My Christmas Battle 2006

Sitting here nimbly typing away, I notice my fingers slightly trembling. I’ve developed a subtle but unmistakable throbbing in the back of my head, just above the nape of my neck. I’m also noticing a discrete nerve causing an intermittent twitch under my left eye.

Too much Christmas cider? Nah, can’t stand the stuff. Too much coffee? Nah, can never get enough.

What I am describing is much more hideous than that. It is the result of the parent-hating, sadist who thought up the idea of the 15,000 piece bead kit (and my in-laws who decided to buy it for my daughter).

Sure, it looks like a great idea. Heck, I’m no crafty crafter, but some beads and string matched up with an almost 5 year old seems like a safe bet… Just don’t try to unpack it.

The box it came in has a nice clear front panel that displays all 15,000 beads (it might as well be 150,000,000) in neat little compartmentalized cavities. My in-laws had the awesome idea of giving us a small plastic Rubbermaid-type 4-drawer cabinet along with it to keep little one organized.

The transfer of beads from original package to 4-drawer plasti-chest proves my undoing. Of course the large bead thingys are a piece of cake. Being the engineer I am, I sat and scratched my chin for a moment before getting a small teaspoon to aid in the material transfer operation. Making great strides with the compartments containing larger beads, I thought pretty highly of myself.

Did you know that they can make beads that are almost microscopic in size? Did you know that square shaped compartments made of thin vacuum formed plastic can act as minature trampoline-like launchpads for said tiny beads?

With every slight snap of the oil-canning compartment bottoms (think the bottom of the classic Trouble board game’s pop-o-matic bubble), came the shower of untold hundreds of micro-beads. With every dip of the spoon, every surgically gentle extraction attempt, came flying micro beads.

Every flying bead took with it a shred of my dignity and a whole whack of my patience.

Ninety minutes later, the transfer is done (unbeknownst to my daughter, at least 200 micro-beads remained in the package and were headed for the trash) and we are stringing beads.

One final humiliating realization came to me while trying to thread some of the smaller beads. Daddy needs glasses.


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