Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘marital strife

Flat Pack

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A marriage has to deal with many challenges.  Couples who live an expat life away from their support systems have larger difficulties to face.  And special needs parents?  I’m sure you’ve read the scary statistics by now.  These things, however, pale into comparison with the largest threat to my marriage: flat pack furniture.  All the problems converge in one messy Sunday afternoon.  And the worst of it is, it is usually my fault.  Just don’t tell the husband that.

I hate flat pack furniture.  Yet somehow, wherever in the world we live, I’ll suddenly find a need for, say, a desk.  The next thing I know, we’re flat packing.  In an ideal world, of course, we’d be buying expensive hand-crafted well-made furniture.  But here we are, lining the pockets of Swedish stockholders.  Somehow, I forget what a threat this stuff is, and I go ahead and purchase it.  If I thought about it, I’d recognize that the computer/TV/clothes can go on the floor, and that would be a whole lot easier.

So, yes, my fault.  We needed something to put the TV on.  While our house is furnished by the US Government (thank you, Uncle Sam) they didn’t provide something for the TV, and we didn’t bring one.  We found one we could afford, forgetting the fact that we pay the price in other ways.  After getting Cubby to take a nap, and providing a tactile activity to occupy Pudding, Spectrummy Daddy got to work…and there is our first problem.

Rambo with a drill.

You see, in our marriage, we don’t go it alone.  We share our problems or difficulties and find a way to work through them together.  But flat pack furniture comes into the house, and the husband goes all Rambo.  He makes it clear he is working alone.  Sigh.  I busy myself as I hear a fair amount of groaning and cursing.  At some point, he will go to get an electric drill, and this is when I transform into the unhelpful nagging wife.  There shouldn’t be any need for a drill, I think.  I’ll go and pester him to find out what is going on.

What the heck is this? And why is it left over?

I’ll find Rambo at the scene of a massacre.  There are dowels, screws, and those things that I don’t know the name of, but are the bane of my furniture fixing life.  Bits of wood everywhere.  At this point, Rambo has given up on the instructions.  He has given up on the suggested tools, and is looking for something like “wood nails” or “drill bits.”  Eek.  I decide he needs help.

Here is problem #2.  There is a decidedly male/female division as to the notion of helping.  For him, it would be bringing a cool beverage and keeping everyone (including me) far away.  Instead, I like to say things like, “This just doesn’t look right”  and, “You shouldn’t have done that.”  There will be more swearing.  I’ll go to the discarded instruction manual and try to make sense of it.  The problem is, I’m just not  a visual thinker.  In order to flog these things to as many gullible souls as the flat pack empire stretches, they use pictures instead of words.  Worse than that, they are 3D.  I don’t do dimensions.

Eventually, I’ll decide to just do whatever I’m told.  We’ll try to put a piece on, and it will jut out, or just not line up.  Rambo will kick at something, and I’ll be glad we don’t have a pet.  We’ll take the whole thing apart and start again.  One of us will question the decision to go through this again, and wonder whose fault it is this time.  I’ll keep quiet about the fact that it is my fault, even though we both know my silence speaks volumes.

Cubby wakes up from his nap.  Not content to just add his own whines and shrieks to the mix, he has to find the most annoying toy we own, and

caterpillar cacophany

bring it right there next to Rambo’s exploding head.  This time it was a game I call The Very Annoying Caterpillar.  I bought it because it game with tongs for practicing fine motor skills, but both kids just like to press the button to make the stupid thing dance to the most irritating carnival muzak, and place the little balls in every corner of every room in the house.  And outdoors too, for good measure.  If I attempt to turn the thing off, or take it away, he will add screaming to the cacophony.

I’ll go to make dinner, pretending not to notice the sigh of relief as I leave the room.  I must leave him with sound advice, however, because upon my return the construction is going much better.  Eventually the whole thing will be finished, and I’ll stifle the urge to ask about the leftover screws, preferring to let the worry of them fester in my too-full brain.  Rambo will leave, and a mild-mannered diplomat will take his place.  An unsupervised Pudding has made her way into the games cupboard, and emptied it off its contents.  Because it is all too fresh, I’ll think twice before voicing my desire to have a piece of furniture to store that stuff properly.

In the end, we have a new TV stand.  And a marriage still in tact.  Which is just as well, because I wouldn’t want any of this furniture in the divorce settlement.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm