A box full of my own inability

If you follow me on instagram you know that I spend a lot of my downtime making miniatures, automata or putting together ridiculous wooden kits, so last night when I started making this small puzzle box kit (filled with wooden gears that would open each side) I expected that I’d be done in an hour but the weather had swollen the wood and exacerbated my rheumatoid arthritis and I couldn’t get the gears to work and nothing would fit and suddenly it was 2am and I was sitting with a box that wouldn’t even close and I considered driving over the whole thing with my car but then I was like, “Fuck it” and I ripped out all the tiny pieces I’d been struggling with for the last four hours and just held the outsides of the box together with rubber bands and squirted elmer’s glue inside of it so it would stay together, and I felt a little bad because it was supposed to be a dice box that I was going to give to Hailey and now it’s a box that you literally can’t even open that I spent 4 hours on. But then this morning I saw it with fresh eyes on the kitchen table and I realized that it’s not empty at all because technically it’s a box filled with all of my mistakes and it is a very good reminder that it’s totally okay to fuck up because most people will just see a perfectly acceptable outside and have no clue how different it was supposed to turn out. And then I thought that I’d give it to Hailey and tell them that it’s a display to put their dice on top of and I felt very good and like I’d grown as a person, and that pride lasted just as long as it took for me to realiz I’d glued the box to the kitchen table, and now I need another day to figure out how to spin this new mistake into a life lesson other than “Don’t pour a bunch of glue into a box filled with holes, you dummy” because it feels like I probably should have known that one already.

77 thoughts on “A box full of my own inability

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  1. Plastic tablecloths are your friend – they lift right up and voila the table is unscathed. 🙂 I like the box – I love love love the story even more. 🙂

  2. If you, unlike me, are careful, Elmer’s Glue does come apart when warm water soaks it. If it was my mistake. I would pry the box off the table, then apply the warm water to the table top. But, I would also get impatient, or forget about it and ultimately ruin the table. Good luck. It’s a very pretty box to display right where it is.

  3. Toss a warm, wet kitchen towel over it and let it sort of moisturize and steam a little and it should come right up.
    That might even unglue the sides so you can have another go at making the box open. Elmer’s is VERY forgiving that way. Not so much for permanence.

    It’s been a DAY here too. I am raising a drink to you and having a calming sip between crises.

  4. You’re making me feel very good about the mess I made last night sewing a project for my granddaughter. Cut out 4 pieces, started to put them together, and realized every single one was cut too small. Went to bed. Going to go back to the sewing room in a few moments and start again.

  5. I’ve had a day full of mistakes and panic attacks. So glad I’m not alone.

  6. Elmer’s glue is water soluble and also vinegar and heat can soften it up. Little tricky with stuck glue parts are under the box but maybe just some hot water squirted under the box or through the box and letting it set or blasting it with hot air from a hair dryer to speed up softening the glue? Very fun story thanks for sharing.

  7. Hugs. I love those wooden puzzles and my house is slowly filling with them. I have yet to build one that works properly, but they are pretty to look at!

  8. I think that table is of DESPERATE NEED of a pretty box. It must be lonely, with things placed upon it and taken away again just as it was starting to learn about them. Then there was suddenly this beautiful box that sent out glue so they would never be parted. *Sniffles* The table must have the pretty box. *Nod nods*

  9. I love this. I think it’s perfect. You could give Hailey the box with the table attached…?

  10. Every time I think I can’t possibly love you more… bam! Glass ceiling smashed!
    Thank you… I also felt very stupid and had many panic attacks today. You are the best! ❤️

  11. At least your box is pretty. Maybe plant a bush on top.

    (My inner 12 year old just gave me a smirk and a high five). Or more likely my inner (15 year old since I doubt I knew at 12 that a box can be a euphemism for your lady garden).

  12. This is kind of like what I learned when I was with a performance ballroom dance troupe… as long as you smile, keep your head up, and keep moving, nobody in the audience will know that you fucked up. 🙂

  13. Oh dear, I love this post so very much, and you with it too.

    This morning my oil furnace wasn’t working, because my helpful downstairs neighbor filled it with too much water last night so we had to turn it off. So the landlord told me to turn it back on, and lug buckets of scalding hot water up a narrow stairway of death to pour them over the house railing onto the unsuspecting tomato plants below, and while i was doing this the still-overly-full furnace freaked out resulting in the radiator in my living room spewing out large quantities of hot water from the steam release valve all over everything (except the cats, who were for once smart enough to move away). After turning the furnace back off and cleaning up all the water, I then was starving so I took a longer break (I work from home) and made myself a toasted bagel with cream cheese but then I almost dropped the plate trying to put on slippers and instead half of the bagel fell on the floor and the other half I body-hugged into my boob trying to keep it on the plate resulting in a perfect circle of white cream cheese on my black work shirt like some reverse pastie. Definitely one of THOSE days.

