Friday, December 27, 2013
That is my friend Nick in the middle there. He is a great sport in case you can't tell. That said, I made him a big breakfast and bought his lunch in exchange for the labor. Should he have ordered two servings of filet mignon, I still would have gotten the better deal.
Halfway through the process, it started to rain. It is hard to read instructions when the ink on the installation booklet runs and the pages all stick together. If the trampoline falls apart, I blame the elements. It is sad when you have to argue about who gets to go under the top to tighten bolts. Thankfully the safety net was pretty straight forward and we were able to call it done right after we hit the three hour mark.
Word to the wise on this one, get more than 4 hours sleep before tackling trampoline assembly and if you can avoid it, don't do it hungover. Thank you Ultega not only for a superior affordable product that will keep my children occupied for hours but also for the reminder that I am no longer in my twenties and unlike my children on this trampoline, I no longer simply bounce back.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Christmas Eve and The USS Flagg
The Flagg was the GI Joe Battleship playset. The retail cost was $109.99 in 1986, roughly $215.00 today. This was the largest playset available at the time and was over 7.5 feet long. I was eight or nine according to a credible source who was interviewed for this entry (thanks Mom) and I wanted it for Christmas. My parent's hope was that I would lose interest over the span of a year but when I asked for it again, they caved. What followed was a harrowing experience...
The picture at the beginning of this entry is of my father early on in assembly. He started the night before Christmas and continued until it was evident that a single night would not get the job done. The process continued into the following day and covered a span of over eight hours. From my online research, the instruction manual was six pages long with thirty-one steps, each of which may have had as many as four steps unto itself. Two of these pages were dedicated to sticker instructions. You can see the sticker sheet in the photo above. There were two additional sticker sheets of this size to apply.
Mom remembers that my father complained about the quality of the directions. I've looked that them online and they don't seem too bad but I also realize that is easy to say twenty-five years later when I'm not sitting in front of literally hundreds of little plastic parts that I have to make a seven foot aircraft carrier out of. My father also had to work on Christmas, the last thing you would want to do after a night and morning like this one. Dad said if he knew the trouble it would have been he would not have bought it for me. He listed this as his worst Christmas ever...
To me, this was the most awesome Christmas ever! Other kids in the neighborhood could have cared less about what was under their trees...we wore this thing out. It was so big we kept it on a bed in a spare room. That's right, this toy had it's own bed in our house. It's kind of a bragging right to say that you had it, some people don't even believe me (kind of like when you say you beat Ghosts 'n Goblins on NES, but that's another story). A cook at a restaurant near the house I grew up in has made reference to the Flagg when talking to Mom about times he came to the house to hang out as a child.
At some point the fun wore off and the playset, which broke into sections, was moved to the basement. It was later sold at a garage sale for $25.00. Mom says that Dad joked that there was a thousand dollars of labor thrown in for free. It had to be loaded into the buyer's station wagon in pieces, an event that a part of me seems to remember after talking to my mom about it. On a side note, this toy has become a Holy Grail of sorts for collectors. A bad example with missing pieces and no box will sell for $500.00. A complete set, in the box, may go for a thousand or more.
Parents will do damn near anything to make their kids happy. I'm not looking forward to the assembly I have to do this weekend but I know how much it meant to me as a kid to have those things on Christmas morning and I want to give that feeling to my children. I also want them to know the REAL meaning of Christmas and the feeling of love and family. I hope you are able to share all of these things with your children and loved ones this weekend.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013
Friday, December 13, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
I woke up Wednesday morning and was going about my normal routine. Things were going well, nothing out of the ordinary. Hot coffee, breakfast, computer on, olivia was out the door and Ruby was content with her cereal. Maybe I am partially to blame for what happened. I get distracted by e-mail, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. I'm going to tell the rest of the story through the text messages that went back and forth between me and the wife. I apologize for the lack of pictures...I was a little distraught and it slipped my mind. For clarity, my texts are in yellow, my wife's in red.
Me: Ruby colored on the f#%*ing tv...
olivia: Oh no.
olivia: Deep breaths.
olivia: Do I need to come home.
Me: No, you'll need to be as far away as possible so you don't go down with me.
olivia: Remember she's only two.
Me: She's about to be zero...
olivia: You better not hurt my baby.
Me: She hurt mine...
olivia: lol. I'm gonna hurt you.
Thankfully it came out with a paper towel, water, and a little elbow grease. I'm glad we buy the washable, non-permanent crayons and markers. Never a dull moment...
Friday, December 6, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
After lunch we were in such a rush to be merry after our eating and drinking that we watched the new Elf on the Shelf movie, An Elf's Story. Speaking of PR reps, if there was anything that could guarantee that an elf would appear on every shelf in America it was an animated film. If this was not already a certifiable cultural phenomenon, the deal has been sealed. Our girls have been going nuts over this one asking to watch it again and again, good prep work now that our elf has arrived. More or less a half hour commercial, the movie teaches the kids about the importance of not touching the elf and the important part, that he is Santa's spy.
I'm not sure at what point Santa became so involved in espionage. Actually, it kind of begs the question, what gave the Elf on the Shelf people the right to re-write or alter the Christmas mythology? I mean, what would be to stop me from saying "all right, lets not forget the part of Christmas where everyone sends me $29.95." More or less, that is what they have done. They came up with a very clever way to make money off the holiday. I don't remember anything in the carols about these elves being a part of Santa's omnipresent nature. That and I fear that one day my Children will realize that if the elf isn't around they don't have to worry about behaving.
All that said, next year I am going to release my own version, The Elf on the Mantle. The only difference will be that my elves are in your home year round so you can keep your kids in check. Instead of Christmas garb their will be a whole line of clothes for different holidays throughout the year. We'll even have outfits for Thanksgiving.