Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Zanner and I put together a multitude of Little Tykes playsets.  She, newly divorced and childless, I, newly retired and overwhelmed, sat on the floor of my living room with orange and blue and yellow plastic tubes and steps and connectors neatly organized by size and shape.  Our heads were invariably cradled in our hands. The instructions were inscrutable.

Written in Korea or China or Taiwan by humans fluent in languages other than English, there was no recourse to grammar or sentence structure or definitions; the pages had a logic all their own. Each piece was designed to slip easily into its corresponding section, or so the pages would have us believe.  The reality was always much more complicated.

Hours passed.  Laughter turned to tears turned to anger.  It was a good thing that Big Cuter was too young to understand the verbiage; it was certainly not rated for an infant's ears.  We managed to get the slide attached to the climbing house.... or so we thought until we stood the whole thing up and realized that the damn thing was inside instead of outside.  I'll never forget her face as she wondered how much I really wanted my son to have this particular toy..... if looks could kill I wouldn't be typing to you right now.

Thankfully, that phase of childhood ended.  As they matured, the kids were much more competent than I at assembling their presents.  When 650 piece Leggo sets arrived, I deferred to their father.  My role was to keep him from hurting them after they began disassembling the castle he'd spent two days constructing.  It was his sister's Christmas present, I was out of that loop..... thankfully.

All this came screaming back to me on Christmas afternoon.  SIR sent me his magic shirt folding device after I'd ooh'ed and aah'ed about it as I folded their laundry.  Place the shirt in the middle.  Flip the right side.  Unflip.  Flip the left side.  Unflip. Flip the bottom. Unflip.  Voila! You have a perfectly creased t-shirt to sit neatly in your drawer.  I was hooked. 

Creating the connections was not as simple as it might have been.
It was a blast from the past..... and not a pleasant blast at that.
In that moment, I was back on the floor, three decades ago, screaming at inanimate, colorful, plastic, pieces with no discernable markings to guide me.
Let me quote from the front of the instructions. 
*Design of movable ring, adjustable thickness, in use, thin clothing
*The durable material, strong toughness, ductility, can use millions of times.
 *Only 3 steps, 3 seconds can be finished garment finishing
*Trousers, shirt, pajamas, T-shirts, thick clothes can be used.
Where to begin?  The random "in use" in the first line?  Ductility and strong toughness in the second?  All those finish words in the third?  Only the last line gave me hope. 

Then I turned the page over.

There were only four pieces to the device.  None of them were numbered or labeled in any way - front /back, left/right, up/down.

The instructions labeled them 1 through 6.

The first use of installation and operation section began with this:
   Open the packaging, install the 2.6 can be used.

In retrospect, 2 and 6 were identical and thus could have been installed interchangeably without a problem.  I spent much too much time looking for piece 2.6.

The diagram became my friend, as the words were more and more hilarious
1second piece four fixed angle First piece inserted. 
2second piece eight fixed holes Press in fixing
3sixth piece four fixed angle Fifth piece inserted
And on it went. 

There was an arrow pointing to a thin coat of interval.

We were flummoxed.

1 different interval time. Will be first 4,5 demolition. Open.

Big Cuter began to be interested ---- demolition sounded like fun.

And we laughed and we pressed and we jiggled and we coaxed and suddenl the whole thing was together and I was sitting on the floor of the living room with a pile of clean Cuter clothes and the perfect tool to create small, neat piles.

I am very glad that SIR and Little Cuter are in charge of FlapJilly's creations this time around.




  1. Haha that's so evil! Ours came pre-assembled... 😊

    1. Of course it did... your house comes equipped with SIR, who can make anything work/go together. I, on the other hand, suffered alone, with your brother and father laughing from the sidelines.

  2. I hate putting stuff together. Hubby has much more patience for it than I do. The past few days, he's been putting together lots of legos and Transformers. He likes it, me not so much.

    Hopefully, the Little Tykes plates is now together.

    Hope you are having a nice holiday.

    Megan xxx

    1. Some Assemly Required is now my benchmark for "Leave This Product on the Shelf"


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