Thursday, December 10, 2009

deconstructing la mesa de computadora

I admire people who can do things with their hands.

They are all over the Mexico blogs. You cannot read very long before running across this crafty lot.

Calypso with his tools and construction projects. Theresa and Nancy with their knitting and sewing skills. Even Felipe with his grassy dreams.

Not me. When I see the initials "DIY" on any box, I know it is not for me. It is not coincidental that the term should be pronounced: "DIE."

And I come by it honestly. My father was great at many things. Fixing things was not one of them.

Over the years, I have proven this defect in my skills. I have a list of disasters that would make Warren Harding look like a piker.

With that load of neuroses in my backpack, I wandered off to Manzanillo to buy a computer table for the new house.

It seemed to be a simple task, but nothing was offered assembled. Everything came in a box. From China.

I finally chose a nice wood and glass combination that would fit perfectly in the guest bedroom. About $200 (US). But it looked nice on the box. The fact that the floor model was falling apart should have been some sort of warning.

The home owner allowed me to start putting the table together this week.

I looked at the instructions. I knew my Spanish would not be up to the task. But the Chinese manufacturer must not have had Spanish skills, either, because the instructions were in picture form. Great, thought I. Forgetting that lots of Mayan hieroglyphics have yet to be translated.

Another pleasant surprise, the entire table could be assembled using a little allen wrench. And it was enclosed with the hardware. How cool is that?

Within ten minutes I had the full frame put together. With everything as pictured. I was impressed. My confidence was building.

Then I noticed, there were no holes drilled for the wheels. And no screws. No problema. I could borrow a power drill and screws are sold everywhere. Hurdle crossed. Angst stuffed back into the backpack.

I knew the next step would be a little more difficult. The surface for my laptop was a large slab of glass supported on two metal columns. Snazzy look. I put the glass where I could reach it to balance it on the columns.

I know what you are thinking. But just wait. Show some respect for the master builder.

OK. Now you can start doubting.

I am still not certain what happened next. I must have budged the glass with my foot. I know it did not fall over. Instead, it simply exploded into thousands of shards. Almost as if a sniper had barely missed turning my head into an exploding melon.

I was left was a nifty little building project that has ended similar to all of my past construction projects. I have a great topless table.

The clever ones amongst you will have a lot of suggestions on how to salvage this. For now, I am simply going to use the kitchen table.

Next time, I will simply take a ball peen hammer and break the glass before I start another project.

May as well jump to the chase.


Rick said...

Oh s*****! Too funny.

Don't try to replace it with another locally made piece of glass since it needs to be tempered. Get a local carpenter to make a nice wooden (unbreakable) top for the table. He can stain and finish it to match.

That's what I wood do - Rick

Tancho said...

Tempered glass is made especially so that anytime you stress the glass in any way it will break into tiny little cubes. This way you will not have a 7 inch spike driven into parts of your body that may be sensitive to such penetrations.
I would almost bet you, you notice I said almost, that the legs have some other devices on which the wheels would get fastened to. Usually there are plastic molded cups that would serve as a end cap and wheel trim. They probably got stolen out of your box for a purchaser of a desk prior to yours that returned for them....
If you like the desk, just go to a class shop and order a new glass top. Glass is cheap in Mexico you would probably want a 1/2 inch at least. The can even drill the holes in it for you if you provide a template.
Stuff happens all the time like that, chalk it up as a DIY learning experience. Could be worse, could have hurt yourself...

Felipe said...

Next time you have something physical that needs to be done, ask the waiter in the nearest restaurant if he knows somebody. He will. Piece of cake. And cheap.

Islagringo said...

I don't know whether to laugh or give you a hug! I bought my weight bench/excercise station/clothes hanger system here. It came with 27 pages of stick drawings on how to put it together! Not fun but I did it.

Anonymous said...

at least you didn't cut yourself-hopefully not, anyway. you make me feel like i am in good company. i know women who are so good at arts and crafts, sewing, knitting, all kinds of activites and i wonder why i've never been good at those things or playing an instrument. it's not for lack of trying, but i've come to accept it. i am better at things that are physically active than making things with my hands. both my boys are very artistic, they sure didn't get that talent from me.

i've told you this several times, i love the way you write-very entertaining.

have a great one.

Leah Flinn said...

