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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

a Girl’s Gotta BUILD…

Since our favorite Diva with a Glue Gun is under House Arrest, nothing seemed more fitting to me last weekend than to join Her! Temps in the ginormous zone reduced me to a sticky frizzy mess anytime I stuck my head out the condo door so it only made sense to stay inside bathed in cool air-conditioned jetstreams and BUILD something!

A trip to the neighborhood Super Kmart for a thermos yielded this discovery: the new Matha Stewart/Everyday Furniture line! Cursed by being an early adopter, I was magnetized by a glass-doored bookcase and a store manager helped me load ‘er up in the back of my little Jeep. I unloaded it piece by piece (still in the back of the car because I couldn’t lift that heavy box by myself) and took it upstairs to my house (2.5 floors above street level).

Now even though I’m a veteran of a couple of IKEA romps, nothing prepares you for the sheer weight of your purchase. I learned early on that, like most things in life, small bites, one mouthful at a time, carefully chewed, was going to do the trick here as well.

VOILA! THAT is the essence of Chick Engineering…

Here is what I’ve found to be the second most important factor in building solo: a rug! You need something slippery that will let you move that heavy sucker wherever it’s going to finally land without tearing up your floor.

The base of the Bookcase was HEAVY and seemed to be solid wood. It’s on the rug, ready for its ride…

Now the FUN starts! MS’s instructions recommend “2 people for easier assembly and safety.” And, as always, SHE’s RIGHT! But Here I AM, a woman for the afternoon without a HandyMan! So how to carry on without HIM? Grab a couple of supports from elsewhere in your house, that’s how. Here you see enlisted for duty my weight-lifting bench and a dining room chair. The first side wall (made from what appears to be composite wood with a veneer) of the Bookcase is up, attached to the base with wood glue (included), dowels and a lock-down screw assembly. Damn Solid.

More Girl Engineering ensues as the Bookcase takes shape and its back support and another side piece are added. Not wanting to break the new bonds of the structure, I call other special tools into play.

Using a stack of books that is the EXACT HEIGHT needed, I support the cross bar of the bookcase. Here you see my other score of the weekend (from hitting an apartment sale down the street) – Starkey’s book on Elizabeth R; Nicole Mones – “Lost in Translation”; Stendahl – ” the Charterhouse of Parma”; Tracy Chevalier – “Falling Angels”; and that all time favorite – “the Oxford History of Medieval Europe”. $5.00 bucks for these reusable shims and more…

One must step back and be SUDDENLY Amazed at just how LARGE this thing is – 47″ wide and 16″ deep and 52″ high!

One hour and 15 minutes later, I’ve already started to fill the gap! The doors were the most impressive thing about this Bookcase – they are on wheels that fit into a track while snapping locks secure them to the top of the opening. Most difficult moment? Using 40 wood screws to attach the cheap (but well-stained) matching facing to the back of the piece. Why didn’t I cheat and only screw in, uh, maybe 20 screws?

Please, what would Martha do…

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