Some Assembly Required


A sure sign of success of a divorced woman: Assembling not one, but TWO shelving systems. In under an hour. All by myself. Without breaking any pieces. And not one, but BOTH of them are assembled CORRECTLY. And not to brag or anything, but both kids were running around like crack addicts in withdrawal all the while. And I didn’t even lose a screw. Or my mind. Ha! Really, who needs a husband around anyway when I can follow diagrams??

The first year post-divorce was arguably one of the worst years of my life for many reasons. Surviving it was truly empowering. I learned to do many things I didn’t ever want to do (like replacing a toilet), and things that never occurred to me to do (like making sure the sump pump really works). I learned what to do with shrubbery, mulch, and grass; propane tanks, hacksaws, and wildlife in the house. I laid down insulation in my attic with my own hands (gloved hands–lesson learned). I took down trees and power washed everything in sight. I stained my deck, fenced off a vegetable garden (never mind that nothing grew but weeds), climbed onto my roof and cleaned out gutters–and didn’t fall off.

I did all these things and more, including making sure both my children are still alive and well. But something about today’s shelving assembly felt so satisfying. I have put together a lot of Ikea furniture in my life, but none of them well–hello, Billy Bookcase. I ruined a lot of Billy’s (and I’m proud to say I never even dated a Billy). The kids’ craft table and chairs…well, let’s just say that I blame the kids for a lot of things–misshapen cut-out cookies, messy homes and uneven, warped furniture pieces, among other things. The craft table and chairs: if anyone asks, totally all their fault.

But I didn’t need to blame anyone today. I did it. “All by myself!” as my daughter loves to say with pride. And I was so proud. I guess there really is never anyone to blame after all. I’ve learned to rely on myself, and upon doing so, taken responsibility for myself and all my actions and decisions. It’s always been about me–somehow, whenever anything good or bad occurs in my life, I happen to be right there! Successes and failures–all mine. I can take pride in my accomplishments, and be kind and forgiving to myself with my failures. I can learn from both.

But take heed–When you come over, I wouldn’t advise sitting on the Adirondack chairs in the backyard. Just sayin’.

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4 Responses to Some Assembly Required

  1. What a great sense of accomplishment! Sometimes I think IKEA is completely funded by college students and the recently divorced:)


  2. L. Palmer says:

    The journey of being an Independent Woman is always exciting. I had an epic adventure trying to put together bookshelves from Target without a partner… this did not go well, but, luckily, my sister was able to come and help.


    • Exciting indeed!! Glad your sister was able to help. It is remarkable how many things require an extra set of hands!! One year I had to assemble a mini-trampoline Santa brought for the kids. I am lucky I didn’t lose an eye!!


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