Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Watch Out Santa...Assembly Required

Yes, we're still Jingle Bell Rockin'....all this month. My prize this week is a signed copy of Lone Star Beasts (books one and two of my High Plains Shifters series) along with a deck of Ellora's Cave playing cards. Comment it up, folks, and one of you will win my prize to be announced on Friday by our own Natalie Dae!

My biggest holiday memories often come from the most STRESSFUL moments. I know you know what I'm talking about. Every year, when the kids were little, my honey and I would head out to do our Santa Shopping. We'd have our completed list of requests and hit Toys R Us hoping they'd have 'in stock' the most popular toys of the season. Without fail, every year there was at least one thing that was sold out, out of stock or SOMETHING. Now, let me say right off the bat that I'm married to a hard-headed man. God love him! He's one of those...I can DO IT...guys who relishes the idea of getting out the tool box and putting stuff together. Unfortunately for me, he likes company when he does it and if slot A doesn't fit properly into slot B and the directions happen to be in Chinese then I know for a fact this little 'assembly endeavor' is going to test my patience BIG TIME.

So what is wrong with paying Toys R Us a $20 fee for assembling that bike? Not a dang thing, I always say. They'll do it there, do it right and no nasty tempers are involved. I'm all about avoiding that. But Mr. Reg? No, I believe he thrives on controversy. Just my luck. We've been married for 28 years and I've long ago given up on convincing him to just 'hire the professionals'. He's not going to do it.

Our most interesting Christmas Eve assembly project happened many years ago when our son was just a little dude. I think maybe six or seven. He was MAD about Ghostbusters. The movie was huge and the stores were stocked with all sorts of Ghostbusters junk. From nerf Ghost Blasters to action figures to the Ghostbusters car. He wanted it all. So that's exactly what Santa got him. Every Christmas Eve we have a big bash at our house where family comes, we listen to Christmas music and we have a big spread set up in the dining room. The day had been consummed with getting everything ready, dealing with the little ones, etc. You know the drill. So by the time the kids are calmed down and in bed, it was well after 1 am. We were exhausted but had to do the Santa stuff.

We took care of the carrots (for the reindeer), the cookies and the milk, careful to leave crumbs and such so the kids would have evidence Santa had been there. Everything else was set out under the tree when we got to the assembly of the Ghostbusters Firehouse. Remember the movie? They operated from an old firehouse complete with the fireman's pole they'd slide down when they went after the ghosts. So we open the box, my husband confident this would be a snap. I wasn't nearly so optimistic when I found all the hundreds of little pieces and pages and pages of assembly instructions. At least they were in English! Surprisingly all went well until I reached into the bottom of the box. I'd pulled out a HUGE ROLL OF STICKERS. The entire firehouse had numbered stickers to use in decorating the thing. So we began with number one, found the spot and began applying the damn things. To give you an example of how tedious this job was, let me just say that sticker number 218 was a teeny tiny DOORKNOB. It took us hours of fitting the stickers to the right spot and at one point, I believe I remarked the elves' fingers were definitely needed to do this right. They have little hands, right? Two frustrating hours later we poured ourselves into bed.

By five am, our bright eyed babies were standing by our bed shouting that Santa had come and we had to get up RIGHT NOW and come see. We both groaned realizing we'd slept a total of two hours. It was gonna be a looooong day.

Care to share some of your "Santa Assembly" nightmares?

38 comments:

Tina said...

the only assembly story I got is when we got ourselves a book case for christmas...well hubby insisted he could do it without directions...needless to say it didnt work out....but the directions turned out to be in spanish, and japanese...we had to go online to get the english version

Regina Carlysle said...

OMG...how frustrating Tina! I think that crap happens to all of us. I love it when the holes don't line up with the screws. Makes you wanna chunk the whole thing against the wall. These days they include instructions in so many languages. It's a good thing! The last time we assembled furniture the screws stripped out the wood. It was a mess. Didn't take us long to figure that great DEAL I got was because the thing was a bunch of JUNK.

desi said...

We bought one of those Hot Wheels tracks the really big ones. It took me four hours to put it together and my husband almost two hours to do the stickers. I know my husband did not go to sleep that Christmas. I got maybe an hour and we waited and waited for them two wake up so we could get the presents done and eat breakfast. We took naps while the boys played all day.

Regina Carlysle said...

Ohhhh Desi. We did one of those too. I'd forgotten that but it took forever! The year we did the firehouse, we had such little sleep, our family on Christmas took pity on us and sent us off to bed while they played with the kids and all the new toys. We were soooooo damn exhausted.

