Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jim attempts to assemble a dollhouse - a play-by-play

So a couple weeks ago, my daughter turned two. We had a party for her, and it was awesome. One of the presents Alice got at her party was a dollhouse. Specifically, it is a Chelsea Doll Cottage, by the fine folks at KidKraft. It is pretty cool looking on the box. There is, however, some assembly required. How much assembly? Well, it says on the website about three hours worth. For comparison's sake, when you buy a grill, it says that assembly will take an hour? Have you ever assembled a grill? It didn't take an hour. I bought a grill this spring and I went out of my way to find one that was already assembled, so I wouldn't have to deal with that. The fewer steps between me and a hot dog, the better.

Okay, there is a big reason other than how long it would take for that first hot dog why I didn't want to assemble the grill: I would not be accurately described as a handy fellow. My future in carpentry is limited. If I was good at building stuff, blogging about putting a dollhouse together would basically be bragging. Not the case here!. At least once during this process, I will realize that I've screwed some necessary piece in upside down and then done four more steps before I realized that I did so and will need to disassemble and will be swearing a lot. I invite you to take part in this lovely process with me.

During the building process - at least the first couple hours - my soundtrack will be the Syracuse vs. LSU football game. This should be helpful. As much as I screw this up, there is no chance it will be as much as a disaster as this game figures to be for the Oranges.

1:02pm: Here is a picture of the box. Cubs Snoopy will provide moral support.

1:11pm. The manual!

There are only 14 steps. Whether that is good or bad is an open question. The color coordinated hardware is intimidating. The wooden pieces are numbered though. With actual number stickers! Now, as long as those numbers aren't like two mirror images that can be put together backwards, I will feel good.

1:20pm: The box is unpacked.

I am not overwhelmed by the this stinking pile of adorableness which appears to be the walls and floors and such:

What I am more worried about is the box within a box. I already opened and unpacked a box. To get to another box feels like I'm delving too deeply. Perhaps I can perform a doll house inception, though? Do I unwrap this piece by piece now, or try to find stuff as I need it?

Try to find stuff as I need it, obviously.

Ok, here goes

1:53pm: Step 1 completed
Ok, narrowly averted the first disaster of the day. Step 1 is to connect boards 2 and 3 to piece 1. So, I separate pieces 1, 2, and 3. Or so I thought. Initially, because I am a fool, I had pieces 5, 2, and 3. And I had them wrong long enough to photograph my error:

Fortunately, I realized it when the instruction manual clearly showed a window and door, rather than two windows, on piece 1:

Part 3 was connected first, using two Hardware Parts D: the White 11"x16" bolt. Part 2 was attached next, using two Hardware Parts C: the Green 11"x16" bolts.

We appear to be in business:

Also, incredibly, Syraucse is losing only 7-3 at halftime.

2:01pm: A pitcher who can paint the corners is known as a Rembrandt.

2:16pm: Step 2 completed

This step took a much shorter time than writing about it. It will likely be the easiest step. I had to slide Board 4a into the slots between Board 2 and Board 3. It slid in correctly, indicating that Step 1 was done correctly enough. Hooray!

1:43pm: Step 3 completed

So the goals of this step were to connect Pole 6 and Board 5 (YES! 5 now!) to the existing structure.

Pole 6 gave me guff, as Hardware Piece A (Silver 11"x16" bolt) did not want to catch the Dowel Nut. I played around with this for some time. I was apprehensive about whether Hardware Piece I (9"x16" Bolt) would give me difficulty as well, as it was not screwing into a dowel or nut, but straight into the wood. Fortunately that went smoothly.

Board 5 (!) connected easily to the structure, using one Hardware Part D and two Hardware Parts C.

With that, Step 3 appears to have been finished.

3:12 pm: Step 4 completed

So, here's where I started to get cocky. I saw Step 4 was another simple board-sliding step. This is easy!

So, I decided to go to my refrigerator to get myself a lovely Saranac Pale Ale.

As Alice would say... Delicious! She really says that, and it's as cute as it sounds. Anyway, after one sip, I took the Board 4b, the ONLY THING I needed to useduring this step, and slid it in place. Upside Down.

Again, this was the only thing to do on this step. I saw my error and corrected it before screwing everything else in place, fortunately. Unfortunately, LSU just snagged an interception. minutes after opening up a 31-17 lead.

Much Better.

3:20pm: An external complication arises. Alice has awoken from her (extended) mid-day slumber. She wants Play-Doh. The Play-Doh is hard. This will end badly.

3:48pm: Step 5 completed
Fortunately, I was able to mash the Play-Doh enough that she finds it acceptable. Every time it falls apart I get a "fix it" but that is better than the nuclear meltdown that would occur if the Play-Doh was no longer usable.

Anyhow, Step 5 was successful, even sustaining an attack from an Alicesaurus. (Note: not an actual attack. She's pretty gentle with her toys, fortunately). I connected Board 7, which appears to be the third floor, to the rest of the structure using three Hardware Parts D (the Green 11"x16" bolts).

So far, Alice seems to approve.