Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Walk for the Kitties!

Nearly 8 months ago, I adopted my kitties, Watson and Crick, from VOKRA – the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association. VOKRA is a volunteer-run organization that has been rescuing kitties who are abandoned or surrendered – more than 1800 per year! – and finding them safe and loving “forever” homes for 14 years. It takes a lot of money to do this work – they provide vet care for sick kitties, food and litter for kitties living in foster homes while they await adoption, and they had to create a new intake centre because they have so many kitties coming in that they couldn’t keep operating out of the president/co-founder’s basement. Hence, their fundraiser – the 5th Annual Walk for the Kitties – coming up on Sunday. Unfortunately, I can’t do the walk myself, as I’m already double booked that day, but I encourage all kitty lovers to check it out. And even if, like me, you can’t participate, you can always donate!

WatsonCrick in the tub

Watson and Crick thank you for helping kitties just like them to find their own forever homes!

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Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

Last week was a bittersweet one1. Sweet, because I started my awesome new job. But starting my awesome new job meant first saying good-bye to my awesome co-workers at my old job. I don’t generally talk about my work here on ye ole blog, but I will tell you that for the past five years I’ve had a really good job where I’ve done some meaningful work that I’m very proud of and I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really fantastic people. I’m really going to miss seeing those guys every day!

As my final day of work approached, the admin assistant in charge of timekeeping annotated my last ever timesheet:

Timesheet

On my second last day of work, my coworkers threw me a little farewell at the pub near our office. They also showed that they really know me well, as they gave me a farewell card in an envelope addressed like this:

Farewell Card

Which included a gift certificate for a brewery tour for two:

Brewery Tour gift cert

Like I said, these guys know me really well!

On my last day of work, I decided it was time to finally wear my “I am not an epidemiologist” shirt to the office. I had this tshirt made awhile back after being introduced as an epidemiologist one too many times2.

Last Day of Work

At the end of the day, after I’d handed in my ID badge and my keys and made my rounds of the office saying “bye” to everyone, my coworkers with whom I shared an office – a room affectionately known as “The Observatory” – played this song for me:

I managed to avoid crying. Barely.

photo 2

Final farewell photo with my Observatory buddies! (Left to right: Christina, Salman, me, Geoff, Diana, Rahul).

My last day of that job was Tuesday and since there is no rest for the wicked, I started my new job on Wednesday.

When I’d told my mom that I’d gotten a new job, the first thing she said was that I needed to have a new pair of shoes for my first day at a new job. And who am I to argue with my own mother? I went out and bought this pair and then had to wait very impatiently for nearly a month to wear them3:

New Shoes for a New Job

They were totally worth the wait. Both comfortable *and* stylish!

My first three days on the job have confirmed that I made the right decision in taking this new position. The project that I’m working on is a major one – it’s going to be fast-paced, challenging work and it’s going to be having a major impact in the lives of a large number of people. I spent my first three days in many meetings to meet many people working on the project, getting the lay of the land and figuring out what pieces of work I’ll be needing to do and thinking about how I want to build my team to do them. All the people I’ve met have been fantastic – a brilliant group doing some amazing work and all so friendly and helpful! So exciting!

I also spent some time doing the usual administrative things one needs to do when they get a new job – setting up email accounts, ordering a laptop, completing copious amounts of paperwork to ensure I get a paycheque, and getting an ID badge. To do the last item on that list, I had to go to a location that wasn’t at either of my offices. In fact, I had to go to this building:

Doctors Residence

And, of course, I couldn’t resist snapping that pic! It’s my residence! (Also, shouldn’t it be “Doctors’ Residence”?)

And, yes, I did say “either of my offices”, because I have two of them. One of them is technically a cubicle, but it’s so much bigger than the desk I was sitting at in my old job, that it feels like an office. And I even have a view of the mountains:

View from one of my new offices

…if I lean back and look around my cubicle wall.

My second office is an actual office – with walls and a door and everything! The view isn’t quite as nice as office #1, but I’m honestly happy to have an office *and* a window!

