Life with a set of Vietnamese Instructions

I dragged my kids to the house on Vashon yesterday to take advantage of the nice weather and to put together some Adirondack chairs. I knew it would be a challenge, so I was ready. A friend wisely told me to bring a power drill and THANK GOD I did because as it turned out, Carter and I put the first chair together once, realized we had put it together backwards, and so had to take the whole thing apart and do it again. Those non-verbal Vietnamese instructions turned out to be woefully inadequate. Toward the end of that process I became aware that some of the holes allowed for the screws to be recessed and so another round of undoing ensued as we flipped various pieces around so that the screw heads wouldn’t stick out and scrape our legs as we sat down in shorts. Then we got to the very last step where you screw the back to the frame and the whole thing was out by half an inch!
As a result, the back of the chair is not attached to the base.
And so we built the second one, thinking it was just a flaw with the first. it went a little faster this time, but we had the same result. I am sure I have done something wrong, but I went over and over the instructions and studied the chair closely and cannot for the life of me figure out what it could be. The only thing I can think of to do now is either somehow load two assembled chairs into my little Prius and bring them back to the store


figure out a way of making little shims to make up the gap.

Doesn’t it seem that life is often like this?

There was one really cool thing that came out of the whole exercise which is that I learned that Carter is pretty killer with a power drill and very patient with an increasingly grouchy mama. I guess that’s the life of a kid of a single mom…

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  1. anniegirl1138 May 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    A handy son, or daughter, is worth his/her weight in gold.

  2. Mark May 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Always fun putting things together! Sounds like it was a good time for you and your son.

  3. Abigail May 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    And isn’t it the truth! It amazing what you can learn about your kids if you can just sit back and let them try things for myself. Funny how as parents we often forget that.

    Mark, thanks for posting your comment. I have been slowly reading through your blog. So inspiring and thought provoking. Loving it!

  4. Anonymous May 25, 2009 at 6:53 pm


    Remember the Adirondack chair you bought at Canadian Tire for the deck at the cottage? You were irritated because it came in a BOX. We (you) tried to assemble it and came close, but not perfect.

    Now, 2009, bring on a slightly older Carter. He will be hardwired to know how to do these things. Isn’t it amazing? It seems to be in the DNA. You can now relax.

    PS. We love the chair because of you and all, but it is lethal to try and fold it either open or closed.

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