it’s called a spring washer for a reason

This post is mostly about furniture assembly gone awry. But also other things, because life is weird right now. I’m writing this around 9:30 on Wednesday night. Trump just addressed America about the 30-day Europe to U.S. travel ban and we’ve just learned that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are in Australia with the not-so-charming coronavirus. I start feeling numb and wtf-y because these have always appeared to be two of the kindest souls, not only as Hollywood celebs, but also in the world of human beings and married people in general. And celebrities are magical unicorns who are immune to such things. If they can get it, then that means this really is the becoming the opening scene of the 2002 movie 28 Days Later. OK, and this is where I reel my overactive imagination in, write what I know, and provide at least 120 seconds of distraction from toilet paper shortages and $500 hand sanitizer scandals.

I try to distract myself by thinking of something ridiculous that I’ve done lately. It’s not hard to find such a thing because I do at least one daily. A new desk has been sitting in a box shoved in my office / second bedroom / storage closet / hoarder’s paradise since it was delivered around December 1, 2019. One recent weekend day, I decided it was time to put my big girl pants on and put this thing together. I opened the box and sorted all the parts and pieces on the floor.

As I was sitting in the pile of stuff on the floor that night, I remember thinking what a blog about this experience would sound like. I was originally thinking that it could be about the things we constantly think about for months, but never do. And then when we do them, it takes five or ten minutes to do. Twenty at most.

Well, my friends, this did not take twenty minutes. It might have taken thirty if I weren’t so generally dramatic about everything and didn’t need to take breaks every five minutes to get up, walk around, do laundry, have snacks, text people, pour a delicious stout beverage and other distractions from the dullness of furniture assembly. Maybe a couple hours after all the pacing and shenanigans were said and done.

Oh and there was the other little detail of the spring washer. About halfway through the assembly, I sorted through the remaining hardware and spotted a bunch of washers that were clearly damaged (my expert handyman opinion) or just downright cheap. I was in full on beast-mode at that point and not thinking logically. I was just MAKING THINGS HAPPEN with this table as fast as humanly possible. So I saw these washers and I was like why the %#&$ did they give me these broken washers!? The ends aren’t even connected!! *#^@ing Target!

I grabbed my pliers from a toolkit and started going into each and every washer trying to make the ends meet up. Damn it, this is hard! I put all my power into getting the ends to meet on the same level so I didn’t have to call Target and order new parts. Again, super dramatic on the floor. Like, not even sane at this point.

After smashing about six of the eight washers aggressively with the pliers, it dawned on me to look at the directions again and see if there was a reason these washers were shaped like mistakes. Spring Washers. Hmmmm. OK yea it’s like that in the photo. FACEPALM.  

I googled Spring Washers on my phone and the internet told me:
Spring washers, sometimes called disc springs, are a subtype of washers. They lend their mechanical capabilities to the unique profile of the material: when subject to a load, the irregularities of the washer compress with a proportionate resistance to return to their predeflected shape.

OH. COOL. Glad I just spent ten minutes mashing these washers together and crushing my hand in the process to completely remove the intended function from them. Luckily, my hand is not that powerful and I really didn’t flatten them that much.

And look. The desk is lovely! And remarkably stable. Ok well there is a chip in it above the right drawer but it came out of the box like that and I’ll fix it. It’s totally out of stock online and it comes from China (sigh). So, I’m glad I locked this one down (at a crazy good deal, to boot) in November.

What’s the moral of this story? Try not to go into beast mode when assembling furniture? Google hardware names before you start assembling things? Buy assembled furniture? Read directions? Trust the process? … Don’t get ahead of yourself? Or as Tom Hanks said in his Twitter announcement tonight: “Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?.

One washer at a time. One day at a time. We are all in this weird thing together so share your toilet paper and food (and wine) and nice messages and thoughts and phone calls and compassion with your friends, family, and neighbors. Things like this tend to evoke a range of different human emotions with people – especially a lot of anxiety in a world that is exploding with anxiety already. Large campuses are shutting down. My current workplace hasn’t addressed any type of work from home policy, but my commute will certainly be a dream. Starting on Thursday morning, Capital One employees work from home indefinitely. According to the internet, that is about 11,000 people here in Richmond, VA. That is the source of my morning and evening traffic, so a silver lining ya know?

I’m not sure how I feel right now. I tend to be a delayed emotional reactor. All I know for sure right now is I did an amazing job with my pile of hardware (ok … and that I need to go to the grocery store in a major way – not for the apocalypse but just for some spinach. This girl needs her smoothies.) and now I have a super zen space. This is my new blog reporting desk. A happy place. Spring washers and all.



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