View from my office window

If you look close, you can see the pigeon spikes on my window ledge:

Pigeon spikes

I haven’t yet had a chance to decorate either office, but I did make sure to bring this to put on my desk:

New Beginnings

My friend Sarah gave me that when I left Ontario for BC and it’s seen me through a number of new beginnings these past 14 years. I have kept in on my desk in every job I’ve had during that time and it continues to make me smile to this day.

Footnotes:

  1. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the quote I used as the title of this posting, which I know from the song “Closing Time”, is actually a quote from the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger. Which seems much more sophisticated than being from the lyrics of a song about being kicked out of a club at the end of the night. []
  2. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an epidemiologist. Some of my best friends are epidemiologists. But, for the record, I’m an evaluator. Which is a completely different profession from epidemiology, though it shares the similarities of (a) starts with the letter “e”, (b) deals with data, and (c) no one outside your field knows what you do. []
  3. I had to give a month’s notice at my last job. []

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Summoned

I arrived home today to find a little something unexpected in my mailbox:

Untitled

Mail from the Ministry of Justice?

Untitled

Apparently, I’ve been summoned for jury duty at the end of September!

It’s a funny coincidence as just the other day I was talking with a friend about jury duty and how I’d never been summoned before. Clearly, I’ve jinxed myself1.

Given that I’m just about to start a new job, it’s not really the best timing for such a thing2,3. I tried to log on to the online jury summons response site, where apparently I will be able to select the “excuse tab” and see if I satisfy any of the “excuses” that will allow me to be exempt, but the site doesn’t work on Google Chrome or Safari, which are the only two browsers I have on my computer at home. So I guess I’ll check that out from my work computer tomorrow.

In the meantime, have any of you been called for jury duty? What was it like?

  1. Even though there’s totally no such thing as jinxes. []
  2. On the plus side if I do get selected, however, is that the commute would be awesome. I can pretty much jump off my balcony and land on the courthouse, it’s so close! []
  3. Unless it had been the Bertuzzi/Moore case. Because that would totally be an interesting one to see. But that was recently settled out of court, so I know it can’t be that. []

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Sloth Beth Strikes Again

And while I’m re-purposing old photos here on ye ole blog, I think it’s time to bring back this one:

Sloth Beth

Sloth Beth!

I have been such a sloth of late. I started the year off well – I went from the running study right into training for the Hollywood Half Marathon right into the BMO 8 km right into training for the Scotibank half marathon. And then I stopped running. Entirely. If it weren’t for a couple of bike rides to work recently and the fact that I’ve been playing hockey once a week this summer, I think I’d just be a giant puddle of formlessness due to my slothitude.

I can point to a lot of reasons for my lack of running, including my many vacations and the fact that I was spending time on real estate wheeling and dealing and packing and moving and unpacking and getting a new job and the extreme heat wave sucking up any scrape of energy one might have and, quite honestly, being a little bit bored of just running. But that’s not what’s important now. What’s important now is what I’m going to do to get rid of Sloth Beth. Because being Sloth Beth doesn’t feel as good as being Athletic Beth.

Step #1 was that I went out for a run this morning. And OMG, did it feel amazing. It was just a short run – a mere 5.27 km along the Quay – and it wasn’t fast. But it felt so good!

Next up, I need to sign up for a race. Because I know that if I’m not training for a race, I just don’t hit the pavement. I noticed that my friend Julie tweeted about signing up for the Night Race – where you get to run around Stanley Park (either 5 km or 10 km) in the dark and you get a free headlamp. And you know how I feel about free stuff. I’ve wanted to do that race for a while, but the past two years it has fallen on a night when I had MBA class, so I wasn’t able to do it. Seeing that I don’t have MBA classes any more – well, there’s no reason not to! I’m going to check in with my work running buddies1 on Monday to see if they’d be up for doing this race with me!

As well, I’ve been thinking really seriously lately about doing a triathlon. Doing so much running over the first half of the year has caused me to crave a little variety and I think a triathlon is just what the doctor ordered. My friend Candace is a triathlon veteran, so I have plans to meet up with her to get some advice on what triathlon I should do and how to start training!

