We survived, but just barely…

December 31, 2008
We have survived another Christmas, but sadly most of the kid’s gifts did not. Every year I am amazed at how quickly my kids can put their new toys and gizmos out of commission, and this year was no different. Twenty four hours after the unwrapping frenzy I am left with (6) detached action figure limbs, (1) broken antenna for a remote controlled ATV, a torn power cord for the Wii “Rock Band” drum set, and a Tupperware bowl full of miscellaneous parts to games, puzzles and who-knows-what else. My kids rampaged their presents like a troop of angry vikings pillaging a European hamlet.


But, I really can’t be mad at them- after all they’re little boys and little boys play rough. I can, however, harbor some animosity toward the toy manufacturers who swindled me out of a butt-load of cash this season. If you’re going to put a toy on the market for kids ages 5-9, it should be designed to withstand some hard play. If the manufacturer’s intent was for the toy to remain in the protective packaging then they should be required to place a bright red warning label on the box that reads “For visual amusement only, playing with object will result in breakage followed by floods of tears and hours of haphazard repair work undertaken by owner’s father”. As an aside, if these jokers paid as much attention to how these things were built as they do to how they are held in place in the package the damn things would be indestructible. I had three pair of wire snips and a cutting torch all going at once trying to liberate G.I. Joe from his carton this Christmas- it was such a pain in the ass that I almost abandoned him.


Surprisingly, one of the few gifts that has survived unscathed is the toy that I was almost certain wouldn’t make it five minutes. Both of the guys got Air Hogg helicopters from Connie’s mom and dad. If you’ve never seen these things, they’re made from some type of space age Styrofoam. They are tiny and have several extremely fragile moving parts. They remind me of an antique Hummel clown figurine only not as robust looking.


But Mack and Cayden love them. They charge them up, open the throttle full bore (because that’s how my kids roll) and send them climbing to the ceiling at warp speed. When they reach the ceiling- which takes all of a milli-second- they hit hard enough to shock the motor sending them crashing to the floor. Amazingly, these things take the abuse quite well- which is good because the guys keep this drill up for 20 minutes at a pop. I am patiently waiting for the call of “Dad Up” when these things finally become inoperable. They’re so tiny that there is absolutely no way that my kielbasa fingers will be able to repair them. Then what will I do?


The other big hit this season was all of the Wii accessories and games that Santa, with the aid of the grandparents, produced this year.  Even I was coaxed into playing several rounds of Guitar Hero which is highly unusual because the last game I played was “Pong” on an original Atari circa 1978. 


If you don’t own a Wii yet, or had the luxury of playing with one, you should- the thing is unbelievable. My kids can play every sport ever invented from the comfort of our basement. They can also fish, hunt, throw darts, box, balance our checkbook and solve world hunger- accomplishing them all while still wearing their jammies. It’s only a matter of time before the folks at the Wii factory run out of fun activities, however, and have to resort to making games out of the mundane. Could you imagine Wii “House Work” or Wii “Dental Hygiene”? I don’t think it’s too far out of the realm of possibilities. Remember you heard it here first- if they end up coming to market I want my cut. Someone also gave us a Wii “Fit” to help shed the inevitable weight gain that accompanies playing sports with nothing more than your thumb and forefinger, but I’m sad to report that one hasn’t been opened yet.


The Wii is a good piece of gear and I will miss it when my kids finally end up destroying it. If this sounds pessimistic that was my intent. I believe I’ve all ready determined how they are going to kill it. Cayden is the assassin and his method of execution is simple yet effective. He will lick each of the game discs while consuming large quantities of “Crunch and Munch” and then feed said game disc into the console. The Wii, unable to decode the foreign substances (corn syrup/popcorn/caramel), will then plummet into sensory overload and crash. I think he got his methodology from watching Mission Impossible III.


So, as I wait for the smell of a smoldering motherboard to come wafting up from our basement, I’ll jot down a few gift ideas for the boys for next Christmas. 


Block of wood- check

Bag of gravel- check

Comb (they say unbreakable right on the spine)- check


If you have any suggestions please let me know, the list of things that my boys can’t destroy is a bit meager… 




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Jana Kunz posted the following on January 2, 2009 at 12:07 pm.

That Wii Fit is so much fun! You guys will love it. 🙂

Stevie posted the following on January 17, 2009 at 2:40 pm.

Well you will love the wii. I have one to and my kids tell me always that i play to much with the wii 🙂

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