What, you mean this blog doesn't write itself? Who knew?
We had a lovely Halloween. The mandatory costume photo:
Hannah Montana, the Princess, and the Freak Who Does Not Need a Costume.
You can see that Rosie changed her mind about being Zurg for Halloween. About two weeks ago her day care had a costume parade, and she decided that the Princess costume she wore would be perfect for Trick or Treating as well. So I didn't have to spend the month of October pricking myself with sewing needles and swearing under my breath as I tried to fashion a passable super-villian costume out of Old Navy t-shirts.
Actually, let me clarify the above statement. I did spend lots of time in October swearing under my breath, but not due to the Halloween costumes. No, I have Chick=Fil-A to thank for the $1,765,982 that I've recently added to my curse jar.
(I don't really have a curse jar, but if I did, I'd certainly be taking a trip to Hawaii funded from the spoils of my foul mouth.)
One night last week, I took the girls to Chick-Fil-A for dinner as a special treat. When I was unpacking the kids' meals, I was thrilled to see that they included a cool-looking package of information about insects. Quite the cut above the plastic crap that we'd recently gotten at a different fast food chain which shall remain nameless. The kids paid no attention to their prizes while we were at the restaurant, what with the kids' entertainer and the giant cow walking around -- but once we got home, they were eager to check out their bug stuff.
At first glance, the kids' meal prizes looked innocuous enough. Each package included a set of 3 insect trading cards, plus a 3-D model insect model to punch out and assemble. Mimi's was a Monarch Butterfly, and Rosie's a Dragonfly.
Let me tell you, I should have paid more attention to the title of the activity: Insect Engineer. I seriously think you might have to be an engineer, botanist, or rocket scientist to put these kits together. I don't consider myself a crafting idiot, but I spent at LEAST a half hour putting each of the models together, and there is no way in hell that my girls could have done this on their own.
But you, my friends, can benefit from my learning curve. I have prepared these annotated instructions just in case you happen to be the lucky recipient of one 3-D Dragonfly Model. Enjoy!
ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS -- No scissors or glue needed!
Indeed, I did not need to whip out the office supplies, but I sure could have used a Xanax and a few shots of tequila to prepare me.
NOTE: before you remove pieces from the sheet, study the names of each part.
You might want to grab your reference textbook "The Botany of Small Annoying Insects" to assist.
1a: Fold up both sides of BODY.
Not your body, silly. The paper bug's body.
1b: Fold up front end of HEAD, then fold both side flaps toward the body.
Wouldn't it be great if people had side flaps though? We could close them up when the weather was bad, or leave them open in sunny weather.
1c: Hook both small side tabs of HEAD into slits in BODY.
Take special note of the picture to illustrate this step, which looks strangely like an illustration from the "The Joy of Sex," featuring Lego people. Laugh so hard you almost snarf your tequila.
1d: Fold back top flap and hook both small tabs into the upright notches.
I had trouble figuring out which was the "top" flap and which were the "upright" notches. Probably should have grabbed my graphing calculator at this point.
2a: Fold back FRONT LEGS, then pinch together both tabs on one EYE...
If you've got the tequila, this might be a good time for another swig.
2b: ...while holding the tabs together, insert into slit in HEAD. Repeat for other EYE.
Yeah. Good luck with this step. Took me about 10 minutes to get the tabs properly pinched and in the correct slits.
2c: Fold down FRONT LEGS until the edge clicks under notches in side flaps of BODY.
The way this is worded implies a smooth motion as the pieces miraculously glide into place. Some users may actually experience more of a ripping sensation. You have been warned.
2d: Cross the right LEG over the left and slot together.
Or just rip the right leg off and tape it to the left. That works surprisingly well.
3a: Fold down both front edges of FOREWINGS. Repeat for HINDWINGS. Punch out holes on THORAX/LEGS and curve down both sides.
How about I just punch out the lights of whoever wrote these damn instructions?
3b: Slide right FOREWING up through the right gap in THORAX, then fold up left side and tuck into left gap.
MIND THE GAP! (Sorry, a little U.K. humor...)
3c: Tuck both small tabs on front edges of FOREWINGS into curved slots in THORAX. Fold in ears on side tabs of THORAX and tuck into slits.
Note to self: insects do not have ears, but insect models do.
3d: Slide center tag of HINDWINGS under rear tab of THORAX, then tuck both small tabs on front edges of HINDWINGS into curved holes in THORAX.
At this point it disturbed me that I'd been building the model for about 20 minutes and I was only up to step 3. Then I realized that the people writing the instructions cheated in the numbering and there actually are 17 steps in the assembly process. And I did another shot of tequila.
4a: Curve PETIOLE into a loop and tuck tab into slit.
Can someone tell me WTF is a petiole???
4b: Slide PETIOLE into rear end of BODY as far as it will go, tabbed end first. Then tuck bottom tab into slot and align top with notch in LOOP.
This step sounded totally perverse, but I did it anyway. Although the "align top with notch in LOOP" step alone added about $145.67 to my curse jar.
5. Lower THORAX onto large flaps on BODY, hold in place, then turn over and cross the right MID/HIND LEGS with the left and slide together.
This sounds so easy, doesn't it? I am sure it would have been if I'd had one or two additional hands to hold the thorax in place on the body while I tried crossing the legs. And maybe a third hand for that tequila bottle.
6. Curve ABDOMEN into a half-round shape, turn over and join the left tabs to the right ones. Slide ABDOMEN onto end of BODY as far as it will go.
If you've made it this far, you're nearly home free -- there are no more a,b,c pieces and parts to the instructions, and the abdomen is a relatively simple piece with just a couple of tabs. Sure, I had trouble achieving the elusive half-round shape, but the tequila-colored glasses made it look just fine to me.
7. (Optional) use the LOOP on the back of the DRAGONFLY to hang your finished model.
Explain to your child that the DRAGONFLY is afflicted with some rare insect disease, which is why he looks much more sickly and damaged than the dragonfly in the instructions. Cry a little bit to make it more believable, if you must.
Fill half-empty tequila bottle with water so husband does not suspect an issue.
Consider making a bonfire out of the Insect Engineer instructions, but decide you'd be better served to save them and write a blog post about the whole ordeal.
Edited to add: And see! It's not just me.