Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Assembly required = Have gasoline and matches ready

Putting together baby gear is not for the faint of heart.

Or directionally challenged.

Now that the nursery is almost done, Jerry and I have turned our attention to other responsibilities like getting all of her stuff out of boxes. We correctly assumed that they would take up less much space in their original packaging, so we put it off as long as possible to maintain somewhat of a semblance of organization in our house. We figure we only have a few more weeks of an adults-only living space before it explodes and becomes overrun with diapers, burpcloths and pacifiers.

But with my due date quickly approaching, the fear of not having the car seat and stroller ready was enough to put the wheels in motion. Literally.

The boxes were many:
  • Play yard (all-in-one travel contraption that serves as a changing table, bassinet and play area)
  • Rocking chair (after all the furniture was in the nursery, it finally dawned on me that a large upholstered chair wasn't going to fit)
  • Mega stroller (for the fall festivals in life)
  • Collapsible stroller (for the quick go-anywhere times in life)
  • Car seat (which awesomely fits into both aforementioned strollers)
  • Mechanical rocker (seat that moves back and fourth and sideways to hopefully encourage fussy babies to relax)
Jerry had put together the mechanical rocker on his own while I was at work, so I didn't have the luxury of hearing his mumbled expletives. He even went out that night and purchased the mega batteries required to run it, just to see if it worked. And after much confusion and toiling (and recanting the horror story to me), it is now baby ready.

We decided to attempt the rocker next. It came from what had looked like a reputable chair website and required only moderate assembly. But only after we lugged it upstairs and tore open the package did we realize we had to construct it on a table. So we lugged it back downstairs to the kitchen and tried our best to save the foam packaging, as instructed, to use as padding to protect the product during construction.

Then, after our kitchen was a gigantic mess, we discovered that the box didn't contain the little bag of hardware it was supposed to come with. Instead, we got two packages of glue. So, as I got on the phone to attempt to politely request the missing parts, Jerry set each piece of chair aside in our dining room, including every scrap of foam, and tried not to give in to the overwhelming desire to toss all of it into our fire pit and douse it in gasoline.

Stupidly, we didn't just accept our losses for the day and decided to attempt the play yard next. The pieces were many. When laid out in our living room, it took up most of the empty floor space. But we took inventory, and all of the parts we were supposed to have were there. At that point, we considered it a small victory.

Then we got completely rattled on step one. The directions instructed us to snap the base into place, but even with one of us on each end, it refused. We pried, we folded, we pushed, we pulled -- nothing worked. Eventually, we realized a nondescript button on the underside of the contraption needed to be in the "open" position, then pushed "closed" once the sides were in place. Right.

After all that, I wanted to simply step inside and let it collapse around me, leading to my tragic demise.

The next few steps proved a little less difficult, but eventually we got to a faulty piece. Part Q was supposed to "snap" into Part X ... blah, blah, blah ... it didn't fit. There was something very clearly wrong with Part Q. Like a big piece of plastic where a hole should be.

So, I gave it the middle finger and got on the phone. Again.

This time I waited a blissful 40 minutes just to talk to someone who barely understood English and lied through my teeth that we opened the box and discovered we were missing Part Q. I figured it was easier than trying to explain to her that the piece was faulty.

Days later, all of the new parts arrived and we attempted round two of Baby Gear Assembly.

The chair went together with only minor frustration and we were glad we had the extra package of glue. We inadvertently overfilled the first few holes and wouldn't have had enough for the final few. And once we placed the chair on the kitchen floor and I sat in it, I can honestly say I've never felt so accomplished in my life. Maybe even more so than the day I received my college diploma.

The play yard wasn't so simple. As I had suspected, the new Piece Q snapped right into place without struggle. Mostly because it had a hole where the metal pole was supposed to go. After feeling another huge surge of accomplishment, we frustratingly discovered that the new piece was now missing the pole that is supposed to attach to the side of the play yard and hold the bassinet in place.

And NOW because it's already snapped onto the bassinet piece and won't detach, we need THREE new pieces to get it to work. Jerry is so frustrated that he said we should demand to speak to Mr. Eddie Bauer himself.

As in, "I think Mr. Bauer should come to our house to personally attempt to put this together for us."

Round three of Baby Gear Assembly will come when I calm down enough to sit on the phone for another 40 minutes.

In the meantime, we put together the strollers and car seat. These proved much less difficult, but the stress of getting it right was overwhelming. I mean, images of our daughter being catapulted out of her seat because we screwed up one little step were more than enough to encourage us to read everything three or four times.

Granted, we skipped over the whole "where to place the baby" stuff, but at least they're in functioning order. We'll figure out how to use them later. Frankly, neither one of us had the intestinal fortitude to attempt to learn which leaver does what and which handle to grab to collapse them.

Because if we hadn't been able to figure it out, I think we would've simply rolled them down to the nearby train station and high-fived as an old Conrail melded them to the tracks.

Instead, we placed everything in a corner in the dining room, turned off the lights and considered it a job well done.

Babies HAVE to be easier to take care of than putting their stuff together.

At least that's what I'm telling myself at the moment.


julie said...

When are we gonna get pictures???

Lioncloud said...

This is only the beginning. On Christmas Eve, probably in 2009, you will be struggling to assemble some complicated toy, knowing that you have a very limited time for completion.



Place Tab A in Hook B Plainsman said...

Don't forget to save the scraps of paper with model numbers, etc. on them and put all in a folder or binder. This because 17 months from now, you HAVE to know at 3 AM if that stroller, play pen or whatever is on the recall list...

Photos, nah! I want to see a stop action video of the J&K team doing the whole assembly!

Erica said...

I was going to leave the comment about Christmas Eve, but it looks like someone already did it for me. My dad would always grumble about the toys "Santa" expected him to put together. And then of course there would be this FANTASTIC toy that my brother and I HAD to play with right then but it hadn't come with batteries and there was nowhere to get them Christmas day.... Let's just say it was always fun.

Janice said...

That's crazy. Don't forget to keep your warranties and whatnot. :) Sounds demanding, but I bet they look good now that they're finished.

chelsea said...

Make sure you tell everyone to only give toys that come together, no assembly required =)

aahcoffee said...

Keep all those instructions. Once you're done with the items (when baby outgrows them) and you dump them in the garage for that far off "next one" day, and then that far off day comes and you realize instructions are nuts and bolts are nowhere to be found, you'll thank me.

Ray said...

Goodness I was confused just by reading all that! Props to you and Jerry for going through with it all, and not just throwing all that baby gear through a wall! You two deserve gold medals. And YES babies are far more easier to deal with than how to construct their gear. I think, hehe.

Take, care.

P.S. Pics please?!

Tiffany said...

*thumbs up* for your progress so far! And, like others said... this is only the beginning :-)

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of you when I saw this... the phases moms say during a day ... the musical, condensed version.


Anonymous said...

u didn't read the disclaimer on the side that say's "warning, if you think parenting is easy try putting this crib together!"