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Plastic Wonderment, Soon Forgotten


In a nasal monotone voice, the four year old walked up to me and said “Anmy, will you put together my Frozen Elsa Play Set Castle?” It was during the clean up of said child's birthday party at my aunt's house. Ripped shreds of Frozen wrapping paper littered the floor. Disney had made a profit. I, being the kind and lovely human person I am, agreed to put together the play set. I had no choice, as all of my family were glaring over at me with a warm look, but a look that also said “You're the only one you can put this crap together, we did our time when you were a kid.”

The box the play set came in stood about three and a half feet tall, and around half a foot wide. Easily it was the largest gift the party, I picked the box up and took it to the four year old's bedroom before I began to unbox all the stuffs inside it. Carefully cutting through all the tape and glue used to seal the box with a pocket knife, I looked inside to see its contents. Glancing it over, I then commenced with the traditional “dumping it all out in the floor and seeing what we got” method. Nearly everything came in a plastic bag, sorted by size and odds of loosing the part. Naturally, there was the typical set of stickers, and a sheet of instructions that promised ease of assembly.

The four year old came running into the room “Is it ready yet?” she asked in her distinct vocal tone. “No, I've only just started. I'll let you know when it's finished” I said, and she bounced out of her room. I began to sort all the various bits and pieces on the floor. Tiny things that were designed to get lost were placed in a cup on top of a kiddy chair to my right. All the other things I sorted from large to small in a fan like spread in front of me. Not looking at the instructions, I grabbed two large pieces that seemed to go together and snapped them together. I paused and thought “Maybe I should have read the instructions?” I looked, and I had done the right thing.

Following along with the instructions, I returned to putting the ice castle play set together. I had all of five minutes worth of peace and quiet when one of the persons responsible for buying the gift sauntered into the room. In their thick Southern drawl, their voice boom “I just want you to take a good look at all of that, and tell me how much you'd think it'ded cost.” I really didn't care how much the damn thing cost, I just wanted to get the job done so I could go home and play Jeopardy on my Nintendo (party all day, party all night).

Trying to be polite, but wanting to be left alone, I kept eye contact to a minimum and said “Oh, I dunno. Maybe $80?” The reaction was loud and obnoxious. “Ha! Pah-ha! HAAAAAA!!!” came from the plastic play set investor, “I wish it t'was only that much. Why don't you DOUBLE THAT! THEN you'll be CLOSE!” The amount of range and anger tinged right beneath their words was enough to momentarily cause me to fear for my life. After making sure I understood the gravity of the price range, I was left alone.

Putting the rest of the set together was mostly a matter of time. My slight OCD making sure that all the lines were even did cause me to take part of the set apart again, then put it back together. With all being said and done, it took about an hour to get the play set finished. I made my announcement that it was finished, as the happy four year old came bouncing into the room, so did the one who bought it. The four year old was happy, the elder was angry and upset. The finished set stands around two feet tall, the elder was not pleased with that. “That's it! I spent $200 on something that small!? I thought it was going to be around four feet tall!”


I shot the elder a glare, and got the hell out of Dodge. My back was sore from being slumped over in the floor putting the damn thing together. I went home, got into bed, and quickly forgot about it all. I'm pleased to say the four year old is still playing with the play set, happy and super content to be in Frozen-land 24/7. I suppose if I can tackle these play sets with relative ease, I should look into getting a new career as a Professional Ikea Furniture Assembler.

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