Friday, March 13, 2009

The Marvelous Toy(s)- Part 1

So I have finally finished assembling the kids' Christmas toys.... Yes, I am aware it is now March. Allow me to explain.

As with everything in life, we must start with the parents. Specifically my parents. Actually, they no longer consider themselves my parents- I am just the vessel from which the grandchildren spring forth. And the Nazi who takes away the cookies and drives the minivan.

The two 'Artists Formerly Known as Mom and Dad' are now the proud, loving, doting, over-indulgent Nonna and Papa. They are both retired and are realizing the financial goals they worked for over 45 years to achieve- piss away all their retirement income buying insane amounts of elaborate crap for their grandkids. My mother's specific aims for retirement are actually a little more involved- her plan is to spend her free time researching various toy-like paraphernalia that will enrich and expand young minds while simultaneously driving their parents crazy. The more exotic and rare the object, the better. Did I mention that she is a former teacher with 2 Masters degrees? Yeah. Clearly I'm in trouble. My dad's sole aim is to piss away the money. This is the man who has a total panic attack if he has less than $300 cash in his wallet (please don't mug him). I imagine that most of the conversations at my parents' house go something like this:

Mom (aka Nonna): So I found this really great thing to buy for the grandkids... it's a toy train they can ride on that's powered by rocket fuel and pixie sticks. It's manufactured in Djibouti by a relocated colony of Trappist monks, but they can ship it to the US disassembled in 4 unmarked crates with instructions in Aramaic. Fully assembled the toy is roughly the size of a city bus and it only costs $9,000. I want to buy it.

What my dad (aka Papa) hears: Blah, blah, blah.... buy something for grandkids... blah, blah, blah....need money... blah.

Dad's (Papa's) response: There's money in my wallet. If there's not enough in there, check the mattress. And make me a sandwich while you're up.

So you can only imagine what I am up against dealing with these 2 people. It is worth noting that they are only interested in the acquisition and distribution of toys, not the assembly and maintenance of toys; for that they have me, their toy bitch. Mere words cannot explain the depth and breadth of the Nonna and Papa toy insanity, so I will now present the rest of my argument in a photo-essay.

Exhibit A: E's present- The Playmobil Hospital. It's from Germany. It's effin cool.

The packaging looks innocuous enough.

Please note the beer in the above photo. It is included for scale and because we will need it later.

This is an award winning toy. The award: Most Likely to Induce Parental Alcoholism.

I open the box and am confronted with this:

I didn't read the warning on the box (which was in 14 different languages, none of which was English) that stated 'This box contains 90 billion fucking pieces'.

In order to start assembly, I decide to lay out all the pieces on the counter.

There's more...

And a few more pieces. Hey, I wonder what's in that blue box?

It's more incredibly tiny pieces of plastic crap! I never would have expected that.

So let's take a look at how all this crap is supposed to be assembled. The approximately 9,000 small plastic pieces need to be assembled using the approximately 14,000 microscopic plastic pieces and the special assembly tool (included). Pay special attention to the size of the tool and the connection pieces. Yes, that is a quarter.

This is the craziest shit the Germans have come up with since invading Poland.

I also had to insert the little white plastic circle in the upper right hand corner of the plastic piece below (and 4,927 other pieces) - without the use of a special tool. Do you see the part I am referring to? Of course you don't- it's so fucking tiny it only exists on a molecular level and you need an electron microscope to see it.

Here we are in mid-assembly. Any guesses as to what component I am putting together?

It's the world's tiniest defibrillator. I'm not shitting you. Look closer.

Yes, that's an oxygen tank next to the defibrillator. Let me state for the record that all of the parts for both components were packaged in different bags with other random pieces that didn't go together. Not that I'm bitter about that at all.

An aerial view of the nursery. I will point out the minute details you will be apt to overlook, such as the bottle warmer with 3 separate bottles, the tiny chart on the shelf, and the fact that the baby bassinet required 13 separate pieces to assemble it.

The Playmobil Hospital also comes fully equipped with a trauma department. This is useful for staging the 'aftermath' portion of the 7 state killing spree fantasy you will undoubtedly indulge in after assembling this toy.

Playmobil Hospital Final Assembly Statistics:

Number of pieces: 23, 942
Time for assembly: 4 hours (+ 3 months)
Number of pieces that fell off when moving toy from kitchen to living room: 17
Distance toy moved: 10 feet
New words learned by children during assembly: 3 (fuck, motherfucker, stupidgoddamnpieceofshit)
Number of violent fantasies involving German toy company executives: too many to count
Likelihood that this toy is my parents' retribution for when I dyed my hair purple in high school: high

Final commentary from E on his new toy:
'I really like my new hospital. It's the toy I always wanted.'

That's great honey. It only cost Mommy the last few shreds of her sanity, but Nonna and Papa will be so happy to hear that you love your new toy.

Up next: Exhibit B- M's Present.


Trish said...

Oh Lordy. That almost looks like an SNL skit of a toy. I can't believe you really put it together!

Jenn said...

Reading this made me pee my pants a little...and want to drink! You're the best mom ever for putting it together!

chipz95 said...

What a cool toy - and a cool mom for putting it together. You're a better mom than me - I would have snuck it back to the store or sold it on Craig's List before I attempted to put it together.

All About Amelia said...

i'm with the prior posters. i can't believe you put it together. i will heed your warning and avoid playmobil in the future.

shalimamma said...

Oh. My. Goodness... You are freaking hilarious. I am totally following your blog ;)