I also took a look at my physical activity tracking spreadsheet – because you know how much I love a good spreadsheet – and discovered that though we are 63% of the way through the year, I’m only 57% of the way to my goal of running 800 km this year2. So I’m behind, but not so very behind that I can’t catch up. This makes me feel a bit better about my ability to recover from this slothiness – I’m not too far gone!

I’ve now got it in my calendar that I’m going to bike to work two days next week and I have at least one hockey game – two if we win our game on Wednesday3. I’m going out dancing with Kalev tonight4 and tomorrow I’m going salsa dancing, so I think I’m doing all the right things in terms of getting rid of that pesky Sloth Beth!

  1. Though I guess they will be my former work running buddies by the time this race happens. :'( []
  2. But let’s not talk about my progress towards my goal of biking 800 km this year! I’m currently at only 8.77% of that goal! Yikes! []
  3. It’s the playoffs and we are in a best of two series to see if we move on. We won last Wednesday’s game 8-2 (and I got 2 assists!), so if we win this Wednesday, we move on to the next round and play on Friday night. If we lose, it will go to goal differential, so that 6 goal lead we have on that front puts us in a nice position. But the plan is to just win again on Wednesday so there’s no need to worry about anything else. []
  4. Yay New West Pride! []

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I Have A Shiny New Job!

Hey, remember that time I got an MBA? Or that time I got my Credentialed Evaluator designation? Apparently those things were both worth the effort – I’m happy to announce to the world that I now have a shiny new job!

As a general rule, I don’t talk about my work here on ye ole’ blog1, but I can tell you that my shiny new job is still in the realm of evaluation, but it’s at a higher level and with a different health organization. Starting in just over a week, I’ll be Skytraining into Vancouver to one of my two offices there to do Very Important Evaluation Work on a Very Important Health System Project. I’m really excited by the project and the people with whom I’ll be working.

Of course, this new beginning also marks an ending and I truly will miss the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with over the past five years in my current organization. The healthcare world is small in the Lower Mainland, though, so I expect I will cross paths with a number of them in the years to come.

Also, given that I’m going to be working back in Vancouver, I can’t resist breaking out this poster again:

Escape From Surrey

Happy weekend, y’all!

  1. If we are linked in on LinkedIn or if we know each other IRL, you’ll hear about it soon, if you haven’t already. []

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Theatre Goer

Apparently I’m really into theatre all of the sudden, as last night I saw Red Rock Diner at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage.

Here the trailer:

The show was great – great music performed by an incredibly talented cast. I am always in awe of people who can sing (and boy, could these guys sing), but then to throw in super energetic dancing pretty much non-stop for 2 hours – well, I just have no idea how that is humanly possible.

*spoiler alert* {Don’t read any further if you don’t want to read spoilers!}

To say that this was a play about “five teens coming of age” is a bit of a stretch. The first half was basically a radio show – song after song after song, punctuated by Red Robinson’s crazy radio antics. Then the second half was a high school talent competition hosted by Red Robinson and in which, you guessed it, there was song after song. That is to say, there was pretty much no actual plot, let alone one about anybody coming of age. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it – it was very entertaining and, as I said, the cast was super talented, which was totally worth watching on its own. But perhaps they could do a better job of their description of the play.

There was some added excitement in the second half where they dragged people up on the stage to join them in their dancing. And can you guess who was the very first person they pulled up on stage for some dancing? That’s right – me! And I am nothing if not an attention whore, so I had no problem with it, though the little girl who got dragged up on the stage next looked like she wanted to be anywhere by on that stage. I’m pretty sure that they chose me because I was wearing my fabulous red dress that I bought in London as it’s not the first time that I was chosen by performers to join them on stage for some dancing while wearing that dress. Actually, now that I look at those photos from Ireland, I see that I was also wearing that dress when I got voluntold to be an whiskey tester at the Jameison factory. I think we can conclude that this dress is an attention getter. Because I have three replications. Hooray for science!

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah – the show. It was tonnes of fun and I totally recommend you go there1. Apparently they extended the show, so it’s now running until August 23.