Anonymous said...

No assembly stories here....but...I've had my most stressful day so far last Saturday.

I stood six hours in the kitchen baking cookies, fruit bread, mince pies and a cream cake....phew!!!!

Well, that's like assembling...right? Assembling all those ingredients to get something edible out of them...hehe!!!

Valerie
in Germany

Avril Ashton said...

No specific holiday assembly stories, but the Spousal Equivalent always insists on assembling whatever we buy. I always sit over in the corner biting my nails, trying not to be too discouraging when I say, 'babe, let's wait for a professional.'

He gives me the 'oh, ye of little faith' look and somehow gets it together, always. I save face by saying of course I knew you could do it. Would I be with you if you wasn't handy around the house?'

:) works everytime

BrennaLyons said...

Snicker... Trying to blow up an inflatable sled. Tamer and I were both sick. He had the flu, and I had pneumonia...and there we were, passing it back and forth, both of us wheezing. We didn't have a pump back then. Learned our lesson about that one. Oh, yes...we sure did. It still looked a little wilted the net morning, but it was sort of inflated.

Brenna

BrennaLyons said...

Yes, baking is assembling. It's also chemistry class.

Brenna

C. Zampa said...

Oh, how I SOOOO don't miss assembly night! Where are those damn elves when you need them?

One Christmas, I was careless and left the box for a Barbie thing-a-majig in the closet, and my daughter found it. What was it doing THERE, she asked.

Quick on my tired, tired feet, I told her Santa was so busy that he asked me to put it together for him. Ugh. No more. Those days are gone. But, now that I SAY they're gone, maybe I do miss them just a tad.

Cute blog, Regina!

Cathy M said...

You brought back so many memories of Christmas with our kidlets. My hubby was the same about doing it himself when it came to assembly, all last minute, I might add, lol.

Then he would spend all Christmas morning trying to help the boy's put together whatever new fangled toy they had received. He was worth his weight in gold on those occassions, since I hate reading directions!

Regina Carlysle said...

Valerie, honey, I feel your pain. I've done the same thing. Every year with the freakin' cookies. In my book that's assembly! And yes, It can be disastrous. Every time my honey would mention it was almost time to make the cookies I'd cringe. All that glittery, shiny sugary stuff EVERYWHERE. It's totally exhausting. I don't know why anyone thinks this is FUN. Yes, call me Grinch.

Regina Carlysle said...

Avril, I hear ya. Mine believes he is a MASTER at assembly but honestly...he cusses and fusses through the whole thing. Every damn time. And I'm thinking that fort 20 bucks we could have saved a ton of time and stress.

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh Brenna, Honey. That's seriously above and beyond the call of duty. I swear. We tried the blow up thing without a pump but it wasn't at Christmas. It was in the summer when honey took the kids shopping for blow-up things for the pool. Thought I'd pass the hell out.

Regina Carlysle said...

That was good 'thinking on your feet' C! Close close call. LOL.

Regina Carlysle said...

I don't have patience for instructions either, Cathy, and that's a fact. I tend to skim them which gets me in lots of trouble. Batteries was always one of those last minute items, I'd forget and have to rush back to the store for. GAH.

I'm remembering again the 'race track' thing from one year. Oh my GOD...took up one full half of the living room and hours and hours of connecting the track. When they were finished playing with it, guess who had to disassemble it and put it all away? Yeah.

wendy said...

I put everything together for the kids my ex just couldn't do it right he always had stuff left over and would say it would be alright without it so after taking it all apart and putting it all back together the right way I wouldn't let he do the assembly anymore I just did it myself.

Jennifer Mathis said...

I have no assembly storys( I send all that need put together to grandpa's work shed) but on that note I'm sure grandpa has a ton of storys lol
meandi09@yahoo.com

Madison Scott said...

My hubby always spends half the day putting everything together for the girls. I will admit that sometimes it's fun to watch him try and figure out these toys. lol.

Tess MacKall said...

Number 218. Oh God. I feel for ya.And I remember all those assembly projects too. Only I had no Mr. Tess to help and for the most part I paid the extra 20 to Toys R Us. But there are things that you still have to assemble--even when you think you don't have to. sighhhhh

Cool memory, hon.

Paris said...

Hubby has always been great at assembling anything mechanical but the fun times always came when there weren't enough screws or the holes didn't line up. Since he had a mini Home Depot in the garage he could usually figure it out. Of course we always found it hilarious that the stuff it took hours to put together, the boys could take apart in about fifteen minutes:-)

Anne said...