Haha! I am laughing because I terrible time assembling my chinese-imported computer desk. The glass did not break, but it took several hours to complete, with much frustration. I hear ya on just using a simple table.

Irene said...

Ouch! It does look good on the box. I think kitchen tables are highly under-rated as computer tables. Just don't get any mole sauce on your keyboard. Better luck next time.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry your project turned into a disaster. The picture promised a sleek desk, but lurking in the shadows was destruction.


Laurie said...

Buy the glass. Cheap and quick solution. I am the daughter of a mechanic, and I come by my DIY skills naturally. But I hate Chinese parts-in-the-box furniture kits. I can do a variety of things that single women aren't supposed to do including computer repairs. Someone else already said it best: ask and ye shall receive. Someone local will fit the bill next time.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

Wow, prices are up. Bought the exact same desk a year ago for my wife and it cost half as much.

Go with the wood replacement. Cheap and secure. She puts her laptop on the keyboard tray and it's plenty secure.


p.s. It was a son of a gun to put together. Never was able to get the little sticky labels off the parts.

Anonymous said...

Steve, if you do get a wood replacement (for your head?), forget about wheels.

Even if by some miracle you managed to get them on, their being there would only create the material for a blog on how you had a traffic accident while on your computer.

A. N. Moose

Joe S. said...

I suggest that this was your first encounter with the poltergist at your new place, or are they strictly NOTB?

Dan in NC said...

I only have two words for you - "Superglue" and "Patience"
Dan in NC

Darrel said...

You paint a vivid picture of yourself jumping up and down and dancing around your now topless table. Wouldn’t that be a “Topless Table Dance”. Unfortunately I now have a mental image that I can’t get rid of and is isn’t pretty.

Steve Cotton said...

Rick -- I will show some wisdom. Whatever the solution, I am turning it over to a local.

Tancho -- True. With all of the pieces, I could easily have cut myself. I was simply wearing sandals. Well, and the usual other clothes.

Felipe -- I thought of the "ask a neighbor" option. But I wanted to do somehing useful. Besides, it did make a better blog story.

Islagringo -- I obviously struck out earlier -- in so many ways.

Teresa -- Thank you very much. And I like the way you read.

eah -- I should have known better when I saw the desk. It looked nice. But it looked complicated. It was. Back to basics for me.

Irene -- Who knows what will next befall my poor computer.

Mom -- But our family has seen these before.

Laurie -- I will turn the remnants over to a local expert. Maybe another story?

Larry -- I think I started this project with way TOO much confidence.

ANM -- Sounds like a KEWL sequel.

Joe -- I believe ghosts are international. Sounds like a good theory to me. Gets me out of the picture.

Dan -- I thought I had the second. Never thought of the first.

Darrel -- Vivid word pictures are the tools of my trade. The next time I call you my "best friend," I will remember this item you have stuck in our heads.

Jackie said...

Oops. Yes forget the glass and wheels. A stationary table is so much better than a moving target when trying to type.

Anonymous said...

Things with glass bits are definitely "advanced assembly." And I'd second the comment about not buying a replacement. Any replacement you buy will almost certainly not be tempered, and could be quite dangerous if you fell on it, or had some other accident. As noted above, tempered glass is designed to do exactly what your tabletop did, and that's why it's safer.

Of course as a former workman's comp attorney, I guess you already know that.


Kim G
Boston, MA

1st Mate said...

A wooden top wouldn't be as snazzy, but you won't have to worry about it either.

One thing I like about buying furniture at tianguis is that it's already assembled. And broken in. I have only to enlist a couple of jovenes fuertes to help me load it into my minivan. I get home, enlist a couple of gardeners (we're swarming with gardeners here) to help me get it inside.

Don Cuevas said...

Steve, don't feel bad. I'm so DIY inept, we had to have our former American neighbor here drill holes in the concrete wal to hang pictures.

And if some of you may recall, another American friend assembled the Kingsford barrel grill.

For my computer table, I use one of the smaller Lifetime brand polycarbonate (?) folding tables that you can get at Sam's Club or Costco. Only problem, they are not so cheap in Mexico. We saw one on Thursday at Costco for $740 MXN.

For shelves, I have some very inexpensive wooden floor units purchased at moving sales.

Don Cuevas

Calypso said...

Amigo - were it that you and I lived closer in our adopted country...I would help and save your glass.