The Putting Together A Bookcase Nightmare

Yesterday it was so hot I had to water my containers three times. I would look out and see plants withering in the heat.

I thought getting most of my plants off the concrete onto plant caddies would help with that. But the problem is, we went from cool to suddenly very hot. Yesterday it was between 90-100 degrees from morning to mid-afternoon.

Here are my little cherry tomatoes beginning to turn. It’s hard to take a photo of them in the midst of all the leaves.

I started putting together a bookcase I ordered yesterday afternoon. Not a bit of it was already put together to give me a head start so it was kind of a nightmare.

I have a hard time with directions. I’m always getting things backward. My back was hurting when I got down and sat on a pillow to work on it. What ensued was three hours of painstakingly screwing in all those screws only to realize I had things backward and had to take it apart again.

I bet I read those instructions 50 times. I see it one way and it actually goes another.

Finally I knew my back could not take much more and called my daughter to see if 16 year old Riley might come help me.

It said on the box that it would take two people to put it together, but I thought putting a wedge on one side would be like another person holding it. Of course I was wrong.

I was at the end pretty much. But that entailed having someone stabilize one side while the last part was tightened.

I had taken it apart several times so the manufactured wood was coming apart where the screw holes were, but I was determined to work around that.

When did they come up with “manufactured” wood? Just say fake wood, advertisers. It isn’t at all wood. It is a jumble of a mess. And it falls apart easily.

So Riley gets here and we finally get the thing together and at least someone was here to help me turn the whole unstable bookcase over in order to put the cardboard backing on it. I think if I’d tried to flip it over by myself it would have fallen apart.

At that point I’m barely able to move so Riley attached the backing and we stood it against the wall, holding our breath for fear the whole thing would crumble before our very eyes.

He’s a bottomless pit of a hungry teenage boy, so he drove us to pick up takeout for supper. And I told him to stop at the gas station and at least let me fill up his car.

His mother had spent hours in a car waiting on one of her chihuahuas to get her shots earlier in the afternoon, as they won’t let you inside. She was very nervous because Lulu last time had a very bad reaction to the vaccinations.

So they apparently gave her something and waited thirty minutes before they gave her just one vaccination. Whatever they gave her first, hoping it would keep her from having a reaction, did not work.

Kendra gets her home and goes outside for about thirty minutes, comes back inside and sees Lulu in trouble again.

So she rushes Lulu to their vet to wait in the car all over again. Remember she just had surgery herself less than two weeks ago. But you know how important our pets are to us.

She calls me and says if Riley is finished eating please tell him to go home and be with Thor, the other chihuahua, because he has major separation anxiety with Lulu gone.

I was glad I’d at least fed Riley so she would have one less thing to worry about.

I was like a robot walking by then, my back seizing up with every step I took. Every single night I spend hours applying ice and then heat to my neck down to the lowest part of my back. Then I apply ice to my ankle and wrists.

I decided last night the whole thing would be much easier if I ordered more than one ice pack. I like the ones with Velcro that you can wrap around and keep in place. I guess today I’ll order another ice pack.

Well I have to get Charlie to his acupuncture appointment. The vet said she might have to do a laser treatment like she did two weeks ago, which is $75 a pop. And then you add about $70 for the acupuncture.

But I know it helps Charlie and I’m willing to not spend my money some place else in order to make him feel less pain.


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  1. I know it’s to late now since you have already planted everything. You might want to try this little method I use in my pots. Besides the gravel I put sand and a couple of layers of newspaper in the bottom of my pots. They both help to retain moisture. I started doing this with the pots of flowers I take to the cemetery on Memorial day. It makes a difference and it doesn’t hinder the plant in any way.

  2. Well it seems I have stumbled into just the right safe space that’s just like me. I was looking at pins to comfort me in my loss of two Shi tsus Just within two weeks of each other, one my husbands constant companion, the other mine, a bit of a road trip sister. We loved our girl outings. These losses have been devastating to us on top of the chaos of the present days. My husband privileged to early retirement and was hoping it would be joyful. We are in mourning. The only way I seemed to cope was to create a container garden, so I spent a chunk of money and planted my heart out. I am finding your blog on gardening definitely delightful that I’m doing right in my mourning process. Early 530 mornings watering and tending to tomatoes and herbs and melons does seem to help. This weekend is flowers. Your bling is delightful and a possible affirmation From my desire to start one myself. I’m missing my Zoey much and though he baby boy needs so much love and attention, I can’t help but miss her special zest for life. I look forward to your writing of any sort and your garden adventures as well. You do have a small cozy house.

