How to Assemble an Ikea Couch

* by Michael!

If you’ve been keeping up with us lately, you know that we recently made the Big Apple Move. We found a great building in Inwood, the northernmost neighborhood in Manhattan, and within a couple of days had unloaded, unpacked, assorted, argued, rearranged, and alphabetized.

One of the things we did right at the start was take the moving truck across the G.W. Bridge to pick up a few things from the Ikea in Paramus, New Jersey. That trip will eventually be its own post in and of itself, but suffice to say it took longer than we would have liked and the Swedish meatballs were as good as ever.

At any rate, one of the things we procured from Ikea was a love-seat that folds out into a bed. We hope to welcome guests here in the future, and needed a place for them to sleep that wasn’t our increasingly-leaky air-mattress.

And, having constructed this nefarious bit of furnishing, I have decided to render a public service and explain, in step-by-step instructions that will undoubtedly be easier to follow than the pictographic lies published by that thrice-damned retailer.

I am now an expert.

Heed my words.

Step 1: Hope fervently that the couch, like a memory-foam mattress, simply needs time to expand once the packaging is opened and you won’t actually have to put anything together with an Allen-wrench.

Step 2: Open the box and sigh in disappointment at the sight of several disparate pieces that obviously require assembly.

Step 3: Remove the plastic packaging from all of the pieces and ensure that all are accounted for.

Step 3-A: Put on your pants, find your keys, and prepare your angry-customer-face to explain to the Ikea store clerk that the required washers are not present.

Step 3-B: Have your wife point out that they were right there, the whole time, cleverly packed inside one of the pieces, would you please stop being so grumpy and just put the couch together.

Step 4: Now that you’ve got the pieces ready, begin following the instructions by sliding the two arms of the couch into the matching grooves on the back-piece of the couch and screw them in place using the holes at the bottom.

Step 4-A: What do you mean they don’t line up? They line up just fine. Go on to Step Five.

Step 5: Now that the back and arms are in place – yes, they’re secure, just keep going – tilt the whole thing onto the back-panel so the arms face up and slide the seat/bed portion between the arms. Screw it into place, as well.

Step 5-A: You’re right, you’re right, they don’t line up. None of this lines up. You can’t get more than one screw in at a time, can you? Maybe if you – no, that won’t do it, try the other way – OK, that’s just annoying.

Step 5-B: Repeat step 5-A at least four times, then disassemble the entire thing with a look of growing madness in your eye. Take a walk, perhaps a shower, then try again in a couple of hours.

Step 6: This looks remarkably like Step 4, except that you need to convince yourself that it will somehow make life easier to insert one arm of the sofa into the grooves on the back at a time (it will in no way make your life easier). They still won’t line up perfectly – or at all – but at this point you are willing to accept potential death and dismemberment at the hands of this blasted couchlet as an acceptable risk in exchange for being done with the misery of putting it together.

Step 7: Consider selling your soul in exchange for screws that actually fit into these holes. Reject the idea because it’s pretty clear that your soul is not that valuable at this exact moment due to all the curses you have undoubtedly been spewing into the air.

Step 8: Pick up the seat/bed portion and again attempt to slide it between the arms, then start trying to line up the screws.

Step 9: Weep in quiet despair.

Step 10: Entertain the idea of another break, then decide you would rather be done with this project than win the lottery, publish your novel, or discover latent powers of flight. Grit your teeth and continue.

Step 11: Try the screws again.

Step 12: Envision the wanton destruction that you would visit upon the nation of Sweden, right now, if it were within your power to do so.

Step 13: Try the screws again. The other ones this time, the ones on the – wait, did that one just line up?

Step 14: DO. NOT. MOVE.

Step 15: OK, you can open your eyes and breathe again. It went in. Relax. This is supposed to happen. Eventually. Try one of the screws on the other side now.

Step 16: They can’t all be winners. Try the other one on that side this time.

Step 17: Contain yourself! The end is in sight! The third screw!

Step 18: OhmyGod this is actually happening – go ahead and try the fourth and final screw! Congratul – what do you mean the last one doesn’t line up?

Step 18-A: That is not possible. If the other three line up, the fourth one has to. By the laws of physics and order in the universe, it has to. If the fourth screw does not line up then goodness is a myth and mercy is a lie. You will become the screaming avatar of bloody vengeance. You will be death incarnate. The veil of reality will shatter and tear with you at the head of a legion from –

Step 18-B: Hold it! You got it! It’s in! You caught the thread! Twist! Twist like your life – like all life – depends upon it!

Step 18-C: You get one good cry every decade, and this is a good one. You’ve earned it. Let it go. Pick up the Allen-wrench, you’re almost done. DONE! DONE, I TELL YOU!

Step 19: Tighten the four screws on the bottom of the seat/bed piece. OK, that one won’t tighten. Try a conventional wrench – that one won’t do it, hm? Ok, try that other one. The big one. If this doesn’t work you are completely justified in purchasing a full socket-wrench set in order to complete this Ikea couch.

Step 19-A: Whew.

Step 20: Try tightening those two screws at the bottom. You know, the ones you did at first that wouldn’t turn at all, the ones that wouldn’t catch the thread no matter how you cajoled, the ones that almost came between you and your religion. Yeah, those. Just give them a – hey, they’re turning like butter now. Funny how that works, huh?

Step 21: Pull that couch up onto its feet and behold it in all its glory.

Step 21-A: Crap, you were supposed to pick out a red one, weren’t you?