I have always been a sucker for cheap-and-hip furniture: garage sales, IKEA, online furniture outlets. But I am always forgetting that the words 'on site assembly not included' means half-a-weekend of work. Yes, detailed instructions are usually supplied, phone help is frequently available, but the time is all mine. I do this over and over again. Should I purchase IKEA's $200 self-deliver and self-assemble bed or a $450 we-do-it-all-for-you Bob's store bed? Select a $600 dining room set that requires us to make three trips to the store or a $1,000 set that can be delivered by a couple of handsome guys? Add it all up, the math wisdom says: price, delivery cost, assembly time, maintenance cost, quality of the work. But my frugal mind always goes for a cheap-and-hip.
Recently, my husband was finishing the assembly of another one of such exemplars – a tall bookcase - on the floor of his home-office. He realized that he could not rotate it to standing position because the ceiling was too low. For a couple of minutes we were very quiet, feeling a bit stupid.
We did select this particular bookcase because its height was just inches shorter than the height of our ceiling, proud to use our space so efficiently. But we did not foresee that the bookcase's front diagonal would be larger than the room height (85” > 82”), preventing the installation... Humiliated and frustrated, we were waiting for that spark of creativity that occasionally saves you from doing things all over again. And then I saw this triumphant smile on my husband's face. A minute later the bookcase was standing up tall...
The side diagonal obtained from the height-depth triangle was shorter than the frontal diagonal obtained from the height-width triangle and smaller than the room height (76” < 82").
Next one on our shopping list is a grand piano. I think I will start from Craigslist. What can possibly go wrong?
Read more from The Math Mom about fun and hip math of our routine existence: The Eureka Moments Of My Household.