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Some assembly required

I thought I was free and clear.

On Christmas morning the boys opened all their gifts and there was almost no cumbersome packaging. Save for the one Scooby Doo haunted house that was screwed – yes, screwed – into its box, it was a build-free Christmas. No late night Christmas Eve trying to make a washer fit somewhere it doesn’t want to fit. It was a dream. But like every dream, I have to go ruin it. I have to be stupid.

The boys received their slot car track last year for Christmas. But with renovations and a crazy year (and a lot of excuses), we had yet to set it up. So I decided on December 27th that I would tackle the track. I looked at the box – it said “easy to assemble”. And it had two loop de loops. I figured I’d be racing with my boys within an hour.

Here’s a loose timeline of what actually happened:

10 minutes – after opening the box and looking over what seemed like too many pieces, all double and triple twist-tied, I rethink my estimate. But still, an hour and a half, tops.



45 minutes – I decide to make sure all the pieces are there by unpacking the pieces in the order they appear on the supplies list in the manual. Wow. There sure are a lot of twist ties.

Track parts on paper

Track parts on the floor.

One hour, 30 minutes – Just five or six more pieces and everything will be out of the box.

One hour, 45 minutes  – OK, here we go, finally. I need to remove some clips – 96 clips – that are needed to hold the track together. My son helps. He makes a great smiley face out of the little pieces.

A bunch of clips

2 hours –  OK, here we go. Slowly but surely I am getting the hang of it. A few tight squeezes, but I made my way through the first loop de loop and was onto the bridge.

A high bank and the first loop. Feeling good.

2 hours, 45 minutes – The bridge wasn’t so easy. I had my first cracked track on the bridge. The bridge fence pieces were impossible to clip on the track. Stupid bridge fence pieces. Swearing isn’t as satisfying when you’re doing it in your head so your kid won’t hear. But I made it through. Until I realized I went the wrong way turning into the bridge. Went left instead of right. Quick fix.

Reason #5 why I’m not a city planner.

3 hours, 10 minutes – All right, back on track (heh, heh). I realize I forgot to clip both sides of the pieces.

3 hours, 25 minutes – All clipped and ready to go. All I have to do is plug it in and we’re good to go!

3 hours, 45 minutes – The thing about Christmas is that you end up using all the extension cords.

3 hours, 55 minutes – Plugged in and good to go. The boys love it. At first it’s hard to make the turns and loops. But then you get through the first lap. And a second lap.

Totally worth it.

Start your engines.


I wanted to call this post “The Full Package “, but thought better of it.

Writer. Idea man. Loving husband and father. Dance machine. They call me "The Truth", because my game is real. Follow Brodie on Twitter: @usedregina

2 Responses to “Some assembly required”

Chad Geran

Funny post. We had a couple toys which were screwed to the packaging as well. Used to be you could open things by hand. Then, you needed scissors.Then, a box cutter. Now, a screwdriver. What’s next? A wrench? A mallet and chisel?



A race track with two loop de loops and you wouldn’t let your kids play with it for a whole year! That’s torture! Looks cool though, I want one…will you come set it up for us?


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