It was nice to have another four day week, so soon after I have returned from a holiday. The long weekend was very welcome. Although we did not deviate from the usual Saturday routine, last weekend, we had a shopping trip planned for Monday.
My spare bedroom had taken on the appearance of former days, when it was the laboratory, that was Samantha's bedroom. The abyss to which I used to refer to the room, was back in its old form. I had very little time before my trip to put everything back into my new bathroom units. I had dragged everything into the spare room, in boxes, and my trusty 'workmen', aka sister in law and husband, had also put all the 'extras' in the room. I had decided it was the best storage facility and and left everything to be taken care of at a later date. The 'later date' was now upon me, and I had clear up the room and buy accessories for my new bathrooms.
I drove over to Samantha on Monday, and we headed out to Ikea. It was not as busy as we had expected, and we walked around with our measuring tape, looking for something, anything, that would be suitable for my requirements. We left the Swedish warehouse and remained in the vicinity. Eventually, after going to many different outlets and specialty shops, I found what I was looking for in Walmart!
The week ahead was planned out. Although I had to go back to work on Tuesday, my mornings were not going to be wasted. I started by attempting to assemble the 'space saver' which was to go over my toilet. My anxiety level started to rise when I opened the instruction leaflet and saw at the bottom of the page, "Do not return to the store". What if it was not suitable? What if there were pieces missing? What if I couldn't understand the instructions? I looked again, and the directions were quite clear. "If you have problems following the instructions, call this number.....DO NOT RETURN TO STORE!" As usual, the instructions were not particularly coherent. I placed all parts, as instructed, on the floor, as the diagram showed. The parts that were not shown on the diagram were put aside, in the event that they should be needed.
The second page of instructions had the same warning at the bottom, a did the third, fourth and fifth. Under NO circumstances was I to return the package to the store. I wondered how the helpline could actually help. What if the pieces did not fit? I chose not to be the source of someones amusement at seven in the morning, imagining the person on the end of the phone, calling to his colleagues, "We have another one. Who wants to be the engineer today, lads?" I left the partly assembled space saver on the floor, and got ready for work.
I received an email the previous week, inviting me to one of the radio stations for lunch on Tuesday. There was to be a live performance of one of Austin's favourite sons, Bob Schneider. Jerry had expressed an interest in seeing the musician, and Samantha was not really wanting to give up her spot in 'the lounge'. I emailed the promoters and explained my predicament. I suggested that, perhaps, one could be my 'plus one', and the other take 'my ticket'. However, I was rather pleasantly surprised when they emailed back to say, "Bring both!"
Tuesday morning was quite busy, but Jerry was no where to be seen Around ten thirty, I sent him a message and finally asked Dana if he had heard from him. He had called in sick! I had pulled off the coup of the century (well perhaps a little exaggeration there) and he was unable to take part! Oh well!
The performance, as always, was very good. Bob Schneider has a remarkably dry sense of humour, and appears to enjoy messing with the announcer, knowing that there is a time restraint. The audience enjoyed the music, and the interaction. Mr Schneider was presumably having the same problems with the instructions, as had I earlier in the day. After two songs, he asked the interviewer if he should play another song, for us, the audience, as we were there, and it seemed to end rather early. The disc jockey told him that they were actually still on the air, and it was not over. "Does that mean I have to play another song?", asked Mr S. "You have another two to play", said the announcer, unsure as to whether his guest was being serious or just being a rebel! Lunch was barbecue from a company called Blacks. It was absolutely delicious and we returned to the office in very high spirits.
I had to take Dana's car to be inspected early Wednesday morning, and the space saver, together with the instructions, were not looked at until the evening. "Place the part that has 'front' on the front, at the front. ...If you have problems following the instructions, call this number.....DO NOT RETURN TO STORE!" I put one part that had 'front' on the front, at the front. There were two other parts that had 'front' on the front, and both were different. There was no mention of there being three different pieces marked 'front'. I almost gave up, and was trying to think of how I could return it, without admitting that I could not follow the instructions, despite the fact that the instructions were not able to be followed, but then decided to persevere. The pictures did not help. I heard Dana come home, and then my doorbell rang, as my guest had arrived, so I decided to start afresh in the morning.
