Yesterday I got some toy soldiers I'd ordered from eBay. They looked good but I wanted to make sure they were the right size to match the ones I already had. So I got down a couple of the boxes of miniatures so I could compare them, but before I could open them up I had to make Brendan some dinner. Then Laura yelled at me--I'd put the videocassette-style boxes too close to the edge of the counter and Maggie had snagged one and was running behind the couch to inspect her booty.
Immediate vision of toddler choking to death on one of the pieces, or worse swallowing down one of the spikier bits with all sorts of horrible consequences. So I whooshed into the living room, yanking the gate open on the way. Well, sorta open. Open at the top. I'd specially reinforced the bottom latch to hold against Maggie. But I had too much forward momentum and kept going. It's a strong gate, but it can't hold up against me. I ripped out the bottom latch and broke the barrier at one of the factory joints.
Then I limped over to Maggie and took back the box. She'd been far too entertained by the show to have any chance to open it. Then I got to survey the damage. It was going to be a late night. Since the power tools couldn't be fired up with Maggie wandering around she had a merry evening of exploring the house with me following her until bedtime.
The barrier got wood-glued back together, using bungie cords to clamp it tight in lieu of a 30" C-clamp. The latch was a bigger problem. I bent the metal part back into shape but the wood extensions I'd put on it (swiped from Brendan's block collection) were jammed on, and the screws were in too tight (bent in place maybe?) to get out. Confirming that took several methods before I gave up. We were going to gate the study but have to reinforce the wall first. I took one of the latch pieces from there to fix the living room gate. I'll hacksaw off the old one when I've got a free weekend (hah!).
The most time consuming part of this was going through Brendan's room to grab some more blocks. Laura came in to help me go through all the boxes. Finally found the whole collection in his bed. Can't understand that kid. Cowboy doll in bed, sure. Book in bed, normal for our family. A set of blocks in bed? At least we managed to get through that without waking him.
Then I couldn't find any wood screws the right length. Rather than doing a midnight Walmart run (shudder) I used a few washers to shim the blocks to where the too-long screw wouldn't come out the other side and hurt fingers. It's all fixed now, other than some warping in the gate that I might be able to fix later.
Oh, yeah--the tanks are the same size so I'll just make them HVYs (with some mix-and-match on the turrets). The infantry figures are smaller but I figure once they're on the bases it won't be that noticable. One of these days we'll get the study unpacked and I'll be able to paint them.