Friday, April 18, 2008

Some Assembly Required

I put up this post last week, and then stopped to edit it for reasons now unknown. Thanks to Grace, it's finally a post. So - TWO posts today; the second one is Floral Eye Candy, below.

We got a big 42in TV for Christmas, and it wouldn't fit on our decades-old 'entertainment center'. So we improvised with a coffee table for a while, and then I found a big-TV stand online. We've had quite good luck in the past with ordering furniture online, and this one had enough space for all of our 'home theatre' components - cable box, TiVo, A/V receiver, CD, DVD - and a couple of drawers, too. The color wasn't quite what I'd have preferred, but would work with the various wood finishes we have, plus it was on sale, at a price that didn't seem outrageous. The service was good - I ordered on March 20, they shipped on March 28, and it arrived last Thursday. The freight truck driver called ahead, arrived on time, and hauled this big HEAVY box into our back patio. Seriously heavy; I couldn't budge it.

We knew this would be traumatic. We've had the TiVo/home theatre setup for more than 5 years, and we've learned that any minor change - like a new cable box - can take a couple of hours and quite a few adjustments to get to working smoothly. TiVo service is always excellent, something I can't say for either of the two cable companies we've worked with. (I refrain from mentioning their names, since I can't use them without profanity, and this is a family-friendly blog, right?)

I cleared working space in the family room, figured out where our LP collection was going to move to, which of course involved moving something else and then something after that, removed breakables from the bookcases we'd be moving around, and then DH and I started the assembly after a late lunch last Saturday. Oy. The directions booklet was over 25 pages long - 20 wood pieces, 12 different pieces of hardware and 12 different fasteners. No fractured English, just large, clear, line drawings. Every single piece of wood had a part number and a letter marked on it, the fasteners and hardware were on a bubble 'board' or in separate pouches, each clearly marked with a part number. All we needed was a couple of screwdrivers, no power tools please.

Some good thinking went into the directions: the parts that required glue were done first, and then set aside to dry while we assembled others. Quality/quantity control was really good: the pre-drilled holes were where they said they were supposed to be, there were as many fasteners as they said, and so forth. So, in about 3 hours, it had been transformed from a stack of parts into a long, low cabinet. We measured, moved the rest of the furniture, primarily our 6ft bookcases, to allow for the extra length, and we were ready.

That was the easy part. DH took the black boxes apart, labeling the cords and cables according to where they belonged. We moved them off the old stand, figured where we wanted to put the various components, hooked them up, and - nothing worked.

Everyone of you who is surprised by that, raise your hands. Ah, yeah, you in the back? Um-hum. We tried again and then again, and still no sound, no picture. By that time, it was after 7pm, so we broke for dinner and discovered that we were too tired to care.

Last Sunday after breakfast I settled in to work my way through the gazillion connections. This time, I pulled out my handy label-maker and labeled each cord as specifically as I could, as I went. Once I got the cable box playing nicely with TiVo, the rest went pretty smoothly. The 'home theatre' deal has 6 different speaker wires, which are nicely color-coded (thank you, Onkyo!), but by the time you plug pretty much everything into the back of the receiver, it's crowded, and difficult to find that last little plug-hole for the remaining red, white or yellow plug.

I finished in time for us to watch most of Star Wars Part II - the Clone Wars on the big screen. Pretty impressive compared to the old 27in set.


Grace Yaskovic said...

I am so glad I wasn't loosing my mind us menopausal women have to hold on to as many brain cells as we can muster!! It was very entertaining the first time and is this time too!

smariek said...

Oooh, aaah!

Anonymous said...

That's so my life!
Only I don't get help in the assembly part. And never get help in the connections saga. next time, I'll get a out a label maker. Why ever didn't I think of that before???