I’ll Give You Made in China! (Inner Martha vs. Inner McGyver)

7 Aug

Apropos of nothing, I submit to you this story of triumph over adversity that is one of my favorite moments of the summer.

It was one of those brutally hot days in July when my son was at summer camp and I should have been at the beach with my friends, relaxing, except that I needed to put in two window air conditioners and since there was a gentleman painting the deck for my dad, I figured I should jump on the opportunity to get some assistance with the problem. (For all my dear friends who are wondering where this is going…control your excitement. It is NOT going THAT way).

My secret weapon

My secret weapon

So we got the window units secured in the window and since I finally had air conditioning, I decided to run out to Home Depot and get a small shelf unit for my son’s toys and finally sort out that awful corner of the room that was making me crazy.

So, I picked out a Martha Stewart nine section shelf, figuring, how hard can it be if it’s Martha? She wouldn’t risk alienating all her devoted fans with instructions that were impossible, would she?

And indeed, everything was progressing very well when I realized that the instructions had left out an important detail about which slabs were finished and which were not and I got caught putting the wrong piece in the wrong spot. So I had to take one shelf out after having hammered it in. That would have been okay, except that in removing the shelf, I broke off the little pegs holding them together. And there were no extra pegs., There were a lot of little white tabs that were meant to cover the screws, but didn’t, but no extra pegs.

S**t, s**t, s**t (and other expletives which don’t belong on a family blog, but which I took great pleasure in spitting out in the absence of the little man). I had a lot to say about Martha Stewart and her devotees, writers of shelving instructions, cheap s**t furniture, stupid Made in China crap…wait a minute…Made in China, Made in China….then I had a look at those pegs and I had my solution:

i bashed that bad boy into submission!

i bashed that bad boy into submission!


I went to the drawer where one keeps things like the rubber bands that hold together the supermarket broccoli stalks, the vegetable peelers — effective and ineffective — batteries that may or may not still have some juice, can openers, matchboxes…and leftover chopsticks from the Chinese takeaway.

All I had to do was snap off the chopsticks at approximately the right length, drip in a bit of wood glue and bang them home. The rest of the assembly went on without incident, the shelf unit looks terrific and I have been patting myself on the back and calling myself McGyver ever since.

Look at that!

Look at that!

By the way, I checked the box, and to be fair, the unit was Made in U.S.A., Canada, and Thailand. No China at all. Whatever. I WIN!!!!!

And no one is the wiser...except you!

And no one is the wiser…except you!


8 Responses to “I’ll Give You Made in China! (Inner Martha vs. Inner McGyver)”

  1. Mad Dog August 8, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Nice work Natalia – I know quite a lot of guys who are hopeless at DIY and you really put them to shame with your quick fix đŸ˜‰

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy August 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      Oh dear, probably why I haven’t found a second husband…

      • Mad Dog August 9, 2013 at 6:40 am #

        I’ve got at least two friends who are hopeless, but they love the fact that their girlfriends can fix things and put up shelves đŸ˜‰

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy August 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

        I’ll bet they do…..

  2. Karen August 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Oh you are such a clever girl…terrific job!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy August 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Thanks so much Karen….it was a bit dicey for a while there..as if my entire self-worth depended on completing this thing…

  3. cecilia August 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    How deeply satisfying.. there is nothing like solving problems with a HAMMER!! Love the use of the chopstick. clever.. c

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy August 7, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

      Thank you Cecilia! Reminder to you when you decide to eat only from the farm…stock up on chopsticks from the Chinese takeaway!

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