A Needle of Joy in a Haystack of Lego

A Needle of Joy in a Haystack of Lego

Some people judge other people.

Some parents (me) judge other parents (everyone else) for being ridiculous parents.

Especially when it comes to Lego. Specifically cleaning up Lego.

John loves Lego. And I think that’s great. He plays with it every day – and for a kid who tends to do everything at somewhere above full speed, it’s a great way for him to focus, work with his hands, and build stuff. And it’s a great way to hang out with him. I sit there at the Lego table and build random things, typically lame, while he builds things, typically better. We laugh, we talk, we build. It’s fun.

So here’s my challenge. My challenge isn’t stepping on Lego. My challenge is what do we do with all the random pieces. We have a million Lego pieces. Ok. Maybe not a million. Let’s put it at somewhere near 950,000.

How picky do you get about cleanup? Do you just have a massive bin that everything gets dumped in? Or smaller containers that are more organized? John sees no reason for organizing. He thinks the house is a bin. So as long as most of the Lego stays in the house, then it’s put away. And normally, as long as the Lego is in and around his designated table, I’m not too worried about organizing.

But I know some parents (who shall remain nameless) (let’s just call her “Joan”) (Since that is her name) who organizes all of her kids Lego pieces in individual containers by type of piece. For years she’s done this. Not the kids. Joan does this. I know another parent (Let’s call her Natalie) who just finished organizing all of her kids Lego by color. Every color in a different container.

Now let me be the first to judge these parents.  Because I did.

Until this past week.

Because I had this bright idea. Lately John has taken a serious interest in Star Wars. And by “serious” I mean “borderline wacko” and has begged for every Lego Star Wars set ever built. We took out a second mortgage on the house and gotten him a few. The other day I was watching John build a Kylo Ren set, flipping the little booklet with the instructions, tearing open the appropriate numbered bag with the pieces and slowly assembling his masterpiece. Then I looked around at the pieces on the table, on the floor, on the shelf, in his room, on his bed, and thought to myself, “There’s enough pieces here to build something awesome without buying a new set… I bet you can find those booklets on the internet.”

And guess what? You can.

John has always dreamed of building an Imperial Star Destroyer. And I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be fun to build a Star Destroyer out of Lego discards? None of the colors would be right, but the shape would be correct. And it would be free. It would be Donny Osmond in Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Star Destroyer.

And all we would need is 1359 pieces.

So you’re saying, “I know what a Star Destroyer is… but can you remind me again?”

Sure. It’s one of these:


As the internet says, “Star Destroyers were the most resource-intensive ships the galaxy had ever seen, and only Kuat possessed shipyards capable of supporting and maintaining more than a handful at a time.”

I know what you’re saying. You’re sitting there saying, “Where is Kuat again?” No problem.

Kuat was a vital shipbuilding and industrial planet located in the Kuat system of the galaxy‘s Core Worlds region.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, I looked up “Star Wars Star Destroyer Lego Set Booklet.” And this may come as a surprise to you, but when you google something with Star Wars and Lego, you get very few responses. Like, hardly a billion. Including this one.

Lego Star Destroyer

It’s the 75055. But you knew that. Anyway,  I printed it off (Sorry entire Canadian Boreal Forest) and Johnny and I got to work.

Within about 30 seconds, I realized why Lego puts together little booklets and numbered bags that you open every 30 pieces or so. Because I was wandering the house looking for triangle pieces. I’ve stepped on about fifty thousand triangle pieces in any given month. But do you think we could find the right triangle pieces that day? Every triangle piece I found was too narrow. Or too wide. Or went the wrong way. And if you look at that ship – everything is a triangle.

It was like I was trying to find 20 triangular needles in 30 haystacks of Lego. It took forever. John gave up about an hour in. It was ridiculous. But eventually, I had the base built. The instructions said it should look like this:

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 8.40.53 PM

The one we built looked like this:


I loved it. Even John was impressed. I moved onto the side rail things that are the skeleton for the entire ship. (Sorry it got so technical right there.) But things were moving along. I was feeling good. This was going to work.

Until I needed a 1×4 hinge plate. Now, you’re probably saying, “Hey Dave, I know what a 1×4 hinge plate is – but a friend of mine is reading this with me – can you put up a picture to remind him?” No problem. It’s this:


I blew up that picture about fifty million times. Because those hinges aren’t big. Especially surrounded by and buried under every other Lego piece ever made. And I needed six of those. SIX!

And in a mere five hours, I managed to find them. Ok, Siobhan and Ashley and Blythe helped me. Siobhan and Ashley are our cousins. They are family. They came to visit us on the holidays. For one night. And guess what they were hoping to do on the one night they were here? I actually don’t know – because I made them go through the house trying to find 1×4 hinges. For the entire evening. Through Tess’ bedtime. Through John’s bedtime. And through their bedtime.

But we found them, and then for the next hour, I put the side skeleton thing together and attached it to the base. It was a beautiful thing. And amazing thing. A thing to behold.

The instructions said it should look like this:

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 9.10.21 PM

Beautiful, right?

Except mine was yellow and blue and green and black and grey. Even better.


And then (you might want to sit down for this part) we turn the page … and see this:

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 9.10.50 PM

Do you see that? Do you see what it says? It says I need SIX MORE HINGES!!!

I looked around at the wreckage of our search – the pieces in the living room, the hallway, in the carpet, in bins, on the table, at the front entrance. Everywhere. Thousands and billions of Lego pieces. I said to John, “Where are we going to find six more of those hinges in all of this?

And he said, “Maybe Joan or Natalie can come organize them for us.”

Smart kid.