Monday, April 26, 2010

House of a Thousand Screws

    This Christmas, my in-laws gave my six year-old daughter Riley a stained wood playhouse. And this playhouse isn't one of those ten-piece plastic playhouses that you can pick up at Target. No, sir. This playhouse has a porch. This playhouse has an actual porch with white wooden columns. This playhouse has a bay window on one side, for god sakes. 
    And though this playhouse is magnificent and my daughter really, really wants to play in it, I haven't even contemplated building this architectural treasure before now. Why, you ask?
    This playhouse is held together by a thousand screws.
    As I looked at the directions over eggnog last Christmas, I noticed that the manual clearly states that building this playhouse requires two adults about six to eight hours of work time. And it occurred to me to ask myself:
    What have I done to piss off my in-laws?
    Clearly, I did something.
    I am famous in my town for not having tools. Hell, there are even some rumors flying about that I lack opposable thumbs with which to grasp tools. This is a lie, of course. I do have opposable thumbs. They just happen to be, God help me, on my feet. I sometimes even use my foot thumbs to pick up and eat Cheetohs that have fallen to the floor while I watch television. This is the real reason, if you must know, that my feet are vaguely burnished orange.
    Whatever. The point is that I never, ever build stuff. 
    And yet Riley got the gift of this house and I got the gift of...screwing. My in-laws have even let me borrow a drill with a phillips-head driver on it, so that I don't have to screw screws in manually. I am grateful for that.
    Because I am on hour seven right now...of screwing. All of the wood is pre-cut, so there is no measuring or cutting to distract you from, say, screwing screws into boards. Also, there's no painting of any kind, either, so you can pretty much just concentrate on the screwing.
    You get the idea, probably.
    This thing gets potentially worse, too. It's been raining in Florida, so I've been building the house inside of my garage. I've just realized that once I'm finished, I have to get this resined behemoth out of my garage, over a chain-link fence and into the back yard. I'm not even sure this thing will fit under the opened garage door. My 10 year-old son Gabriel suggested with a laugh that I might have to unscrew sections of the house in order to get it out the garage.
    "Heh.That's pretty funny," I replied.
    We laughed together for a moment.
    And then I taught him how to use the drill.