Eva’s 7 steps for turning an IKEA picnic table into a dog house:
- Try to repress your laughter as you watch two humans slowly put together one table, two chairs, and two benches—at night—after they both worked a 10-hour day.
- Be consoling when this “We never yell at each other.” couple yells at each other when the tall human insists that the Allen wrench absolutely WILL work and the short human insists that it absolutely WILL NOT work, and they both think the other is NUTS for 5 minutes… until they finally figure out that they are holding two different size Allen wrenches and that they were both right, and both wrong. Heh, humans are adorable.
- Be extra consoling when they finally get the table frame together, and it looks solid and perfect and lovely, and they are so proud of themselves for 10 seconds, until they realize that the center beam and the wooden panels won’t actually fit in it as they built it. So, they are faced with the choice: redo the frame completely or live with a picnic table without a top, which kind of defeats the purpose of a table. Look extra concerned as they begrudgingly decide to take the table apart, and it goes slowly, because while there appear to be about 20 Allen wrenches for the chairs and benches, there is only one Allen wrench for the table.
- Hide your face under a sofa pillow to hid your snickering as you watch them try to figure out the tiny round cover for the hole in the middle of the table (where an umbrella could go if you lived in a place where sunshine is a problem, which we don’t). There is a piece of string that must be tied into a knot on one end, threaded through one (possibly two?) holes, and then knotted on the other end. Apparently somebody knew that this tiny cover would leap from the table and go wandering any chance it gets. This tiny last step is far more complicated than all the rest of the furniture building combined, and it eventually involves a long discussion about this task being Sweden’s revenge for literally every stupid thing that comes out of our country both now and in the past. Watch your humans fudge it–give up on the instructions entirely–and just decide to do whatever it takes to be done with this tiny complex “this should be dead simple, are we complete morons?” task when they’re exhausted.
- Bring them a stuffed dog toy (Eva’s maximum empathy move) when they realize that they accidentally bought an extra box of wooden panels for the table, not realizing there were two panels inside of one box. This means a 3-hour trip back to the store at some point, which here involves a ferry, a car, and a trek to and across a major city, which means an entire other day shot, and the money they saved on this table compared to the table at the store close to home just went up in a puff of smoke. Watch the humans come rapidly together to brainstorm things to do with the extra wooden panels to avoid making that extra trip back to the store–however, since they’re tired and cranky, the best they come up with is an unenthusiastic “his and her sleds” and “if we had more legs, we could make two side tables” and “we don’t really need those things.” A week later, the extra box still sits–in the way–in the studio. Both humans are refusing to look at it, let alone move it or make a decision about it.
- Watch with fascination for the next week, as the humans periodically flip and shift and flatten the tiny round umbrella-hole cover in the middle of the table. The table now lives between the house and the studio, so they pass the table a dozen times a day. The tiny hole cover seems to be alive, and refuses to stay flat, because despite the five advanced degrees that they hold between them, the humans never did understand what the instructions were saying about this tiny hole cover and tiny piece of string. And, because they’re humans (or, perhaps, American humans, who knows for sure?) they recycled the instructions days ago and apparently prefer to be bothered by an unruly jerk of a tiny hole cover ten times a day instead of simply contacting IKEA via the internet or phone call or text and asking for help. Wonder if you should tell them that they could just toss the tiny hole cover in the trash, because technically it’s not needed for anything at all.
- On the first truly warm spring day, walk under the table, lay down, and stretch out in its shade. Bam. New dog house for the whole summer! Tip: If you want to use the dog house in the winter, wait until your humans get a cover for it to make it waterproof.