You’re either Tom Sawyer or you’re not

I checked Goodwill regularly and for months, have scrolled through listings on a Facebook garage sale group, hoping to find a white IKEA desk because I am an optimist at the weirdest, most irrational times.  Finally, though, I gave up and drove 45 minutes to IKEA on Monday morning, followed the dotted line through the store until I found the boxes of furniture, purchased a white desk and manhandled it into my Toyota Corolla and drove home.

This particular desk required twenty-seven steps to assemble it and I am bragging when I tell you that I completed those twenty-seven steps in less than one hour.

I said to my daughter who was lounging on her IKEA bed (that I actually did purchase from the Facebook garage sale group a year or so ago), “Who is going to put together your IKEA furniture when I’m not around?”  She had demonstrated absolutely zero interest in helping or even glancing at the directions or touching a screwdriver.

She said, “My boyfriend.”  Gloria Steinem would be disappointed but what can you do?  Some people prefer to let other people assemble their IKEA furniture.  (My daughter imagines a future world in which she has a boyfriend who can assemble IKEA furniture, so, huh.  Time will tell, I guess.)

I told her that her dad would have just asked a friend to “help him” and then he would have taken that friend out to lunch as a gesture of thanks.

But I am handy.  I can follow directions, even when they are unaccompanied by any words.  I am methodical and this time, I did not even lose my mind and mutter any Christian curse words.  I am loathe to ask for help (especially when I have to pay!) and always ask myself those fateful words, “How hard can it be?”  (Answer:  Sometimes, very.  Occasionally, impossibly hard.)  This time, though, it was straightforward.

When my husband came in to admire my handiwork, he said, “Oh, I would have just had a friend help,” and I laughed because after all these years, I know him so well.  He is Tom Sawyer, persuading his friends to whitewash the fence.  He excels at this.

And I excel at assembling IKEA desks in twenty-seven easy steps.

We all have our talents.




3 thoughts on “You’re either Tom Sawyer or you’re not

  1. I love your post! I too peruse thrift stores & garage sales before making many of my purchases. I am frugal by necessity, but even if I was a millionairess, I would be frugal by choice. I love the thrill of the hunt! I am practical by nature, & I see no reason to waste hard-earned funds when if I am patient & diligent, I can find what I need. My hubby would build it by thinking it through (tossing instructions to a dark & dusty corner ) & most likely succeed. That is unless it is a Harbor Freight greenhouse with too many steps….with instructions written in Chin-english! He needed both life skills to success fully get THAT up!


  2. I use to put everything together … but now that i am old…i call on the kids or grand kids to help. i love shopping in thrift store, etc. in fact Saturday i will be with my oldest rummaging thru resale/junk stores!
    i love Ikea!


  3. When my oldest granddaughter was in town for a brief visit last week, I took her – and her mother – to a big thrift store I knew they both liked. Before we got into the store proper, we were taking a dress off a manican (how do you spell that word?), so my granddaughter could try it on. It was SO cute – and yes, it fit, and went home with her. Many other things also fit – she loves trying on clothes, so I sat by the dressing room and enjoyed seeing the joy on her face. When we left there, we had a back seat filled – none of it for me, but they each took home treasures. The hunt is fun.


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