  14. My husband wanted these very intricate metal model kits where you build stuff like out of the Star Wars series and other things like airplanes, etc. with tweezers and tiny tools. I gave him one for Xmas and it took him hours of frustration and anxiety until he realized he just didn’t have the patience for that sort of thing and because he’s a perfectionist it just makes his anxiety go wild.
    I know some people find building intricate model items very zen and soothing, but he learned a lot about himself and accepted that it just wasn’t for him.
    I’m glad you realized during this exercise that it was okay to be perfectly imperfect and to accept the box as it was. You could leave it in the table as a chopstick or straw holder, a napkin stand, a pedestal for a vase, or a perch for cat who will rule their kingdom from up on top.

  15. Level it up by removing a side and gluing her dice INSIDE the box. Solved!

    And I feel your pain, due to every time I try to do anything after I’ve taken an Ambien. Reconstructing the ‘crime scene’ the next day is usually entertaining.

  16. I’ve been doing different versions of this same thing since I was nine and accidentally sewed a Brownie scout project right onto my uniform. So glad to know it happens to other people too! Thanks for keeping it real! And the box is super cute, btw

  17. Oh LORD did this make me laugh. I finally learned to use rubber gloves when gluing because my fingers always got stuck together. Maybe a chance to buy a new table? Love you!

  18. I love that in my world where everyone is trying to be Facebook perfect all the time, you are genuine and real and perfectly lovely. Thank you for that.

  19. My Facebook post yesterday was literally “Do you ever wake up knowing it’s going to be a bad day, but you try to do stuff anyway and fail miserably? Yeah. Me too.”

    And apparently you too. Don’t know if you woke up knowing it was going to be a bad day but sometimes I can tell. Other times it ambushes me. So yeah I so know what you are saying.

  20. One pair of my “dressy shoes” that I wore to work had these lovely comfort soles, but the rubber came up over the toe of the shoe a little bit. Soon after I got them, I noticed the rubber was starting to peel at the front. Wanting to be frugal and also wanting to avoid breaking in another pair, I thought I’d just super glue the little rubber flap and the sole back on and tah-dah, they’d be like new again.
    Except I added too much super glue and it leaked out around the edges as I firmly held the 2 pieces of shoe together for the 30 seconds the bottle recommended and then some extra seconds just in case, and then several extra minutes as I went to let go of the shoe and found that it was super glued to my hand. 🤦🏼‍♀️

    Cinnamon toothpaste and a toothbrush and a lot of water did eventually release my hand from the shoe. I didn’t use those things because I thought they would work, but because I was alone and those were the only things near by I could open one handed.

  21. It’s a device to prevent people throwing mail on the table. Or it’s a pedestal for important mail like invitations and college acceptance letters.

  22. This. Except the box is my life. And the only thing the glue did was to ruin the table while the box fell apart.

  23. Thank you for allowing me to laugh today! I needed this. I think you should give her the table with the box attached!

  24. Just beautiful, no matter it is a permanent fixture ARGH Love your adventures…….

  25. I learned this with quilting which is my hobby. I would struggle to follow a pattern exactly and my friends would successfully to this. Perfect corners and points, perfect placement, perfection. I would try and not succeed. But then I realized that when you hold up a quilt or enter it in a show, no one (but an asshole) is going to point at a leaf and say, ‘that leaf should be 1/16th of an inch over” . I make my ‘mistakes’ be part of the process and love them. The only other lesson – DON’T POINT OUT YOUR MISTAKES!!

  26. My sense of direction is legendary in how poor it is.
    Last week I went on what was supposed to be a 9 mile hike. I took a wrong turn and it ended up being 7.4. Today I set out to do the same hike and complete it. I made multiple wrong turns and ended up hiking 11.6!!! I have all the apps and maps but just make bad decisions in the moment, I guess!

    I get it completely and am sorry this happened to you! Thank you for sharing it though!

  27. Thanks for the laugh, and yes, Elmer’s isn’t the end of the world. You can undo it but I personally love the chopsticks and curly straws

  28. When I saw this box, I immediately thought of the weird puzzle box from that horror movie that has Pinhead in it. (Hellraiser?!)

    After reading this, tell people that if they are truly evil..they will be able to “easily lift the box and open it. But they will open a gate to hell!”

    Then when it doesn’t easily come off the table, maybe they will feel better about themselves?!


  29. Sorry to post something about an earlier post underneath this one (but that’s about how I’ve been doing lately), but re: the whole elk business–have you ever read the whole Dogs in Elk saga? I think it came out in the late ’90s/early aughts, and I really don’t want to spoil the whole thing for you. Just google “dogs in elk”–I promise you won’t be disappointed. Grossed out, maybe, but not disappointed…

  30. Um…that’s the Hellraiser box. Leave it alone, unless you want to see the sights the Cenobites have to show you…

  31. Elizabeth 43 and Kel 46 have it right. Hellraiser. It is evil. It has attached to your table. Do NOT open and release the Cenebites! Give Hailey something else to hold dice in!

