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!
As many of you know, I have recently completed a four year bachelor’s degree in just twelve compact, fun-filled months, at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. I am pleased with my accomplishment and ever grateful for those that helped me along the way as I could not have done this without you! Most of my classmates are now job-seeking –poised to begin careers with their newly minted degrees. I however, am not yet able to launch myself into the job market, though that is what I so desperately want. Due to something completely outside of my control, instead of making a progressive leap forward in life, I feel as if I am going in completely the opposite direction.
Several weeks ago I received some news from my doctors that threw a Mega Blok into my little world. A medical condition I have struggled with since I was very young has reappeared and I must leave the island to have it resolved. My last surgery of this nature was nearly 18 years ago and the hope is that this next round of surgeries will again give me relief for at least that long. Unfortunately, my surgeon is in Toronto and I had hoped my life would be here in Victoria starting NOW. Instead, a year of purgatory back in Ontario is the pill I must swallow for the next twelve months.
My ex-husband is taking me back in for the recovery period, and though I am reluctant to hold him to his promise, my kids are ecstatic to have me back in the house for the entire next school year. Admittedly that is an unexpected thrill for me also –so there is a silver lining…but my heart is sore that I must pack and move my LEGO back to the place I so happily left one year ago.
I am slowly finding small joys in this turn of events. Not working will allow me to catch up on things I have not had time for and I envision months of LEGO sorting, book reading, studying, and scrapbooking (This is what I tell myself folks –though it is unrealistic, don’t burst my bubble!) I also get to spend unexpected time with my kids, my cats, and the friends I left behind in the east –and those are great things. But my desire is to be back here as soon as I am well enough to work.
I will return Victoria!!
Over the next several weeks I will share with you my journey. It begins with packing my furniture into the big yellow box that is pictured above –that has been a chore I tell you! In a few days the moving van will arrive to cart my LEGO east to be reunited with the equally enormous quantity I left in Ontario storage…and that is another thing I look forward to –having almost all of my LEGO in ONE place again!
These days my hobby seems to be ever expanding, at least in footprint.
I have recently gotten permission from my landlord to put in a shed at the side of the house so that I can move some more of my LEGO from Ontario to BC. Yes, that’s right; I cannot fit all of it here, so another 2,000 lb load is making its way to me out here in Victoria. Pictured above with my special pink screwdriver, is my ‘one friend in Victoria’ (he loves it when I say that) John Langrish, whom I manipulated into hauling patio stones and giant plastic shed parts this weekend. Doesn’t he look happy about it? That’s because I gave him some LEGO for his troubles. The poor boy initially thought building the shed would be like building a great big life-size LEGO set.
So now I have a shed to move my stored bricks into. But, shouldn’t a single AFOL living in a two bedroom 1,000 square foot apartment be able to house her entire collection within its walls? This question plagues me as I contemplate my latest reorganization. Is there an amount of LEGO that is too much –for me and my personal building pursuits?
I am quite conflicted by these thoughts. Part of me wants to simplify things and pare down my collection to items I know I *must* have, and the other part wonders if doing so would stifle my future creativity. I am mindful of living amidst and ever increasing pile of plastic bins and baggies full of bricks though….and that’s a life I have lived unhappily before. I told myself when moving out on my own into a great big apartment, that I would keep my LEGO compartmentalized in the second bedroom and not have it creep out into the rest of my living space as it is wont to do.
Is that really possible?
I know a LOT of fans, and have had the honour of visiting many of them in their homes, and I can tell you I have only ever met ONE who kept their collection in such a cloistered environment, with no evidence of LEGO-love anywhere else in their dwelling. Am I someone who can regulate the size of her stash to such a strict size constraint?
I guess you all will see as I work these next several months to try and fit my thousands of pounds of bricks into my house, one Rubbermaid tub at a time.
Well, it’s been a few days since I have had the chance to post here, but my thoughts have been on it since Monday when I last had the chance to write.
This morning I woke early to a clear ice blue sky and decided it is the perfect day to add a new feature to this website. You can find the results of my efforts on the “Fan Events” in the black bar above.
Please know that this will be a work in progress and I am adding events in no particular order. My intent is to feature mainly fan run events from all over the world and I encourage you to help me with this effort. If you know of an event not yet entered to the calendar, please post a reply on the event page and I will get it entered promptly.
Wish me luck! It has been a desire of mine for a long time to have a comprehensive list of events all in one place and I appreciate any suggestions.
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.
It’s now been ten months since I first planned this blog, and over the last six, I haven’t been at all sure it would ever happen. Luckily, fate, in the form of Professor Gilbert Wilkes, has intervened and I have finally begun. Whether I would have done so if this were not an integral part of my course grade is a question I cannot answer.
I suppose I should begin by introducing myself. I am Jenn Wagner, age 43, mother of two, currently divorcing, and avid LEGO fan who drives a lime green VW Beetle decorated like the one pictured above. Oh, and I am also a newly minted University student.
One of the reasons I have taken so long to start this blog is that I have no idea what to write about (Did you notice that statement is in the present tense? I still do not know). To write on what I am passionate about is a challenge because there are already so many LEGO-centric bloggers on the web, and I cannot think that anything I have to say on the subject is worthy of being read.
I have had the incredible fortune to be included in some intriguing LEGO projects in amazing locations over the years, so I could write about those…but that seems so self congratulatory that I balk at doing so. I don’t engage with the LEGO community or the company in order to blabber on to anyone who will listen about how lucky I have been, so that is definitely not the right fit.
And yet I am instructed to write a blog…and am graded on its success in gathering an audience…*sigh*
Okay, I think I will do this. I am going to ignore you (my readers –if any), and proceed with a blog that is more a diary than anything else. The changes and upheavals in my life have left me with more than enough material to spill out here, and this way I can share what is important to me at the moment, without too much stress given to what my subject is.
I will try to share pictures, and give you an idea of where I am with my hobby as I struggle through figuring out my future. Like many others, I am in transition and integrating my hobby into what I want my life to be is always a challenge.
I will show you my life as it is now, as best as I can. If you choose to read on –you are very welcome!