Nina In New York: Twas Some Assembly Required

Nina In New York: Twas Some Assembly Required

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
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By Nina Pajak

‘Twas the week before Hanukkah and all through the place,
Our creatures dependent were out of my face.
The baby was sleeping, so thoroughly worn.
The dog had been fed and quit looking forlorn.

The stockings were hung, there was good will to spare.
We pulled out a large box labeled HANDLE WITH CARE.
Armed with naught but martinis and guts made of brass,
We unpacked that play kitchen and prepared to kick ass.

Thirty three pieces plus parts A through R.
We knew there would be many trips to the bar.
So we took a deep breath and dove into step one,
At which point we abandoned delusions of fun.

Backs breaking, eyes straining, we screwed and we wrenched.
We nutted and bolted in silence, jaws clenched.
Then I dropped wood plank twelve, and it made such a ruckus!
We stared at the monitor. Did I really just . . . er . . . muck us?

Our daughter remained safe and sound in her bed,
While blurred visions of screw labels danced in our heads.
My husband requested four Q’s and an O.
In my haste I ripped part of the card—ack, no!

“Now I’ve done it,” I sobbed. Are those N’s, what are these?
I’m already regretting these damn martinis!
We’re screwed if we can’t sort our J’s from our D’s!
Why didn’t they print this alphabetically?!

We continue on smoothly, at least for a while.
Till we hit a quality gap as wide as a mile.
“The guide holes are missing,” he cried, looking ill.
“Screw it, already. Go get me my drill.”

“O Kidkraft!” I howled, fist in the air,
“What hell hath thou wrought?” As I tore out more hair.
We’re in over my head if we need power tools.
I’m just grateful I married this handy non-Jew.

Finally, the end nears, our torment abates.
Only, what now? Are we missing piece twenty-eight?
Are you sure? Are you certain? You’ve got to be kidding me.
We turn over boxes, facing this news unwillingly.

Look again! Look once more! Oy, I’m feeling sicker.
Oh, hang on. Here it is! It’s just covered in stickers.
The instructions depicted it looking quite wrong.
Whatever. We’re nothing. They win. Move along.

We’re cruising along, now. Freedom smells close.
This thing’s looking good, but I know not to boast.
My back is a wreck, my nails torn to shreds.
I let husband take over as I dream of my bed.

He’s hunched and he’s bunched but he works without cease.
I wonder if ever again he’ll know peace.
“I’m going to do this,” he grins at me, madly.
“I’m going to be the world’s best goddamn daddy.”

And then it is finished. It’s over, it’s done.
We resist the urge to scream, “BITCHES, WE WON!”
The kitchen’s a kitchen, no more and no less.
All that’s left to be done is to clean up this mess.

And it’s all worth that look on our angel’s dear face.
When we see her just freak out all over the place.
As we watch her play sweetly, our eyes well with tears.
But she’d better love this thing for at least ten more years.

Anyway, that is all. You’ve heard of our plight.
Happy holidays to all, and to all a good night!
(We’re really quite fine, notwithstanding eyesight.)

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!