Follow These Instructions to Insanity

Hello again from mountain Mecca & hippy heaven!

It occurred to me the other day that I’m beginning to sound like a bit of a Wendy Whiner these days (no offense Tweeter, just an expression). My Chronicles seem to be a showcase for my many complaints. Maybe some of you are growing weary of my cynicism and negativity? Well if you are, this next bit is for you…

Fluffy puppies playing in the tall grass. Grandparents hugging their grandkids. Balloons. Puffy white clouds that look like cotton balls! Chocolate ice cream – with sprinkles!! A big warm towel after a hot bath. Campfires and marshmallows – roasted of course!!! Aren’t these things great? Don’t you love them?? I sure do!

OK, if that last little bit made you smile and you want to keep smiling then stop reading now. No, I’m not kidding. Get going; I’m sure you have pies to bake or something. Shoo. See you next week. Love ya. Buh bye.

Are they gone yet?


Whew! Don’t they just drive you batty with all that happiness crap? OK, let’s get down to business…

You know that I am not one to advocate violence but I’m going to make an exception. It is now my sworn mission to hunt down and kill the people who write instruction manuals. No, not just kill, torture and then kill. Yes, you heard me – TORTURE! I will make all of these literary sadists follow their own instructions to put together whatever it is the company has had them write about. Oh they will beg, they will plead, I expect tears, but no mercy will be shown. I will stand, gun or more likely blunt object in hand, gloating, until every last “part 26B” is in place. If there are any left over pieces I will make them take their widget completely apart and start again. Ha!

I have dreams of some Swedish guy groveling at my feet with his misshapen “Byoek” shelving unit in the background. “Get on yer feet blondie!” I’ll growl. “Does that look like the one in the catalogue? Does it, ya no good herring eater?!!” I’ll say as I point (angrily yet smugly) at his creation.

Prez and I started our first job here in Nelson and it’s a biggie. As part of this job we have the great pleasure of installing laminate flooring for the first time ever. German laminate flooring. Oh, and the instructions are translated from German. Because they’re never hard enough to understand in English, you know.

Here is an actual excerpt (the spelling mistakes are not mine) from the actual instruction sheet (printed without permission from the author and I don’t give a $#@&!):

Begin installation the first row of boards from on corner of the room…”

It gets worse from there. Apparently the boards are supposed to easily fit into place, making a ‘click’ as they do. Uh huh, right. Thus far we have heard only one click and the “tapping block” we use to gently tap the boards together should, more accurately be called a “smashing block”. Prez did a funky kind of jumping dance to get some of the boards to fit together properly. He also used some language that is best not repeated in this forum. And one of us, I won’t say who, threw one of the boards across the room (it wasn’t me though).

What is it with these people? Do the manufacturers of laminate flooring (German or otherwise) or sectional furniture or whatever, recruit for instruction manual writers in crack houses and ESL schools? “Have trouble with the English language? Have difficulty being understood by the average person? Have we got the job for you!

Ikea’s solution to this problem is to cut out the language part altogether. Instead, consumers must refer to a set of Swedish hieroglyphics to put together their 156 piece armoire. Keep your Rosetta stone handy folks – you’ll need it to smash that lopsided bit of wood-like chip board to bits at about hour fourteen of the building process.

Prez and I nearly divorced mid-way through a Jysk wardrobe that we were putting together for a client. You see, that’s what smart people do, they hire other crazy people to put this stuff together. I bet Bill Gates has an entire fleet of Ikea-Putter-Togetherers on staff. I bet they make more than the guys who design the software. (The software designers are all blood relatives of the instruction manual writers by the way).

Oh well, my laminate life is not all bad. Coffee breaks, for example, are as cool as they come here. We already have a favorite coffee shop – Oso Negro. Drinking coffee there is like going to the art gallery. OK, I don’t drink coffee (great smell, lousy taste) but the soy hot chocolate is bitchin’! The names of the daily blends alone are worth the trip inside. Yesterday Prez had a cup of “Rats in the Basement” and the day before he sipped on “Sleepy Donkey”. When installing laminate flooring, coffee breaks at Oso Negro are the only thing that stands between you and the sport coat with the sleeves that tie in the back.

Oh yes, and the coffee shop conversation is another highlight. Today I overheard this little gem between a group of three 4 year olds:

4 Year Old #1: “I’d poo on someone’s nose.” 

4 Year Old #2: “Oh ya, I’d poo on a pizza!”

 4 Year Old #3: “Well…I’d…I’d pee up someone’s nose!”

All I have to say is from now on I’m keeping my nose, and my pizza, far away from anyone under the age of five! These kids have got to stop watching Fear Factor.

Here’s a hot stock tip: invest in coffee shops. Why? Well let’s see, there is an entire generation being raised to expect to pay four bucks for a cup of coffee!

But I digress…

Instruction manuals. Here’s a little instruction manual I’ve written. It’s universal. It can be used for anything:

"Hi there! Thank you for purchasing a (insert product name here). You’ve just paid a lot of money for something that is going to have you leaping out the third floor window sometime today.

 Step One: Go mix yourself a stiff drink. I prefer gin on the rocks but pick your favorite.

 Step Two: Call the spa, book a massage, you’ll need it.

 Step Three: Go for it.

 You didn’t actually expect me to waste my valuable time figuring out how to put this piece of shite together did you?

 Step Four: Have another drink. Make it a double.

 Step Five: Disassemble that abomination. Have you no pride?

 Step Six: Repeat after me – I’m in my happy place. I’m in my happy place…

 Step Seven: Take the handful of leftover parts you have and throw them down your toilet.

 Step Eight: Call a plumber.

 Step Nine: One more drink won’t hurt.

 Step Ten: Look in the classifieds for a handyman and pay whatever he/she asks to fix your mess.

 Step Eleven: Go to Oso Negro for a coffee.

 Step Eleven(A): Keep your eyes peeled for 4 year olds and keep your pizza covered at all times!


Question: Do Swedish people shop at Ikea or do they all just have a big laugh at us because we do?

Until next week, I hope this finds you all healthy, happy & lovin’ life!

The Princess.


This entry was posted in Life at Work. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Follow These Instructions to Insanity

  1. My Stereo Magnet Girl says:

    what a refreshing read, thx! (great website links too)

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