I have no Christmas assembly stories, but I've put together several pieces of Sauder furniture. Helpful hint: no matter how WRONG the directions seem, do it exactly like it's written.

Regina Carlysle said...

Wendy, you are a better woman than I. This shit just frustrates me to no end.

Regina Carlysle said...

That's the RIGHT IDEA, Jennifer.

Regina Carlysle said...

These guys really get the tough jobs, don't they Madison? LOL.

Regina Carlysle said...

Yep, Tess, I'd rather pay the pros. Any Day.

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh I KNOW, Paris. Those holes that don't line up are the most frustrating things EVER. Remember one Christmas Eve my honey and his buddy (who was visiting us over Christmas) headed out to the garage to assemble a ping pong table. OMGEEEEEEE. After hours of wrangling the damn thing, they found they'd put it together BACKWARDS and had to start all over.

Regina Carlysle said...

I'll remember that Anne. Honestly, I just don't try to do that stuff. Life is difficult enough! LOL

darkreader said...

I remember getting my daughter one of those kitchens to play with and it took about 3 hours! The directions were in English but I swear they read Japanese to me!

elaing8 said...

I have not had any assembly mishaps.I only had to buy for nieces and nephews so I always leave the assembling for others Christmas day after they were opened..and usually my brother or sister or good old grandpa would help the kids assemble the toys.
Thanks for sharing your memory,I remember when Ghostbusters were the IT toys.

Regina Carlysle said...

I never had to do a kitchen, Darkreader. Santa brought my daughter one of those Little Tykes plastic ones many moons ago but it was fortunately already assembled. Now the Power Wheels Jeep and Barbie car? Lots of stickers involved with those. Now the major gifts seem to be electronics and they can handle ALL of that stuff much better than us. LOL

Regina Carlysle said...

Elaing8...LUCKY YOU! LOL

Jen B. said...

A couple of years ago we purchased one of those life like robot horses for our daughter. I had to order it online because it was sold out everywhere. So step one, where the hell to put the HUGE box when it was delivered. Of course, it got delivered AFTER she got home from school but I managed to convince the UPS driver to basically leave it on the driveway. Step two, attach head to body. Our son came in while this was happening and of course went nuts. It was pretty creepy! We came pretty close to sitting on him to shut him up! Lesson, involve the older kids right off the bat because they will try to ruin everything!

Natalie Dae said...

Oh no @ only two hours sleep. Bless you both. Your post made me smile. We've had the guy at the store make bikes before too. It's so much less stress!

:o)

flchen1 said...

Oy, laughing with you all on those assembly nightmares! We grown-ups luck out with all the assembly required packages, don't we? ;) I hate those times when you're almost there but can't find a critical part that just HAPPENS to be missing! Ugh!

SilverWolf said...

My ex-husband bought me a stero system years ago for christmas. It came with a cabin type stand to store it in. Anyway he said he could do it himself. When he got done the side panels were turned the wrong way so the finshed ends are at the back and the unfinshed ends are face out. Would you believe he refused to take it apart and fix it. To this day it's still wrong and I just haven't gotten around to fixing it yet. Ah well that's life.

Zina said...

I try my best not to every give anything that requires assembly. I do have a Christmas tree story. My husband was out to sea so I went with the 3 little ones and picked out a tree, brought it home. It was too tall so I started sawing the bottom off and the saw slipped and cut into my hand at the base of my index finger. I brushed it off and started sawing and the saw slipped again and went right into the same cut. I now sport a scar. Then I get the tree up and decorated and am sitting on the couch nursing the youngest when I see movement from my side vision. As I turn my head to look the tree comes crashing down towrds me and the baby and lands right next to her head, surprisingly only few ornaments were broke.
Zina

Anne Rainey said...

I'm rather lucky because I have a husband who is not just a computer genius, but also a handyman. He can fix, put together, or rig just about anything. LOL So I can't really recall any assembly nightmares right off the top of my head. I'm sure we've had a few though!

What I do remember is the one very important tip my SIL shared with us years ago. She said, "always take those damn Barbies out of the box, remove the fifty thousand ties, put her back in the box and then wrap it. That way when your daughter goes to open it on Christmans morning and wants to play with it right away, you don't have to spend an hour just removing all the damn ties!" LOL

Seriously, what's with those things? They've got those dolls, tied, stapled and sewn to the box. They're a nightmare to open!

BrennaLyons said...

Anne,

I am with you. My husband is mechanical, and I'm not a slouch at putting things together with instructions, so that's not a problem for us. But those ties on the toys? Not interested in them at all.

Brenna