Thursday, May 22, 2014

Zen and the Art of Assembly

Ikea and I have always had a love hate relationship, often I find myself elated with an new purchase only to be bordering fury a few hours later. I've always been fairly useless on the assembly side of things as the instructions and I often agree to disagree on direction of certain parts. When it comes down to it though you cant even tell the brown back of the black DVD case is the wrong way around when its filled with movies. Having my apartment I often encountered do it yourself assemblies and disassembles, too often in fact for my brief 1 1/2 years.  Beds with an impossible amount of potential for disaster were always well obliging on that end. I undoubtedly poured sweat, blood, tears (in that order) and was left surrounded in a minefield of cardboard, wood and screws; my little allen key faithfully deciding at the most inconvenient moment to hide itself underneath me, located only by standing and spinning 360 degrees multiple times. I have never built anything right the first time, not even when I was making two identical pieces. I am the queen of how not to create furniture an example to all, how its not done. 

Until today. 
Today I finally mastered Ikea and put together two table top covers for a set of drawer with ease and distinction. I was a handy woman worthy of my screwdriver and went in determined to get it right the first time, if mainly to avoid embarrassment from my host dad and his guest.

My day started much like any other day I woke up wondering despite having an alarm if I was late. A few minutes early as usual, I wished it was earlier so I could at least get a snooze in. I cut my losses and rolled off sloppily over the side of my bed bumbling over to my chair to grab my sweater (Winter in Aus but still not really cold) and shoved my iPod in my pocket to alienate the boredom of waiting for the kids. At some point between Cracked articles they walked down and the routine began, we ate breakfast got dressed and they ran wildly around which having consumed only 1 cup of coffee I had no time for. Off to school we went side stepping a bizarre amount of dog poo along the sidewalk. W walked into each other constantly in a drunken dance of tiredness. I hate mornings. Arriving back to the house I found a mountain of stuff forming outside, my host dad was cleaning out the front room. Since I had arrived the "music room" had been almost full up with boxes of stored curiosities, the Halloween decorations in particular gave it a bit of a spooky air as severed heads blocked out the natural light. A beautiful grand piano in the center began peaking out gloriously from behind the boxes and luxurious looking couch hidden under a pile of clothes began to take form next to the unnoticed and unused fire place. 

Its interesting how clutter can define the mood and psychology of a home. There is no feeling of openness in a place of clutter, whole rooms swallowed and unused their contents a foul deterrent that keeps you away except to add to it and run, fueling its mission to spread and consume. A mountain of stuff is an intimidating force and its not exactly a quick process to rid yourself of either. When faced with this type of challenge it seems that for a while you can only stare as if the trash will decide, "Your right I don't need to be here anymore thanks for letting me crash for a while, I'll just be on my way. Oh nice place you got here!"  No, we watch preaching the bible of procrastination for days, weeks, months and possibly even years. We stare and we wait for that magical moment we wake up one morning and yell "Fuck you garbage" race into the room going ape-shit crazy and throw it all out. Old Christmas wrapping paper? Gone! That foam hand from that game 5 years ago? Poof! Grandmas ashes? We'll keep that but the stuff blocking it on the mantle, HaHa toast! Unhappiness brews stronger within confined spaces and faster when the space grows tighter.

Seeing how that room was transforming inspired me to take to the kids toy room which I had once before unsuccessfully tried to organize. With the okay to throw things out it was now a possible task. They have more toys than any two kids I've ever seen, large piles lay in every corner. There were items that likely had not felt a child's touch since being bought and toys some unopened pouring from over filled drawers.  A child when faced with too many options and too much clutter will often do the same as an adult and stay far away sneaking in to grab a familiar item once and a while amongst the mass, whats the point of it all? Going through the tubs I found toys for infants and the most random crap. McDonalds needs to market happy meal toys as instant trash for the home or car, no unwrapping required but recommended for optimal mess. Fell free to contact me Maccas ill give you some commercial ideas based on reality. 3 hours passed like 5 and as I sat surrounded by the smallest and most troublesome little toys I had ever encountered, I hit the wall. The cleaning wall is a very very hard thing to get past, once you stop for too long reality falls away leaving you surrounded by darkness and garbage, time stops, you can see your breath and all gets cold there is only you and garbage in the world noting else exists, its a haunting feeling. You stare at the pile before you like an expansive mountain range needing crossing, the task becomes impossible. I took this moment as a time for a change, that change was to take to the neglected Ikea boxes in the corner and build myself a reason to need to clean again.

I unpacked the boxes attempting first and foremost not to scratch the floor which I have very good experience doing in my old apartment. I laid out the pieces and tools carefully and looked at the instructions. Philips head screwdriver, thank god, anything with the allen key meant certain suicide by blunt force trauma to the skull. I read the instruction manual always feeling initially like the apes from the beginning of 2001 Space Odyssey only, screwdriver instead of stick. I read it paying close attention as I never had before to the locations of all the little holes in the boards my main scourge. I was skeptical but with relative ease started created something resembling furniture! It turned out all the heartache and frustration of days past was seemingly over. I was a regular bob the fucking builder piecing the thing together bit by bit so quickly that to my surprise I found myself unpacking the second one despite not originally intending to do both. I placed the pieces in their final resting places half expecting something to go wrong but it was perfect, seeing such tidiness thanks to a job well done where there was once such disaster inspired me all over again. 

Cleaning as much as it sucks is so good for the mind. I personally believe to be surrounded by a mess is one thing that makes a home a home but when you allow that home to be swallowed you in turn alienate yourself from any connection to your space. By the way I am as many many people will confirm a very messy person and proud. However seeing the unhappiness cleared away by such a task is impressive, it may not solve the problems of the world and it may not heal any wounds but its certainly a good start to clearing the air. 
In all the room took about 8 hrs Ikea included.

Going to camp on an Island In Sydney Harbor this weekend pics ect to come. Vivd starts as well for the next 3 weeks.

Photos for your enjoyment, tonight's sunset.

not a bad view.... Autumn in Oz