  32. Stick a couple flowers through the holes and it will just look like an oddly placed planter.

  33. I think, perhaps, this is a sign that the box was meant to be in this exact spot on your table, well, forever. It’s a sign that mistakes sometimes can’t be undone, but can still serve an important purpose, though it may not be evident at the time. You will see it there, every day, wondering, pondering what it means, and what you could have done differently. And then, next Christmas, you’ll have a sudden epiphany! And when you carefully balance the platter of roast beast on top of this beautiful, unique box, you’ll be able to smile and say, “Damn! It wasn’t a mistake at all!”
    — Or you could just buy a new table.
    😃❤️ Love you Jenny!!

  34. Ah, to know there Are friends like me. … love you, too !
    Melt the Elmer’s – those mistakes aren’t permanent, and the table ought recover just Fine.

    Wax paper. Lay down wax paper next time. Inexpensive. No sticking. Oila.

  35. “I felt very good and like I’d grown as a person, and that pride lasted just as long as it took for me to realiz I’d glued the box to the kitchen table …” There are a lot of candidates, but that’s on the list of the best bits of writing you’ve done. From the sublime to the ridiculous in a few words. You set us up and put us away. Based on the photo that’s UGears Games Dice Keeper Box. There’s a whole paragraph in the instructions on what to do if pieces don’t fit, so apparently it’s a known problem with this kit. Maybe we should all buy a copy and try to make it and maybe ONE of us will produce a working version for Hailey. Except I’m too lazy.

  36. Love it… also, where can I get the box so I can have the same frustrating, nay, cathartic experience?

  37. This resonates big time for me! I had been a life long perfectionist until having kids. Well, maybe the second kid. Then I finally realized that my need to make everything “just so” was hurting my kid’s need to be, you know, toddlers. Now I’m much better at catching myself when I go there, and I frequently get to the “You know what? Fuck it, this will just have to be good enough,” phase without injury. No one knows you had a different idea in your head but you. It’s good enough, and you’re good enough. And now your table has a perfect place to put the salt and pepper where everyone can see them!

  38. We do a lot of those wood build kits in our house. About a quarter of them turn out the way they’re supposed to. A quarter of them get mostly completed before my 12yo realizes it’s been screwed up and then it’s abandoned in the room of incomplete projects until it gets tossed. The remaining half are mostly okay but not quite right. And they ALWAYS contain wood glue to repair the pieces we’ve broken. You’re not alone.

  39. My Viking bought me a kit to make Da Vinci’s flying machine and I’m too terrified to take it out of the box because, despite its tiny size, it is a giant opportunity for failure. It’s like he’s never met me before.

  40. This is such a sentiment applies so beautifully to human beings: “It’s totally okay to fuck up because most people will just see a perfectly acceptable outside and have no clue how different it was supposed to turn out.” Also, your post reminds me of the time I superglued myself to an ornament wreath made of breakable Christmas ball ornaments.

  41. Girl, lots of us do this kind of shit every day or something similar. (Me end of really bad day, and then finishing it off by spilling entire bag of grits on kitchen floor. Those buggers are tiny and no vacuum didn’t like at all. Sigh.) It’s okay! And the box is beautiful and so are you with all your minor imperfections. Maybe Goo Be Gone will save the table??? Otherwise, hey, time to redecorate, new table and new you and just laugh about it.

  42. It’s a lovely box. A little warm water will dislodge it from the table.

    Sometimes what we see as mistakes are actually better than the original intended outcome. No mistakes, just happy little trees and happy accidents, a la Bob Ross.

  43. I feel your pain…I have a fossil that lasted millions of years, surviving all the forces of nature, until I got ahold of it and promptly broke it. I tried to crazy glue it back together and now it’s permanently stuck to my TV stand.

  44. I love the fossil story, Marni (70). Half a century ago, when I worked in a bicycle shop that sold french Peugeot bikes, we received our monthly large shipment of new bikes and the whole crew got in position to hand/lift/toss the several dozen boxes along at high speed all the way up into the attic for storage. Halfway through the job, we heard a terrible groan…Oh no!!…from deep inside the attic and thought the worst: injury!
    No. Turned out the last guy in the line had dropped a bike box into its slot only to hear glass breaking and the smell of red wine fill the attic. Someone in the factory in France had gifted us a bottle of red wine, which survived a long string of truck loadings and unloadings, shipping thousands of miles across the Atlantic, 3000 miles across the USA by truck, and us tossing it along our chain gang, only to break at the last minute. We enjoyed that almost-bottle-of-wine many times over just reminiscing about it…a I’m doing right now. Thanks Jenny for stirring up our oopsy memories.

  45. That’s me, all the broken pieces thrown away, totally fucked up on the inside, but look perfectly acceptable from the outside. No one even notices anything wrong unless they stick around long enough to notice that I haven’t moved in years, I’m glued to the table.
    Sounds lovely when you’re talking about your box. (That sounded creepy). Not so lovely when I’m talking about my life.

  46. This is just the pick me up I needed! You’ve done it again, reminded me that I am full of light inside

  47. I just laughed out loud at the “surprise” ending ! Thanks for the pick-up on a day when I really needed one!!!

  48. I am still in awe of your tenacity – would never have made ti past an hour. And not only have you created a lovely (if slightly attached) box, but a post that people loved, and which spawned so many delightful comments as well.

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