Like a priest in the confessional, my trusted mover Adam broke the news gently to me the other day…”Jenn, you have a lot of stuff.” Yeah, Adam I know that. But, the realities of just how much “stuff” was made clear as we went through the details of what is currently in storage in Victoria, on a eastbound truck, and left in Ontario in the care of my ex. Adam knows his stuff, and estimates my LEGO and belongings total at least 15,000 pounds. Yeah, that means about 10,000 of that is LEGO….Whoa.
His tone was gentle and his demeanor evocative of a shrink trying to get a crazy person to see the blatant disconnect in her behavior. It was a conversation not lost on me as I had just spent a horrific several weeks packing up vast quantities of bricks and belongings under a very strict deadline…and believe me, moving all of this cross country each year is not cheap! I felt weighed down by all that I own and it made me seriously want to evaluate this hobby of mine.
When I moved west last year I brought with me only the LEGO that I wanted to build with: my mosaic studio, my transparent element collection, and my LEGO MINDSTORMS parts. I was excited to settle in to my large apartment and have my LEGO room functional with what I felt was the perfect amount of bricks to fill it. Since just about day one however, the urge all fans have where colourful ABS is concerned overtook me and I steadily added to my stash brick by brick. Now I am questioning that habit…or at least my checkbook is.
I have this vision of my future that sees me land wherever an interesting job takes me and that allows for me to relocate on a whim. -that is not possible in my current state. Is my need for more brick a sickness? Am I the only AFOL questioning my need to acquire more and more LEGO as each new set/element/collectible is launched? …Is there an episode of A&E’s Hoarders reserved for me in future??
I have gotten an education these last few weeks, one that really makes me think about what I want going forward….Well, I guess there are a few minutes I can spend on that today while driving across Idaho!
This weekend I had so much fun!!!! I was invited to help out at an exclusive Star Wars LEGO build for the grand opening of the 3D version of Episode I – The Phantom Menace. There were only 13 cities in North America chosen to have an exclusive LEGO opportunity and as there is no LEGO store yet in Vancouver, they needed someone to staff this build. Jenn to the rescue! LOL
I took along a good friend, LEGO Ambassador John Langrish, and we set out from Victoria at 5:00AM Saturday morning. After a nice long nap on the ferry and an hour’s drive we arrived at the Langley BC Colossus Theatre and began setting up the build area. The model shop at LEGO’s US hub in Enfield CT has a sweet little set-up for this one-day build and it took about five minutes to get the mystery mosaic unwrapped and assembled for the event. I will post more pictures on Flickr later so you can see it for yourselves, but essentially there are bins of bricks on one side of an A-frame contraption, and on the other side the mosaic board pictured above. In all this 12 large baseplate sized board holds 12,648 1×1 LEGO bricks.
As a part of the excitement at this movie theatre, members of the 501st were enlisted to entertain the crowds dressed up in their Stars regalia. We had Stormtroopers, Boba Fett, Jedi, and an adorable remoted controlled R2-D2 flirting around us the entire day. Oh, and the centre of all the attention was definitely our friend Mister Maul as you can see above! His make-up was flawless and the background music throughout the day was the giggles and screams of the kids he chased around the lobby. The guy never dropped out of character. These Star Wars icons were joined by smaller versions of themselves when the face painters got hold of all the younglings and went to town. There were definitely talented artists among their number as you will see from my Flickr gallery.
The crowd came in fits and starts and the build progressed slowly. We had set a goal to be finished at 6PM, but with an hour left we still had 25% of the bricks to place with barely a soul around to help us build. Fortunately we found help and about eight dedicated Star Wars fans braved studded finger calluses to rapidly finish the massive undertaking. I was absolutely thrilled to see how eager they were to help out, and they took up the challenge to finish this beast with absolute enthusiasm. When we called it done at 6:17PM they didn’t stop and spent the last several minutes sweeping the floor clean of every brick dropped in our frenzy. We could not have asked for a better group of fans as we had in Vancouver.
When I asked for a divorce more than two years ago, I did not have the financial means to actually leave the family home and strike out on my own. That meant spending the better part of those years cohabitating with my ex and my kids while trying to find a way to make my freedom possible. Neither were easy tasks! Frank and I tried very hard to keep things amicable between us (and thankfully succeeded), but the economics of my situation made moving out unattainable until seven months ago when I decided to go back to University and train for a career I could really get excited about.
The best part about my choice is that school is so far away from my home of the last 23 years. Knowing that I would live on the other side of the country for a year meant two things. One, I would only see my kids once or twice in that length of time –which truly sucks. And two, moving away meant living alone –truly alone—for the first time in my life.
So what is a self respecting AFOL (adult fan of LEGO) to bring with her when she moves thousands of miles away from her sizable LEGO collection? I knew I wanted some bricks with me…even while knowing that I would be so busy that finding time to build would be unlikely at best. But, deciding which ones was not an easy task! After much deliberation I chose to bring my mosaic parts, my MINDSTORMs parts, my entire selection of transparent elements, and a few boxes of sets I had not yet built.
Just to make it clear, the size of my collection is substantial and this decision meant having my movers bring well over one thousand pounds of bricks to Victoria, which is less than one quarter of my LEGO collection.
But just look what having those bricks here means…I am living alone now AND I have a kick-ass LEGO room to build in!
For me freedom means a place to build with my LEGO.