Cardboard Box Train

If you are a person with a son who loves train, an overactive imagination, and not enough things to keep occupied during those long afternoon naps, you probably get in the same kind of trouble that I do. The trouble that revolves around having ideas and making plans off those ideas. Perhaps you think of building a playhouse train out of a cardboard box in your kids’ playroom closet.

Or perhaps you don’t. But I do, and did.

My inspiration came from the local kid’s museum—they have all kinds of static play-on structures; ambulances, boats, etc. I thought about my love of upcycling. I thought of the large wardrobe boxes (had to buy these)…I thought of silver paint (had lots of this)…I thought of a fake driver seat (had one of these, too). I thought of everything.

Well, not everything. I didn’t remember that you can’t paint oil-based paint over water-based paint and expect adhesion, especially not when the painting surface is cardboard. Nope, I didn’t think of that until after I fighting with the installation of the train roof and noticed I had silver fingers.

I have once again been foiled by the ADHD and my attention-to-detail problem.

Even had the paint not rubbed off and the end result of my idea was an actual train, I spent far more time on this than I intended. My original estimate was that it would take about 5 hours—to include paint/dry times—to create a square train from two boxes.

Well, the train wasn’t going to be square (mistake number 1) because I told a certain Small Person what I was doing (mistake number 2) and he got all excited and said SIR JOHN?, and I agreed (mistake number 3). Giving a rough guesstimate, I would say the whole thing took 16 hours. Not 16 hours of actual work, I’m billing some time to “thinking” (my former co-workers will remember this work-code). I spent about 10 minutes being really annoyed by the dismal end, and then I got over it.

Because regardless of there being no fancy silver train—I have another wardrobe box. They can use their own imaginations and pretend it’s a train. No further involvement from me is necessary. It’s only what I should have done to begin with…had my own imagination not gotten the best of me!

Now…my real fantasy is to build a train-shaped playhouse in the back yard. I think I’ll wait until the silver dust settles to bring that idea up with Joel.

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