The audience was told that we weren’t allowed to take photos during the show, but in the but that we’d be able to get photos of the show off their website. However, when I went to the Arts Club website to look at them, I found the link to their Flickr account and all of the photos are up as “all rights reserved”, rather than as a Creative Commons license, so I can’t legally use any of them on this posting. Instead you’ll just have to read my words and then you can go look at their photos on Flickr if you like.

  1. As per usual, I have no affiliation with the theatre company – just recommending it because I like it. []

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Bard BBQ!

And speaking of BBQs, I went to one last night. But not just any BBQ. A Bard-B-Q!

One of the things that has been on my 101 things to do in 1001 days list since it’s very first iteration1 has been to go to a Bard on the Beach show. And for some reason, every summer goes by and I don’t manage to get my butt down to Vanier Park for a performance. It’s very strange, because I really did want to go. I quite like Shakespeare. Hell, I did an entire class on “Acting Shakespeare” in my undergrad as part of my minor in Drama. I can still recite this monologue that I memorized in *high school*.

Well, as luck would have it, I got some serious motivation to attend a Bard on the Beach performance of Cymbeline as I won tickets as part of a crazy awesome prize package!

A few weeks ago, someone tweeted about a contest that Lonetree Cider2 was having on Facebook. A typical “like our FB page, enter our contest” type of contest. But I noticed that at the time, which was only a few days before the contest ended, there were fewer people entered in the contest than there were prizes, so I figured my odds were pretty good to at least win one of the 15 pairs of tickets to see Cymbeline at Bard on the Beach 3. And then as soon as I entered the contest, I promptly forget about it. Until they called to tell me that I won the grand prize! The grand prize consisted of:

  • two tickets to Cymbeline
  • for the special Bard-B-Q event, where you get to see the show, then have a salmon BBQ dinner
  • then you get to stick around to watch the Celebration of Lights firework show as you enjoy coffee and dessert
  • a one night stay at the Granville Island Hotel, which is within stumbling distance of Bard, so you could enjoy some wine, beer, and/or Lonetree Cider with your dinner
  • breakfast at Dockside Restaurant at the hotel

Not a bad little prize pack, if I do say so myself!

Bard on the Beach

First and foremost, the performance of Cymbeline was awesome. I’d never seen, read, nor heard *anything* about this play before. I even had to go read the Wikipedia entry on it to make sure I’d have an idea of what was going on in it. The cast, however, did such an amazing job that I’m sure even if I hadn’t read it, I would have been able to follow along with no problem. To make things even more interesting, there was a very small cast, so each actor played multiple roles, yet you were never confused as to who was who – even in the scenes where Anton Lipovetsky, the actor who played both Posthumus and Cloten, played Cloten dressed up as Posthumus – thanks to Lipovetsky’s fantastic acting. He conveyed each character so well that you felt like you were watching different people when he changed roles. There was even some hilarious stuff at the end when actors were changing from one character to another *on stage*, ripped off one sash and putting on a different cloak, their mannerisms changing as quickly as the costume! All in all, a fantastically produced play that I highly recommend you check out if you get the chance!

The rest of the evening also did not disappoint. The salmon BBQ was excellent, the view of the fireworks was great (though the music wasn’t all that fantastic, but the fireworks themselves were super cool), the hotel was lovely and breakfast at the Dockside Restaurant was the perfect way to cap it all off!

Image Credit: Posted by Mandy Jansen on Flickr. Several years ago. But since I was too lazy to take my own photo, I just search Flickr for Create Commons licensed photos and that’s what I found!

  1. i.e., since Jan 12, 2009! []
  2. Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the companies I’m mentioning and linked to in this posting, other than having won the contest to get stuff from them for free. But since I liked all the stuff I got, I should share the love! []
  3. I will also now admit that I selfishly did not re-tweet the contest or link to it on my Facebook page, as I wanted to keep my odds as high as possible rather than increase my competition. Because, when you think about it, there’s no incentive with a contest like this for me to share the info! Good lesson in social media marketing, now that I think about it. []

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Bikes and BBQs

Apparently I wanted to spend this weekend past covered in grease, because I spent the lion share of my time biking and cleaning my new BBQ.

