“Why would I pay someone else to do something I can do myself?” was always my motto. Indeed, that attitude has caused me more problems than you can shake an Allen wrench at.

In fact, do-it-yourself isn’t always such a red-hot idea. Often, having a pro do the job really does save time and money. But still, that independent streak lives within me and sometimes it rears its foolish head, much to my detriment.

Take, for instance, the patio furniture set I just bought. As an Amazon customer with an Amazon Prime account, it’s often easier to just order online and wait the short time to have it shipped. Under this account, the buyer doesn’t pay shipping charges, so it works well.

Realizing I needed some outdoor furniture for my screen porch, I decided upon wicker. Wicker is fairly expensive and besides that, unless you buy from someone who delivers, wicker chairs are pretty hard to fit in the back of my Chevy Trax. So, I turned to Amazon.

There, I found scads of chair-and-table sets and after careful perusal, I decided upon a set of two chairs and a small, glass-topped table. The price was right, and all looked good. I read the reviews and was encouraged by a lady who bragged that she put her set together all by herself and it was so easy.

“If she can do it, I can do it,” I told myself and so clicked on “Buy Now” and the deal was done.

Less than one week later, a square package landed on my front porch. It didn’t look big enough to hold two chairs and a table. But when I attempted to pick it up, I found out why. It was so heavy that it required the assistance of a wheelbarrow to get it to the screen porch, where it would certainly go together in one, short session. Wrong.

Opening the box showed the various parts wrapped together in yards of clear plastic. It took no little time to disengage the furniture parts from the plastic. At last, I had a stack of stuff that bore no resemblance to anything in the picture. The directions looked simple enough, so it was on to Step 1.

It sounded so simple. “Attach backrest to seat with 1 number 640 screw. The package came with a handful of screws that looked like the one in the picture, so all was good, at least so far. The problem came to how the two pieces went together. I gathered that the part that with the 90- degree angled bit sticking out was the back. Or was it the seat? The instructions didn’t indicate what was what. So, it was trial-and-error, mostly error, from that point on.

Finally, the two pieces were joined together, but it didn’t look right. It became apparent that what I thought was the seat was the backrest. So, it was disassemble time and try again. This time, it looked good. The directions said not to fully tighten the screw, so I didn’t. Always follow the directions, I say.

Next, it was time to attach the armrest/sides. Again, I was unsure of just how these went together, but after several false starts, I decided upon a configuration. Wrong again. The seat was upside down because it had swiveled around because the screw was not tight. I began to doubt the instructions.

So, it was necessary to take the thing apart again and turn the parts around, so everything was in the proper alignment. Finally, I got one side complete. Now on to the other side. This, too, went into place as hoped and my chair was complete. It was time to tighten all the screws.

The kit came with a hex wrench for tightening the screws. The trouble was, you could only tighten them about a quarter-turn at a time because the short part of the wrench would fetch up in the wicker. It was a tedious process and I decided to take a rest and perhaps even sip on an adult beverage. Bad idea.

Clearly, I was becoming frustrated. But refreshed and re-energized, I want back at it. While tightening the second screw, the wrench slipped from my grip and landed on the floor. No problem. Picking up the wrench I continued on. The wrench kept slipping, partly because it was so small and hard to get a grip on. The adult beverage may have had some bearing on it too.

About halfway through the process, the wrench again fell to the floor, but this time instead of landing flat, it landed in a way that allowed it to fall through the cracks to the ground below. With that, my DIY project ended for another day.

As it stands, I have one chair assembled but rickety, and another chair and a table to go. Throughout this process, I learned one thing, and that is if you can buy it already assembled, do it.

I hope to get my project completed by the Fourth of July but am not making any promises. If you attempt the same route for patio furniture, all I can say is good luck and hang on to that wrench.

Tom Seymour, of Frankfort, is a homeowner, gardener, forager, naturalist, Registered Maine Guide, amateur astronomer, magazine and newspaper columnist and book author.