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Sunday, February 22, 2015


It is the competitive nature with which I have been blessed (although sometimes I believe it may be the opposite!) that prevents me from ignoring the "Can you answer...." quiz on a particular social media page.  Last week, I was informed that, due to the fact that I answered fifteen questions correctly, pertaining to the workings of the motor vehicle, I am considered (compliments of social media) a 'certified mechanic'.  Despite the fact that as a teenager, who was dating a mechanic, I was taught a few basic pointers, and was able to check and change the 'plugs and points', on my rather ancient Austin 1100, this hardly qualified me to be able to apply for an apprenticeship at a garage, much less get a job fitting engines at Rolls Royce! However, social media has deemed that now, I am competent enough to start my own auto-repair centre! 

It has been a long time since I was a teenager, and a long time since I have done anything auto-mechanical apart from check my oil levels from time to time.  However, I could probably still assemble a complicated piece of LEGO.  I seem to remember that no matter how complex the structure, the directions were rather easy to follow.  I did not need to be a certified mechanic to take on the task of building a petrol station, or indeed and auto-parts warehouse!  The Danes, in my opinion, certainly have a gift when writing an instruction booklet!  (To protect the innocent, which I believe myself to be, the following is an opinion and stated, without prejudice!)  Not so much their Scandinavian counterpart! 

The trip to the Swedish store was planned for the Monday morning of Presidents Day.  I drove to Samantha's home, and we set out on our mission!  My passion for kitting had been slightly diminished, and that of decorating the house had been reignited.  It was time for a new set of curtains in the bedroom, and this meant buying some fixtures and fittings in order to make it happen!  We strolled around the store, and collected all that was needed.  I decided not to purchase the items I required to make my bathroom a better place, as the taps and other hardware, adorning the area, had been purchased from another DIY store, and I hoped to find matching accessories later!  I purchased a curtain rail and brackets, as did Samantha.  On our travels around the giant warehouse, the creative juices started to bubble, and I purchased two lampshades, for two lamps that have been sitting in my living room for the past eight years, awaiting the perfect topping.  We left laden down, ready to continue with the day.

The craft store was in the same strip centre, and Samantha bought some fabric to complete her window d├ęcor! I was sent to find the hooks and loops which I had suggested would be appropriate, but realised that she would be better off with a curtain rod.  Once again, we headed for the Swedish warehouse.  For one who had not been a big fan of the place, I seemed to be spending a lot of time, and money, in the store.  We returned to Samantha's house, and set about mounting the wall brackets.  This was when I decided that the Swedes could learn a thing or two from the Danes, when it comes to instructions.  Simple as it seemed, the instructions were more of a hindrance than a help.  When trying to drill a hole in the wall, to house the screw that was needed to hold the bracket in place, I found myself using words like 'lintel', 'load-bearing' and other architectural phrases, as a reason as to why a certain 'drill-bit' was needed.  I had helped Samantha's father (and the word helped should be taken lightly) in the construction of an extension to our home, many years ago.  However, despite knowing the uses of an RSJ, (I had to 'google' to find out that the initials stood for Rolled Steel Joist,) I hardly consider myself capable of erecting a building, even though social media may consider me a master architect!  However, I digress!  After a while, we had managed to secure brackets to the wall and assemble the curtain rod, without the aid of the written word! 

As the dog had a veterinarian appointment, I left Samantha's home at around three, and headed home, via the supermarket, where I purchased a couple of 'shower caddy' space savers.  Dana arrived home shortly after me, and we headed out to dinner.  Although a school-night as it was a Bank Holiday, we treated ourselves to a night out at a very pleasant steak restaurant. 

Tuesday morning started particularly early.  Dana's absence from the office on Monday afternoon (even though it was a public holiday) had left him with a mountain of work to do the following day.  I rose an hour earlier than usual, and decided to assemble my new shower accessories.  What the Swedes can learn from the Danes is nothing in comparison to what the suppliers of the shop bearing the bulls eye logo could learn. After unpacking all the pieces, and attempting to use the simple step-by-step guidelines, the Swedes started to look proficient in their directions.  Try as I might, the pieces would not assemble as shown.  Apparently, being a certified mechanic was not the qualification needed for this task.  I have not attempted a social media quiz to obtain an engineering degree, so I was unable to put together the shower caddy.  I felt slightly better when Samantha could not achieve the task, but apparently she also had not completed the engineering degree quiz! 

Perhaps, had I become an engineer, rather than a mechanic, I would have thought to measure the lampshades, as the perfect toppings were rather too big.  They would have to be returned.  However, if I had become and engineer, rather than a mechanic, I would have also made a note of the innards as the shades had a different frame to those already upon the lamps, and the universal hinges that allowed alteration made me wonder whether an engineering degree in this world would actually be sufficient for this task! 

