I have battled the evil of the convoluted instruction manual, and I have won!
With some help from Farmdad, but the whole instructions part... that was me.
And it even came out looking like the picture on the box at the end!
So, now I have a new desk, the old one is set aside for... storage, and stuff. Later, for to put the laptop on once I have my desktop machine on the "big" desk.
For the moment though, I need to reorganize things, and put my CDs on the shelf of the desk, instead of the little underside end shelf of the coffee table, and things like that.