Saturday, May 31, 2008

Collapsing Across the Finish line

My last post mentioned shipping in 2 weeks. That was a month ago. To be fair, I did ship a few of the Space Command sets 2 weeks ago, but I did expect to be done by now. Best laid plans, as they say.

My time is more limited than I ever imagined with the baby. I get home from work around 5 and help take care of him so my wife Julie can get a break. Jonah's 6 months old now and we are lucky if we can get him to sleep by 8 o'clock. Which leaves 2 hours a night to work in the basement and that has to be fairly quiet the bulk of my hole punching and snap setting is to be done on the weekends when I have some free time. I've pretty much been on that schedule for the last month, working my day job, working the daddy job, and working the Dida night shift.

The other half of this is never imagining how difficult it would be to mass produce the Stately Caverns set that I built a year ago. In addition to the mind numbing number of steps I created for myself I made several mistakes along the way that cost a lot of time and energy. Those pain in the neck sliding doors I talked about weeks ago? Had to take those apart and do them again because I had somehow damaged the snaps and they were not working. So rebuilding 12 sliding doors, that was a bummer and time-suck.

Then about a week ago I was all set to start packing them into boxes. I started putting a few together to test them and to my horror about 25 percent of the snaps were failing! Popping right out of the walls! Visions of irate customers flooding my inbox with broken snaps were keeping me awake all night. So I had to go through all of the walls (36 walls, 12 snaps each...) and re-hammer all the snaps to make sure they were secure, double check them and find the failings. So as I am packing them up I am double and triple checking everything as best I can. Time consuming, but dealing with returns or sending out repair kits would suck too.

And packing the boxes? Yeah, about that. I ordered boxes months ago and miscalculated on the sizes--they were too small. So I had to order even more boxes...

Measure twice, cut once?
Yeah, I've heard that. With me it seems to be measure 8 times, get 3 different results, and expect to do it over again anyway. Okay, enough bitching. Despite all of this I keep my head down and keep marching and slowly but surely everything has been done. Make some Batsignals here, rivets some consoles there, cut some Batpoles, make some sliding doors, as much as I can every day.

So today my very understanding wife, who would very much like to see us move on from this phase of our lives, helped me get a big chunk of uninterrupted time to make the final push to get these displays shipped. It was heaven! I spent all day double checking parts, punching holes, setting snaps, wrapping stuff in foam, filling plastic bags and at last filling boxes!

The Stately Caverns will be leaving the building on Monday. Unless I've horribly miscalculated on some other damn thing....