Jon had work in the same town where LouLou and Jack live; so, of course, I tagged along! We took with us one of their Christmas presents: the Step 2 Lookout Tree house, which resembled nothing like a tree house at all! It was small, made of "durable plastic" (can you say huge carbon footprint), but had a cute set of three stairs and a slide that even Jack could use.
In the assembly, the parts were large, and it was easy to see how to put it together. Jon supervised from afar, LouLou anticipated, and Autumn and I added muscle while Zack called the shots.
The "tree house" itself went together easily. It was adorable; just the right size for toddlers. Lou climbed and slid with pure joy, having such a fine structure in her very own back yard.
Then, Zack discovered the "lookout" part of the tree house.....5 pieces of hard yellow plastic, a real mirror, and SEVERAL screws and bolts.
Hmmmmm.......bolts.......hmmmmmm.......why would a plastic lookout need bolts? Probably, it was the tree house part that needed the bolts. That was immediately problematic. What should be taken apart to attach said bolts? What should you do with the joyous little angel enraptured currently by said tree house while you attached said bolts?
Suddenly, instructions were necessary! After searching through the discarded box, there they were. Instructions. One way, they were in English. The other way, they were in Chinese.
Immediately, the construction process took on new meaning and urgency......the invisible image of a Chinese couple, similar in age to Zack and Autumn, appeared in the opposing corner of the yard! They had a matching tree house with the unfinished lookout, and a giant invisible stopwatch appeared in the sky overhead! An invisible starter pistol armed with a silencer went off, beginning a competition to rival the arms race!
Instructions were studied, cast aside, then picked up again. Aut read them aloud, then silently to herself, then looked on while repeating from memory as Zack used the screwdriver to attach.
At this point, I should add that they went with their favorite screwdriver for this competition: a replica 2-inch long Duracell battery for a handle that had a 1-inch long Phillips head screwdriver piece sunk into it. **Please stop to picture this screwdriver, and then imagine the Chinese couple with their state-of-the-art robotic, electronic screwdriver hovering invisibly above.**
At some point during all this, I have exited the fray, steathfully acquired my camera, and am snapping pictures without drawing attention. My lens focused in on the ultimate secret weapon! There she was....lying across the slide.....partially on the platform....carefully perusing the instructions from the Chinese side! LouLou! It was LouLou! We were saved!!!
I never knew that she could read Chinese, (or even read at all!) and, obviously, the invisible Chinese couple had not expected this turn of events. By transferring instructions to her parents telepathically, Zack and Aut sprang into action and completed their task, besting the Chinese couple and sending them into invisible exile!
The Star-Spangled Banner began to play silently, and a gigantic invisible American flag was hoisted high into the heavens above! LouLou and parents stood on the podium, hands over hearts, a slight tear on Autumn's cheek, proud to have beaten the invisible Chinese for first place in the tree house construction division!
As 2 year old Lou hit the high note loud and clear, we all felt just a little bit safer.....
At least, that's how I remember it....