  3. I’ve given up trying to put furniture together anymore. I’m just not up to it the way I used to be. Glad you got some help. Rest your back. xo Laura

  4. When things have to be put together I.e. furniture, I walk away. You’re brave to tackle these things. As for getting on the floor for me with my back after surgery it’s out of the question. Every day I am in pain and have to take pain meds to be able to walk about. It’s really taken away from my retirement but I’m glad I was able to work for 34 years although the last two years of teaching was getting to be physically a challenge. I had aBoxer/ Labrador mix who benefitted from those laser treatments but my vet was much more reasonable price wise. I paid $80 for six treatments. My girl, Dolly, looked so cute wearing her goggles. She looked like she could jump on a motorcycle! She knew she was cute and would act so silly when they put them on her. She’s prance about and put her head in my lap while we waited for them to set up the machine. I know that equipment is expensive but seems like your vet will be paying it off rather quickly. But for our fur babies we do what we have to. Making their lives better or easier is what we have to do. Now I’m off to water my hosta all in containers. It’s become hot here in South Carolina overnight. I’ve been reading daily your friend’s blog “ Serene Living” ( that title isn’t exactly right. I can’t seem to post on her blog but enjoy it very much. Wish she’d post more often. Love to hear about her grands and Trixie, the chicken. Hope your back pain is alleviated soon.

    1. Thanks so much for reading my blog Simple and Serene Living. Not sure why you are unable to leave a comment, but hope you will continue to read. I’m visiting Tessa and Trixie today so hope that I will have some new stories to share. Laura

  5. Hi Brenda, I’ve been reading your blog for several years and have never been able to get a message to you for unknown reasons to me. We had a miniature dachshund for 19 years and 3 months. He was allergic to the vaccines and went into anaphylactic shock while we were still at the vet’s office. He had to give him a shot of adrenaline straight into his heart. It worked but he said if it had happened in the car on the way home he would have passed away. At the time he weighed 2lbs 7ozs so that may have been why it happened so fast. The vet said to never give him certain shots but I don’t remember which ones at this time. He gave me a paper to verify why he couldn’t be vaccinated. We never vaccinated and he lived for over 19 years very happily and healthy. He also ate only what we ate and not dog food. Maybe some of this helped him live long and very healthy. Can’t wait to see the bookcase are put together.

  6. I can not put together anything. I have no mechanical ability at all.

    When you have time. Would you post a picture of your book case?

  7. Obviously not a great day for you. I did the same thing once putting a desk together I got from World Mart. Half way thru I realized I’d made a’ mistake. Love the desk tho. Great picture of Charlie this morning.

    Don’t forget an epsom salt bath is great for our backs. My back was fused in 08 and just getting dinner is too much for me and I have to take a pain pill.

    And we found that the squirrel is eating the petunias. I have gophers galore and they munch right thru a few things.

  8. When I put things together I mix them up, too. I think if I had dyslexia and was taught to overcome it. Your flowers are beautiful. Charlie is looking better. PB, my dog has separation anxiety. He does naughty things when I leave. My sister has a dog that she named Honey. We have PB and Honey. I wanted to find another dog for me and name her Jelly. PB and Jelly would be fun to call from the back door.

  9. Brenda, make sure to take care of yourself my friend, you ned to ask for help, next time ask your grandkids to help out and make an adventure of it. It is a great time to see them and get to know them. I know it is hard, I am the same way, unfortunately I do not have my nieces and nephew close but if I did I would be calling them.

    How is your back feeling? Take it easy today, relax, read and enjoy your sweet pets.

    I hope Charlie is well after his treatment and that your daughters pup is ok after the vaccinations. I have the same problem with my pup.

  10. Oh Brenda I give you credit to even try to put together a bookcase. That had to be a nightmare. I would have chucked it for sure. Patience with that kind of thing is not my strong suit. Glad Riley could come over to help you. Some days you just want to kiss goodbye and hope for a better day tomorrow. I think you probably should have gotten in with Charlie for acupuncture treatment lol!
    Hope today will be a better day. We are pretty hot here too and I am watering a couple of times a day too.

    1. Picked up Charlie just now and the vet said we’re going to try for two weeks from today. That hasn’t happened in a long time. She said he was doing good and if he needed to see her just to call next week.

  11. It’s never as easy putting boxed furniture together as the instructions and the online reviews claim it is. I swear sometimes those instructions are backwards, not the way I put something together, LOL! I did manage to tackle my own bookshelves but it took probably 3 times as long as people in the reviews claimed. If you do this time again, I recommend keeping some carpenter’s glue (wood glue) on hand and using a smidgeon of that in every hole you put a screw into, unless you intend to take the piece of furniture apart at a later date. I never have even contemplated that. Once it’s together, it’s together for whatever the rest of its “life span” is! I have assembled some pieces that said 2 people are needed, and that would certainly have made it a lot easier, but when you don’t have ready access to a second person it either sits in a box forever underneath your bed or you put it together yourself. In a few instances, I hired a handyman to put together items that I figured would just be too complicated for me, like my gel fuel fireplace. That took my handyman and his daughter (a handywoman in training) more than 2 hours to put together! No way would I have been able to do that. It’s hard coming to terms with not being as strong as I used to be 20 years ago, and getting tired more easily now when I mow the lawn and having to take several breaks, especially in our (for me) hot and humid (high dew point) weather. It makes me more leery of taking on projects (like removing carpet in my living room to reveal the hardwood floors I know are underneath) that I did even a few years ago.

    1. I’ll toss this thing if there came a point I had to take it apart. Already there is a broken place on one of the shelves where I had to take one of those cam things out because I had things backward. I’ll just do what I always do: cover it with something and pretend it isn’t there!

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