Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 09.20.02
Quebec City


Nothing to it. Piece of cake. Right.

I've always considered myself pretty handy around the house. I wasn't always that way. It was a learning process like anything else.

But I know which end of the hammer to hold.

I can tell the difference between a Phillips screw driver and a star-headed one, and in a pinch I can put in a light fixture without lighting myself up in the process.

So I figured, how difficult could it be to buy one of those wall units for a TV and CD set and put it together myself?

It looked pretty straight forward in the store and the salesman assured me he had one just like it and all I'd need was a screw driver.

My first hint that there could be trouble came the day it was delivered.

It took two men to carry in each of two cardboard containers.

My suggestion that maybe they had inadvertently delivered two of the units I'd ordered instead of one was met with the kind of response usually reserved for the feature act at the Just for Laughs Festival.

After they'd gone merrily on their way I opened the first box.

The instructions said I'd need a space on the floor equal to the size of the unit.

It also said to lay out all the parts on the floor and check them off the handy list provided to ensure they were all there.

This, of course, increased the size of the space required to about a quarter acre.

Anyway, with the added use of the dinning room floor and part of the kitchen I got everything laid out.

I also found that although there was the requisite number of pieces, there were two bearing no label whatsoever.

I put them aside.

The next step was to attach the base (a) and the top (b) to the uprights (c).

Unfortunately there were four uprights all labeled (c). Two of which had sixteen little drilled holes and two of which had eight little drilled holes.

The diagram of uprights (c), of course, didn't indicate any little drilled holes at all.

But I didn't earn a couple of degrees along the way for nothing. I soon realized that the outside uprights had more holes than the inside uprights since they would eventually have more shelves.

When it came to attaching the upper molding (d) I was stumped.

I checked each piece over and could find no (d). There were however, as I mentioned earlier, the two unlabelled pieces, one of which bore a vague resemblance to the drawing of the molding.

Good enough.

You may remember the salesman had told me I would need only a screwdriver. What he didn't tell me is that I would also need a third arm.

Step Four illustrates.

"Holding upright (c) place shelf (g) firmly against the interior of the upright. Using screw (h) attach the shelf."

Now, if I'm holding upright (c) in one hand and pressing shelf (g) against the upright with the other, which hand is supposed to wield the screw (h) and screw driver?

I was tempted to send the company in question a rewritten version of the instructions which would run a little more along the line "pressing upright (c) against shelf (g) with your knee (f) and holding the shelf firm with your elbow (q) spit the screw (h) out of your mouth (y) and fumble until you get it into the proper hole."

To make a long story short, four hours later the job was done. It looked just like the picture.

I had a perfectly wonderful TV-CD wall unit.

Of course it was lying on the floor.

And remember, it had taken two delivery men two trips to get it that far.

But it's up now --- and that's another story entirely.