I’m in the midst of moving right now, and we are trying to make this new home our own. Before we moved, we got rid of a lot of our furniture so that we could “start fresh” or, as I like to call it, “find a way to send me straight to the chiropractor.”
Yes, that’s right, I’m in flat-pack hell.
Flat-pack furniture has its place. Sure, it’s cheap. Sure, it’s made out of laminated particleboard, and sure, you’re spending hours of your own time (How much do you make an hour?) to save in overseas labor costs. But the kids need shelving in their closets, and white flat-pack drawers look like built-ins for a fraction of the price.
I’ve spent the better part of the last week on the floor of my new living room (The carpet doesn’t look nearly as nice as when I’m standing.) assembling various units. Don’t get me wrong—aside from the lower back trauma from being hunched over for hours at a time, I rather enjoy assembling flat-pack furniture. It’s like adult Legos but with disastrous consequences, if you do something wrong.
As we all know, particleboard isn’t particularly forgiving.
Flat-pack assembly is the “Don’t step on the carpet because it’s lava” game but for adults. Plus, when else can you give your kids an accelerated course on the kind of language he’s not going to hear until (hopefully) high school?
As I sat surrounded by cardboard debris, my three-year-old son says, “Look, Daddy! I go between the boxes!”
I look up and, sure enough, he’s squeezing between two boxes. Oh, hurrah, my son can suck in his belly, I think. That’s a skill he’ll need later in life.
He finishes with a flourish and his hands outstretched, “Ta Da!”
Yeah. Ta Da. Big whoop, kid. Do you want a round of applause? “Good job, boy. Now go find one of your brothers to annoy.”
A bit later I finish my first cabinet. I stand up, stretch my aching back, and call in my wife.
“Done with the first one.”
She glanced over. “Yep,” and then she just walked away.
It is at this moment that I realize my son was right. I’m a grown man, but every once in awhile, I still feel the need to say, “Ta Da!” Because, damn it, I worked hard on this thing, and you should give it the respect it deserves. Too often you deal with customers who feel like they can’t compliment your work or they risk losing the ability to make changes later. Or they feel you’ll get a big head. I don’t know how they think. Crazy—the lot of them. You often don’t know you did a good job until the referral gets back to you. And that is nice, but it’s not the same as an on-the-spot compliment.
But I’ll tell you this: Putting together a flat-pack shelf is one thing, creating something from a pile of lumber and a few screws is something else entirely. You deserve a “Ta Da” today, and I’m going to give it to you. Just know that as I finish typing the next words, I’m slowly standing and starting a round of applause. And yes, my wife thinks I’m a nut job.
So go ahead. Take your “Ta Da.” You’ve earned it.