatpack furniture challenging. No word as to whether they also offer counselling for post-traumatic stress. I bet scientists built the Hadron Collider in less time.
But, on the whole, I think we did a good job. What have we learned about each other?
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