Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How I Found Out I'm Not As Bendy As I Used to Be...

...and why I have a spine like a question mark right now. With pictures!

That ought to get the Google Pervs all happy.

Now for the rest of you. Warning - photo heavy post follows.

Rainy days can be hard on the Evil Genius, especially when he's been spending time outdoors, running wild and acting like a little monkey. Today was rainy, and he was bored and wanted attention and was grumpy. He wanted to play with something he'd gotten from Grampa LW at Xmas, a toy I've been avoiding because it is complicated, has many parts (739 million, to be precise-ish), and requires batteries, a USB cable, and almost infinite patience to construct.

An engineering degree wouldn't hurt, either.

The project? A K'Nex Extreme View Video Roller Coaster.

K'Nex, for the uninitiated, are something of a cross between Legos and and Erector Set, batteries not included.

We opened the box and my spine began to twinge. I knew this was a floor-sitting kind of thing.The parts came in bags. We counted them all before we began, because nothing quite compares to getting halfway through 739 million steps only to find a key piece is missing.
The instructions (Bird still calls them "constructions") were clear, concise, and easy to follow. Yeah. 54 pages of them. My spine curved a bit to the left and creaked.
We got started. I told Bird which parts we needed, then helped him figure out how to assemble them. Once or twice (or fifty times) he got distracted and wanted to play with the cats or the roller coaster cars, or the tracks, or some lint he found in his navel, and I did a step or two to keep things moving. Seven or eight (or one-and-a-half) hours in, we had about a third of it done. My legs, neck and shoulders were burning, and I needed a hoist to get up from the floor.
The Evil Genius didn't really get distracted too much, and he seemed to enjoy sorting out the pieces for each step.
Someone helped, too, reading instructions and showing the Evil Genius how to read the blueprint.
After another day or two (or maybe it was only another hour or so), my spine was curling nicely around itself and another third of the frame was done.
The Evil Genius did a few steps on his own, dictating which parts he needed to Someone, then assembling them. He was all Zen and focused. His spine had no problem with the whole floor-sitting thing.
By the end of the framework, he was pretty good at reading the diagrams.
Finally, we finished the frame and could start assembling the tracks. I could no longer feel my arse and my spine had a pretzel knot in it.
There were miles of tracks. Each piece of track needed special clips put on it. Someone was helping with that. After a few feet of track-altering, he had dents in his fingers.
Luckily, we had the proper lubricant for roller coaster building. Can't stress how important that is.
Finally, it was time to add the chain, more little plastic pieces we had to click together. 104 of them, not that I counted or anything.
Someone did the honors.
A little test run...

...and we were ready to add the car.
Car on the tracks, Bird flipped the switch.
A good time was had by all.
All kidding aside, it took a good six hours to build. It's meant for ages 9 and up. Bird's 7. I still can't feel my arse, and my spine may never be the same...but it was worth it. Bird learned about spacial relationships, reading charts and diagrams, counting, math, patience, precision communications, focus, and persistence while we played. I will pass the word on to family and friends that K'Nex, like Legos, are welcome at Casa de Crazy.

Hello, the word "Crazy" is right in our home's name, so yes, I am nuts. Why do you ask??


Dessa said...

It looks like you guys had a fun time--kuddos to you & Someone for hanging in there and gettin' it done, LOL! Hope your spine straightens out soon!

Momlady said...

Good grief, what a job. Like Legos, hopefully no small parts get stepped on.

HermitJim said...

So is a full size coaster in the plans for around the garden area?

Maybe just extend it on over to Momlady's house!

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Being a bit nuts is certainly recommended for such a project; I think the constructions even specified under tools needed: "half-case nuts and three glasses Black Swan Vino". Yep, pretty sure...

Mamma Schmoo said...

Looks like it was fun!! What a cool, if not time consuming, project. What did you do with it when the fun was had though? Do you take it apart?

Kyddryn said...

Mizz Dessa, it was a fine time...and I'll strighten out some day. Thanks for popping in!

Mum, we used up most of the parts, just a few left over for spares. I like these toys - they teach all kinds of things through play! The website even sells teaching kits...they're cool. K'Nex DNA set, anyone??

Mister Hermit, sir, you are more than welcome to come build one. As for me...I'm eyeballing the six foot high Ferris wheel they've got...at only $600 for the kit, how could I go wrong??

Sir, you could be right...it was there in the fine print, I'm certain of it...

Hey, Mama Schmoo, how're you doin'?? Nope, we didn't take it down...it's still standing, and will for a while yet. When we DO take it down, it'll go neatly into its box until next time.