I did not leave home early on Wednesday.  Joe had been unwell, and he was not at the shop early enough for me to visit.  I chose instead to set up my new sewing machine.  I had purchased said machine last year, after the perfect one I had been using had been confiscated, and was now sitting in the area that is named the 'craft corner' of Samantha's new home!  I did not need an degree in engineering, nor was my certification in the internal combustion engine of any consequence, as the step-by-step manual really did take me through the process, step-by-step.  In fact, after the threading of the bobbin and subsequent threading of the needle, I had enough time to start the 'shortening' of my curtains!  Back on track, having lost too much time attempting to assemble that which was impossible to assemble, I was ready to tackle the world! (Although perhaps the lampshades were still a little out of my jurisdiction!)

My new found sense of achievement was taken to new heights, as my confidence levels reached certifiable!  My work computer, which had been the victim of possible terminal consequences, had received a hard-drive transplant and was returned to me via the express courier.  I signed for it, and then spent considerable time restoring my settings.  The strength of command in my voice was so powerful, that when I instructed the dog to "Get back!", the courier whimpered, "Where to?"  With such clarity, I wondered if my heritage contained any Viking descendants!  (Yes, I did pay attention in my History classes!)  It would certainly explain why I had no difficulty in putting together the LEGO pieces!

As I had driven myself to the office Wednesday morning, my car was readily available at the end of the day, and I did not have to wait for Dana to take me home.  I did not require a degree to put the key in the ignition and turn it to start the engine, and the short drive home did not require any geographic qualification to read co-ordinates on a map!  Turn right, right again, right again and then left.  (The only problem that I may have encountered was if someone was giving me directions, as another person's 'left' is not necessarily mine!)  I took advantage of my arriving home earlier than anticipated, and fed the washing machine a full load of laundry.  I pulled the large button on the contraption, and went downstairs to prepare dinner.  It was the silence of the appliance that led me to think something was wrong.  The cycle appeared to be finished, but the washing was dry.  When I tried to start it again, nothing happened.  I stood in a state of dismay, and almost (almost) sank into a quivering mound, like the next load of laundry on the floor.  However, the voice in the back of my head reminded me that I had been given the qualification, certified mechanic, and I had the power!  Despite the dubious method of achieving this status, my computer screen had very clearly displayed the words, and it was time to put my new diploma to use!  The light in the bathroom was still alight, so it wasn't a fuse.  I unplugged the plug and plugged it into another socket.  Nothing.  I changed the settings on the machine, and voila!  My washer fired up as if nothing had ever been amiss, and the water started to flow into the drum!  How could I have doubted my ability! 

Dinner was cooked on the grill, in my sun room.  The outside temperature was pleasant, and from the compliments received from my husband, I would probably be able to obtain the masterchef degree on the next social media quiz. 

My sewing machine did suffer a broken needle whilst I completed the shortening of my curtains, but with my qualifications, replacing the sharp object was simple!  I returned the shower caddy on Saturday morning, and explained that my engineering degree had not yet been completed, so I was unable manufacture the missing parts, and therefore, unable to follow the instructions.  The girl at the counter found this to be very amusing, and chuckled as she returned my money!  Perhaps other certified mechanics have had the same problem.  I did not get to the Swedish store as the receipt for the universal lampshades has been mislaid, but I did buy a couple of matching toppings from another well known DIY store.  They fitted perfectly, despite their being no instructions to follow!   
My new shower accessories were purchased without the need for an exam in 'how to buy', and they were assembled quickly.  Fortunately, my lack of knowledge in some areas has not hampered the others!  I hung the curtains on their new rod, and rearranged the fabric which enhances the windows, to make it look pretty.  Having never achieved so much as a high-school qualification in art, or needlework, I have received glowing reports from most whom have ventured into my home, regarding my 'home made' accessories.  In fact, my most revered compliment was when my (late) father (several years ago) told me that I had done the right thing in going to the department store to buy drapes, and was shocked when I told him that I had made them myself!  Perhaps tooting my own horn, is not appropriate, as it may well be that all I needed to perfect this art was to gain a qualification on social media!  I am a certified mechanic, ergo, I can sew! 

I have no plans, at the moment, to contact the local Tesla motor company, and ask them if they are in need of someone with my prowess in all things 'under the hood', nor do I intend, at the moment, to contact any of the Formula 1 contenders, as I do not think they are ready to take on someone who actually obtained a certification from facebook!  However, I am looking forward to the Advanced Engineer quiz, and if I gain 'full marks', I may change my mind.  After all, being able to put together a shower caddy from the  companies that supply the bullseye logo store, must be something that would be considered an enormous advantage, especially on a resume!  Any job offers I receive, I shall report upon in ....... another story!

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