After a lot of trial and error on Thursday, I managed to get all the pieces in the right order (or so I assumed) and manhandled the 'space saver' into the bathroom and stood it up against the wall. All the pieces appeared to be in their correct places, and all that was left was to put the securing bar across the back, at the bottom of the legs. Unfortunately, unlike the previous one, that had been discarded for a newer (less improved) model, the bar was at the exact height of the pipe that leads from the wall to the commode; the pipe that has the stop-cock on, and the pipe that cannot be moved. What should I do. I looked at the instruction booklet (like it was going to give me an answer). ".....DO NOT RETURN TO STORE!"
Dana came up with a solution when I showed him my problem. He said he would drill a couple of holes into the frame, about an inch higher than those already there, and I could secure the bar. That way I would not have to worry about breaching the contract into which I had unwittingly entered when opening the box! I was grateful, and promised him that I would not nag him more than once every six months to get it done!
Friday morning saw another drama unfold. I opened the box to the carousel that was going in my guest bathroom. I was a little dubious as to whether someone had disobeyed the "....DO NOT RETURN TO STORE!" instruction, as the tab on the box had been taped. When I took the pieces out of the box and lined them up, as per the diagram, some had already been put together! It seemed obvious that assembly had been attempted, and stopped. Someone had breached their contract. Did they get a refund, or just sneak it back on the shelf? I decided to go ahead anyway, despite having a good excuse. "If the last person could bring it back...."
Feeling rather good about myself, I admired the masterpiece that was standing on the edge of the bath. The shelves were not in the order given on the instructions, as that would have caused me to make a phone call to ask, "How do they fit, exactly". I then got ready for work!
Saturday morning was upon us and it was time to do the 'Costco run'. Someone had not been following instructions! "Delicious Shepherd's Pie", called a man from behind a demonstration desk. "Fresh and authentic Shepherd's Pie!" Samantha and I wondered if we should point out the obvious. It was made with beef, therefore not shepherd's pie. What he had was 'Cottage pie'. Shepherds do not watch their flocks of cows! However, we decided not to be judge and jury, but thought we would give this poor disillusioned man the benefit of our heritage and taste his wares. Perhaps he was a little taken aback, when we both shouted "What!" at the next statement. "Delicious pie crust, baked and crisp". Pie crust? What instructions were they following. Perhaps they had the Lemon Meringue mixed up with the Cornish pasties. Pie crust?
The dish, itself, was rather tasty. It was a minced beef pie, with mashed potatoes, and anything else would have, if there was a copyright, been a breach of ....well a breach of something! I looked around to see if there was a number to a help desk. Needless to say, we did not buy the pie, and we did not stick around to see if anyone else noticed the 'obvious' mistake!
Once again, Walmart came to the rescue with the 'bits and pieces', I required for my bathrooms. I did try a few other stores, but to no avail. However, I was not downhearted, as the radio station was tuned into 'the 60's', and after our rendition of 'Build me up, buttercup', 'Downtown', and 'Another you', it was impossible to be anything but upbeat!
Dana and I went out for dinner on Saturday night, and while he enjoyed fajitas, I munched on mahi mahi tacos. Instructions were not needed to make, nor eat them, and if they were incorrectly prepared, I was oblivious, and quite happily so! I had no intention of returning them anywhere and my plate was clean when the waitress came to retrieve it.
So another week ends, and we are still awaiting another arrival, which will not be sent back to the store! At 'due date', plus five, my second grandson has yet to make his debut, and whilst his little family are anxious to meet him, he is quite happy to stay 'in the box'. No instructions will be needed when he arrives, and hopefully, that arrival will be reported in .............. another story!