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Hepcat is building up some resentment

for The Brooklyn Paper
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In honor of the Oh So Feisty One’s 12th birthday, Hepcat and Smartmom decided to buy her an IKEA loft bed as part of the total room makeover she’s been wanting for ages.

A loft bed would be just the thing to make her tiny bedroom seem a whole lot bigger. She’d have room underneath for a dresser, a desk and even a beanbag chair.

OSFO was stoked.

So one recent Saturday, Smartmom drove OSFO over to Red Hook, had a quick lunch of gravlax and Swedish meatballs, and then went a-hunting for loft beds.

Smartmom had her heart set on the Tromso that had a steel gray frame with an attachable desk. Sleek, streamlined, it seemed perfect for a bedroom/work space.

“It’s disgusting,” OSFO said when she saw the model in the IKEA bedroom showroom. “I hate the color.”

Instead, OSFO made a beeline for the Morrum, a black and white wooden loft bed that is, truth be told, quite snazzy.

Smartmom lobbied some more for the Tromso, but soon realized that the Oh So Decisive One had made up her mind. They trekked down to the self-service furniture area and found the Morrum in two incredibly heavy boxes that they couldn’t lift without the help of a nice, beefy IKEA employee.

Once home, Smartmom remembered the last time they bought a loft bed. It was for Teen Spirit’s tiny bedroom when he was 6. It came in a million pieces, and Hepcat, who grew up on a farm and loves to put things together, almost went out of his mind.

Hepcat doesn’t remember it that way. All the groaning, cursing and sighing is just part of his process. But over the years, Smartmom has lost her stomach for it. She didn’t think she could endure another scene like that.

Smartmom is smart. Sometimes. She called Urban Express, an IKEA-approved company that for a relatively small fee — $80 — will assemble a Morrum loft bed. Bingo. Smartmom made the call and arranged to have them come over the very next day.

But Hepcat was fit to be tied. Hiring a company to assemble IKEA furniture was an icepick to the inflated tire of his masculinity. He said it was like paying someone to tie your shoe.

But Smartmom wouldn’t back down. She knew that Hepcat’s plate was full; he was in the midst of preparing for a show of his photography at the Old Stone House (opening April 1, by the way — though Smartmom failed to get Dumb Editor the details by the end of the day Tuesday).

To get ready for the show, Hepcat has printing to do. Matting to do. Framing to do. And when that was all done, he has to lug the pictures over to the Old Stone House and hang the damn things. Smartmom figured he was busy enough without having to put together a loft bed.

The very next day, Urban Express came and went. Two men put the Morrum together. OK, so they didn’t do the best job. Some of the screws weren’t tightened enough, and one of the slats broke when Hepcat climbed onto the bed.

Needless to say, Hepcat felt vindicated. He couldn’t believe what a careless job they’d done. He ranted. He raved. He waved the broken slat like a victory flag. He had to do some screw tightening.

Oh, and they argued. Smartmom wanted him to admit that she’d done a good thing by calling Urban Express. He refused.

Egos were bruised. Unpleasant words exchanged. Situations like this always bring into play the big differences between them.

Hepcat, raised on a farm, almost never asks for help. Smartmom, raised in an apartment building with a less-than-handy dad, is more of a “call the super” kind of gal.

But the bed was up, the job was done, and it all happened, somewhat effortlessly, in less than three hours.

Later, when OSFO got home, she was thrilled. Her bedroom did feel twice as big. She loved the way her new loft bed looked and spent the next few hours in it.

Smartmom was happy for her girl. But she still had a sad feeling inside. She and Hepcat, married for almost 20 years, still fought like newlyweds.

Does this mean that they have bad marriage or are they just locked into an eternal argument about how to get things done?

Good question and one that will probably come up again and again. In fact, they still have to put together OSFO’s computer workstation that goes underneath the Morrum. It’s called a Mikael. It doesn’t look too hard to put together. Hepcat has his heart set on it.

This time, Smartmom won’t get in his way.

Louise Crawford, a Park Slope mom, also operates “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”
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Reader Feedback

Jim from South Brooklyn says:
Speaking as a lifetime compulsive hands-on DIY guy:
If you have better things to do and limited free time, paying somebody to do it is NOT "like paying someone to tie your shoe."

The only caution is - make sure that the "doer" isn't doing it of-the-cuff. You're guaranteed to have problems if the driver who delivers your stuff also installs it in no time flat, for a few bucks on the side.
March 24, 2009, 1:27 pm
Learned my lesson from Bay Ridge says:
"Yes" to Jim's caveat.

I had air-cond delivery guys install the A/C in a pinch.
If I hadn't sensed problems (and had real installers redo it 3 weeks later), the A/C would've fallen out of the window or imploded.
But I have assembled numerous Ikea things myself. In the process, I came up with names for new lines of Ikea furniture -- names like Frustratte, Kollapso, and HeappaKrappe.
March 25, 2009, 4:34 pm

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