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Dawns Column - The Merger
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My fiancé and I are in the process of planning the final details for our wedding, it’s nerve wracking. But I can tell you something else that’s equally stressful — getting his house ready for me to move in.

I hate moving.

Besides packing for my honeymoon, I’m packing up my all my belongings. I’m literally merging my life with someone else’s. We’re going to be sharing closets, dressers, a bathroom, kitchen cabinets. Before the wedding takes place, we need to make sure that my clothes and shoes and purses will fit into his bachelor pad. So we recently embarked on installing a closet organization system into the master bedroom closet.

It was the closet organization project from hell.

Home improvement projects always sound good on the surface, but believe me they’re a very, very bad idea. They should actually be called “how-to-ruin-relationships-and-send-yourself-to-an-early-grave” projects.

I had previously mentioned to a coworker that my guy and I needed to install closet organizers and I was thinking of contacting one of the closet companies. My coworker said that she and her husband installed closet systems themselves at their house and it was pretty easy, not to mention significantly cheaper.

I called my fiancé, who is very bright but not very handy — his motto is “that’s what the yellow pages are for” — and told him the good news about how easy these closet systems were to install.

He agreed to my idea and utilized the company website where you tell them the closet dimensions, what features you want, and then they design it and tell you what pieces to buy. I arranged for my handy father, who had installed a closet system before, to help us.

First off, we realized that the units they told us to buy weren’t going to fit in the closet’s configuration. This began the downward spiral of the entire project. My fiancé was already losing his patience less than an hour into it.

We finally figured out the changes we needed to make and tripped on down to the local home improvement warehouse. Well, they didn’t have all the pieces we needed, so I dropped the guys off and drove to the next town to get the remaining pieces while they worked on the closet. I made the mistake of calling my fiancé from the road to ask how things were going.

The cursing was my first indication that not all was well.

With a unit partly assembled, they discovered there were missing pieces in the sealed bag of parts, as well as difficult to decipher directions with microscopic diagrams. Another unit had better directions but no bag of parts.

At that point, my guy’s blood pressure was so high that I was reminded of those cartoons where smoke comes out the character’s ears, their heads bulge on top of their necks, and they make a sound like a factory whistle.

It was at this juncture that we considered having a contractor come in and build the closet system. It would be exactly to our specs, with better materials, in only a few hours, but probably at least double the cost.

In retrospect, it would’ve been worth it. Instead, we continued on our path. Ten hours later the project looked like it had barely started. Murphy’s Law was in full effect. The next day, we managed to make a lot of progress. We had return trips to both the local and next town’s home improvement stores, and in another eight hours, we were finished. There were cheers all around.

We’re never doing that again. Ever.

It’s not just closet space though. Since we have two fully furnished adult households to combine, we need to have a really, really big yard sale. We began sorting through our stuff and we’re nowhere near being done, but already the garage shelves are filled with boxes labeled ‘yard sale.’ Some furniture has been sold, but there’s still more. I’m concerned we’ll need a storage unit just to hold our stuff for the yard sale.

We have double everything, and some things in triple. For example, he’s a slot toaster guy and I’m a toaster oven girl. Between the two of us, there are two toaster ovens and a slot toaster. In order to make more space (eventually), we’ve registered for a combo toaster oven/slot toaster. Plus, there are some items that are just plain worn out or neither one of us like.

We’ve gone through the ‘his and hers’ pots and pans — most of his are now in a yard sale box. Okay, I confess, that was more like a hostile takeover of the kitchen cabinets than an actual merger.

We’d had plans to hold this giant yard sale before the wedding but I’m pretty sure that we can’t make that happen. However, we must make room.

Know anyone who needs a toaster?


Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.