Monday, February 29, 2016

V-Day Boxes: Rants & Confessions

It started long before Cooper's first day of school. When I witnessed my first modern Valentine's Day box a few years ago, I was, in a word... appalled.

I could NOT believe the effort these parents put into their kids' boxes.

These were simply to collect paper Valentines! The ones with little candies taped to them!

Life-sized cut-outs. Animatronics. Coordinating prizes. Some required their own life support system.

I was astounded. And adamant that MY son would not be taken in by these sideshow clowns. What was wrong with a simple brown bag, decorated in Art class on the afternoon before the Valentine's Day party with red construction paper hearts and cheap, pink ribbons?  It worked fine for all of us back in the day, right?!

So, in January, we started discussing The Box. Cooper was pretty clear it had to be a pirate ship, but not like his scrappy preschool box. The ship needed a deck. Clearly.

And THAT was all it took.

I want to say I questioned my intentions when I started mentally sketching out the design, laying awake at night, staring into the darkness, the Flying Dutchman floating above me, its hold nearly bursting with a booty of cute cards and cheap trinkets.

But I didn't.

Even when Suzi asked innocently about the need for a crow's nest, I couldn't be deterred. I had become a man obsessed. This would be the fastest ship to sail the ocean of Love, with clean lines and a spacious hold below decks.

In the end, it turned out pretty cool. Although lacking basic creature comforts like poop deck or figurehead above the prow, there was a secret door, accessed by pulling the rudder that opened into the hold; and a woven rope baluster of sorts; and a custom sail proclaiming "Cooper's Jolly Hearts" (his idea, not mine!). Cooper got to try out his hand with the finish nailer to lay the bamboo decking (leftover flooring scraps from a previous project). A little fun creative side note: after laying the keel, I couldn't come up with a quick fix to cover the hull, so I used brown rubber stair tread to simulate wooden planks.

The best part? That was when Suzi left the party that afternoon and had to run the gauntlet of teachers eyeing the beast of a box she was lugging out the door.

"My... that's a... big ship," she heard one say.


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