June 29, 2007

Swing Into Action ...

According to Bible, God built the entire universe in less than seven days. By my count, five of them were spent assembling a baby swing.

The Graco® Lovin Hug Swing (Bermuda style) is cute, convenient and easy-to-carry—and was obviously designed by a woman who hated her husband. It comes in 4,000 pieces, most of which aren't pictured in the instruction manual. The booklet is the size of War and Peace and written in four different languages, not one of them being English. And, while there isn't a warning against it, I'm going to give you some very sound advice: Don't sit on the floor without looking first. Trust me, it can be very, very painful.

After several hours of studying the directions, I was finally able to complete step one. I opened the box. Laugh all you want, but that sucker had nearly 18 layers of tape keeping it shut. My wife suggested cutting through it with a knife, but after the CD Rack Assembly Incident of '01 that cost me close to a pint of blood, I think it'd be safer to burn the tape off with a lighter.

(Note: A little advice for future dads out there—don't throw the box away. You'll need something to punch much later in the process, and I found that cardboard is fairly soft on the fist.)

The next step is to pull the seat cover over this intricate web of metal rods and snap it into place. Simple enough, right? I'd like to see you delicately pull a banana peel over, say, the Batmobile, and seal it shut. And do it without Batman kicking your ass.

So, the next 45 minutes went something like this:




Knock over beer.

Curse again.


Stub toe on chair.

Curse some more.

Apologize to Steven, my 50-inch HDTV, for cursing—some of which, I promise you, were used in context.

Snap pieces into place, chug beer, throw chair out window.

Moments later, I began work on assembling the legs. This part was not nearly as easy as the seat cover. It came with four long curved polls, two straight rods, some brackety-things, a pile of screws and an Allen wrench. It also came with a bottle of Advil. After several hours of attaching, detaching, reattaching, kicking and smashing against the hardwood floor, Brittany came over to calm me down. I think it worked:

"Take a deep breath," she said.

You suck!

"See, it's simple. All you have to do is stick piece A into slot B."

I'll tell you where you can stick piece A …

"And voilĂ ! The leg is together."

I hope you stub your toe.

I'd like to say that I was able to finish the project that night. I'd also like to say that Brittany let me find out the gender of the baby, but alas, neither of these was true. I did eventually get the swing together, and only had four pieces leftover. Not bad, by Klems' standards.

After conquering the swing, I finally had a chance to sit down and enjoy the moment. I was proud of myself. I usually leave projects unfinished, but I stuck by this one because I'll do anything for my child-to-be. It even brought a tear to my eye—not for sentimental reasons, but because Brittany handed me a box:

"Now put this bouncy seat together."


Tom said...

Just wait...it gets better. Like the slip in slide with inflatable slide that takes two hours to inflate with an air compressor!

Or a bike, now that was really fun!

ShannanB said...

I'll add to that. We've struggled to put together desks, bikes, picnic tables - all decievingly difficult I might add, but I must warn you. The most difficult thing of all? Freeing the toys you recieve from the packaging they come in! I don't know why, but they lock those toys in with wire twist ties like they are made of solid gold. Just wait!