On the biking front, a friend of mine recently got a new bike and was wanting to do some biking this weekend, so we decided to bike over to MEC to pick up some bike stuff, then we tested out the route he would ride to work if decided to do that1, and then we decided to try out the Central Valley Greenway, a cycling/pedestrian route that runs basically underneath the Skytrain’s Millennium Line. In total, we biked more than 26 km!

Now, I should point out that I didn’t bike to MEC from my place – that would be crazy. When I bought my bike, I made sure to buy one that I could fit in my Smart Car trunk. In order to do that, I have to take off both wheels, but they are quick release wheels to make the process easier. Unfortunately, since I haven’t taken those wheels off in about a year, the “quick” part of quick release wheel would be better described as “trying-to-remember-how-the-hell-these-wheels-come-off-and-then-how-they-go-back-on-and-now-I’m-all-sweaty-and-covered-in-bicycle-grease” release wheels.

Bike Tangent: I biked to work for the first time about a week ago and have been totally remiss in blogging about it! At Christmas, my mom gave me money to buy a rack and panniers for my bike and somehow it took me until July to actually buy them. But buy them I did and I biked to work and it was super fantastic. I’m very fortunate that the building where I work has a free gym, which means that I have a place to shower when I bike to work. It also has a locked bike room in the parkade to keep your bike in – and the room is in a high traffic location and there are regular security patrols of the parkade, so I feel safe locking my bike up there. And my panniers are like the purse that Hermione has in the 7th Harry Potter book where she fit in all their supplies, including a tent, into a tiny handbag because she put an Undetectable Extension Charm on it. That is to say, I can fit a ridiculous amount of stuff in there2! Sadly, I didn’t bike to work at all last week, as I had a few days where I had to go to offsite meetings and thus needed to have my car, and then it rained. But I did bike to work yesterday and it was just as awesome.

Pannier

Pannier!

Bike

My bike locked up in the bike room

Before I went out biking on Saturday, I went down to Point Roberts to pick up some BBQ grates that I ordered on Amazon.com and had to get shipped there because they don’t ship to Canada. I needed new grates because I acquired a BBQ with my new condo from the seller of the condo, but it turned out that he didn’t clean said BBQ and a few weekends back I tried to clean the existing grates and once I got down past the 87 inches worth of charred grease, I discovered that the grates were completely rusted. Seeing as I prefer to cook my food on something that isn’t likely to kill me, I opted to get some new grates. Before I could use said grates, though, I had to clean the rest of the BBQ. And let me tell you, that was quite a task. Like the old grates, there was about a million inches of charred grease inside the BBQ, which took lots of scrubbing and scrapping to get off. Which did result in my being pretty covered in grease. But in the end, I got it clean enough and then I made some delicious chicken and all was right with the world.

Brand new BBQ grill

Brand new stainless steel grill.

BBQ chicken

My first BBQ’d food!

Greek Salad and BBQ chicken

Delicious Greek salad and BBQ’d chicken breast.

BBQ Tangent: While talking with my mom about my BBQ, she told me about this news story, where a woman ate meat that had been cooked on a BBQ that had been cleaned by a BBQ brush from which wire bristles had broken off and ended up lodged in her throat. Which lead to her needing several surgeries and “12 days in hospital, including eight in the ICU hooked up to both breathing and feeding tubes”!!! So instead of having a BBQ brush, I have a grill stone for cleaning my grill. Which works amazingly, FYI. Also, the previous owner also left behind a BBQ brush, from which half the bristles were either completely missing or broken:

BBQ brush left behind by former owner.

Don’t worry, Mom – I didn’t use that brush. It went right into the garbage after I took that photo!

I have to say, after seeing that brush, I’m *really* glad I decided to buy new grates!

  1. His commute to work is sooo much nicer than mine. Part of it is along the seawall! Jealous! []
  2. For example, I fit my giant bike lock, a dress and shoes, a towel and soap, my make-up and jewelry, my wallet and keys, my breakfast and my lunch… and had plenty of room to spare! []

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Framed

One of the many ways in which I was spoiled by my mother for my MBA graduation was that she bought me a frame for my diploma1. But not just any frame. No, I needed a fancy pants Sauder School of Business frame. In my defence, my PhD is also from UBC and I already have a fancy pants UBC frame, so I wanted something that would make this degree look different than that one.

Anyway, while my mom was here, we ordered the frame and then I dutifully waited 10 business days for shipping… and it turned out they sent the wrong frame! Well, technically they sent the right frame with the wrong mat. Instead of sending me the mat with the Sauder logo and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School wordmark – I was in the graduate school, after all – they sent me one with just the Sauder logo. Like as if I were an *undergrad*! The horror!

I emailed the company that sells the frames and they quickly shipped me a new mat and then I waited something less than 10 business days and then all was right with the world. Here is my newly framed MBA:

MBA frame

And here is a close up of the Sauder School of Business logo *AND* Robert H. Lee Graduate School wordmark:

MBA frame

It also came with this swanky Sauder logo medallion at the top:

MBA frame

Also, I was surprised to discover that the frame was made in Canada:

MBA frame

Except then I noticed that the frame was made in Italy:

MBA frame

So I guess the “made in Canada” refers to the mat and/or medallion? At any rate, I have a lovely frame for my hard-earned degree. Thanks, Mom!

Perhaps hanging things on walls should be my task for this weekend?

  1. Being that I’m the type to lose and/or spill things on important documents, I wanted to get my diploma into the frame to protect if from me. []

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Frog Stand

In my old apartment, I had built in gas fireplace with a spot above the mantle that was originally meant to hold those old boxy cathode ray tube TVs, but which made a very good place for a frog tank.

Christmas tree

Apparently the only photo I have of the frog tank above the fireplace is from last Christmas! You can just barely see it in the top right corner of that photo

My new place doesn’t have the built in gas fireplace, so when I moved in, I was faced with the question of where to put the frogs. I needed a piece of furniture that was strong enough to hold the tank, that had room for the two electrical cords required (one for the filter and one for the heater) and, ideally, that looked nice too. When I first moved in, I put them on top of a small bookcase that I had1, which seemed fairly sturdy, but I wasn’t 100% sure it would be able to sustain the weight over the long-term.

One of my friends suggested that I should get a stone pillar – like the kind you might see in a garden, but I looked at a few places and couldn’t find one. And then I got the brilliant idea that perhaps I should actually look a a built-for-purpose aquarium stand. I looked around online and found a few things that would be serviceable, but I decided I should check out the store where I usually go for my frog needs, Aquariums West2. I needed some new filter pads for the frog tank anyway, so I headed downtown yesterday to the store to pick those up and check out my frog tank-supporting options.

They had some tall black plinths which were very nice, but cost nearly $200 and of all the things that I want to spend $200 on, plinths are not high up on my list. But, as luck would have it, they had a couple of small aquarium stands that were end of the line, so they’d built them up and were selling them at a deep discount. Which meant that I got an aquarium stand for cheap AND I didn’t have to put it together3!

And so I bought the stand and put it in a different corner of the living room than I’d had the tank in on the bookshelf – I’d put the bookshelf in was a corner between my two giant living room windows and so the tank was getting too much sunshine, causing the algae to grow like crazy. I’m hoping that having the tank not in direct sunlight will prevent that from occurring again!

New aquarium stand for the frog tank

New frog tank stand!

  1. All my other bookcases were too tall to put the tank on top, but the other shelves had closed backs so I wouldn’t have anywhere to put the cords other than running them out of the front, which would look silly. Plus, they are Ikea bookcases, so I don’t have a lot of confidence in their strength. []
  2. Note that I don’t have any affiliation with Aquariums West – I just like the store as the people there are knowledgable and helpful. And they only teased me a little when I asked them where they kept their terrariums with spiders in them so that I could always be sure to steer clear of that part of the store! []
  3. While I do enjoy assembling furniture, when it comes to furniture that needs to support a lot of weight, I much prefer that the assembly be completed by a professional! []