Monday, December 29, 2014

December 2014 - The Making of a War

The Making of a War
Most of these write up’s I do for you, the occasional reader.  This time, I’m writing it for myself to remember in the years to come.  As a father, I’m proud of what happened during the week of December 14th – 21st, not because of my efforts, but the Christmas Spirit and the imagination that erupted from my boys during those days.  

So you’ve seen the pictures, now here’s the rest of the story…


So why did I do it?  Why would I cover my bathroom in the dead Mickey bodies?  The week after Thanksgiving, Red, our Christmas Elf, came out to spread Christmas cheer, which my youngest son, Brodie, was beside himself in anticipation of the chaos that would ensue.

Most of the pictures posted on Facebook, Instagram, etc I had already done.  Red pooped on a toothbrush, Red fished in the toilet, Red tp’d the house, etc.  So this year, I came up with my best some new ideas, and the boys weren’t impressed.  As quickly as it started, the excitement was gone.  On the way to their mom’s that Sunday, I asked the boys what their favorite moment with Red was?  After some time, they finally said it was when Red was in the candy drawer and they couldn’t find him until late that night. 

So for me, this was disappointing.  I wanted the boys to be telling me immediately what excited them, what they wanted more...and they had to think about it.  Failure in my book.  The following week, their mom did some cool stuff with books, which got Brodie excited for reading and some other fun stuff, but again, the boys were losing their interest in their little Elf friend.  So I needed to make a change, and frankly, the internet lead me to nothing new, just the same old potty jokes that Red is known for.


Day 1, I was at a loss.  I had no idea what I was going to do.  I was a little nervous that the magic of Red was lost, and we were doomed.  Finally, I came up with a quick idea in which I tied Red up and put 12 Vinylmation figurines around him.  As if he was captured.  Now what exactly is a Vinlymation Figurine?  It's a collection the boys and I started together and became very addicting.  With the same Mickey mold, artists would paint each Mickey to represent something else.  The ones we collected all had a Disney theme, but some of our Urban series are very non-Disney.  I think I have over 125 of the figures, and they all are stuck in a box because I don't have room to display them.  We bought most of them at Disney Theme Parks.

I wasn't impressed with the scene, but it was the best I could come up with.  The scene was set in the boys room, and I went to bed without a second thought.  Unfortunately, no picture from that initial scene that would start a week of chaos.


I woke up to a couple of very angry boys.  You see, the rules of The Elf on the Shelf is that you can't touch the elf at all, or clean up after him.  So when the boys saw that their beloved elf had been captured, they were not happy.  No, they were TICKED OFF.

Through the day at school, it fermented inside of them, this rage that their elf had been captured and there was nothing they could do about it.  How dare the Vinyls capture their elf and stick it right in their faces.

So without further discussion, the boys went home, went straight to their room and freed their elf.  I think they might have pushed a couple over too, and then carried their friend to the front of the house, far away from the evil vinyls. 

This act of heroism made them overly happy and kind of full of energy.  So it was very festive that night...strange what a little scene would cause.


After the excitement of Day 1, what would top it?  Normally I would do something different, just to keep it interesting.  But why not keep the story going, right?  So I moved Red over to my game chair, a throne like chair for Mr. Red to sit in. 

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of Red in the chair, or the note that he created, but it said something like this: Conner and Brodie, Thank you for saving me.  I have captured the 12 evil vinyls and wrapped them up and hid them in the apt.  If you want to find them, I could care less they are getting coal in their stockings this year, there are 6 for each of you to find.  But like I said, I don't care if you find them, let them rot, Red.

After Red's scene was done, I wrapped the 12 vinyls up in Toilet Paper and hid them all over the apt.  Some harder than others, because I knew Conner would leave the easy ones for Brodie and look for the really hard ones.  They were hidden in the kitchen, the hallway, both bathrooms and the front room.


I awoke to a quiet morning.  Got ready, told the boys to get up, and they went on the search for Red.  They found him on his throne and Conner read the letter that Red had wrote.  Then the search was on, all giggles and laughter as they found the captured Vinyl's wrapped in Toilet Paper. 

That morning, they found 8 of the vinyls.  They piled the bodies like dead victims on the counter, and no, they did not release them.  And there was never any thought of releasing them, it was just a game of hide and seek, or geocaching for Vinyls.

After school and some shopping, the boys went straight in the apt and went on the hunt, recovering the final four.  Once again happy...but what was I supposed to do next?

I'm not really sure when the thought came to me, but I decided to put both boys in the bath at the same time, something I haven't done in awhile.  I put Brodie in the bath, then quickly sent Conner to the shower.  With both of them busy, I took two containers into their rooms and filled them with vinyls from the box, as many as I could find.  Then I replaced the sleeping bag back on top of the box, so it looked like nothing was changed.  I hid the two containers in the closet and in my bedroom, right as Conner was coming out of the I just had to wait.


This was going to be a big job, so I made sure the boys were asleep before I started working, so it was like 10:30 before the battle grounds were laid.

First, I put Red in a sock, then tied him up and hung him from the shower of the boys bathroom.

Then I unwrapped the captured vinyls and threw the toilet paper in certain locations.  I also wrote a note from the Vinyls, with misspellings and all

[Picture of DAY3-THE NOTE]

Laying down all the vinyls took the most time.  I decided to make it look like stormtroopers in small groups, but I think they kind of look like Nazi's by the time I was done.

After I was done I was in my room getting ready when I saw some Halloween decorations that I didn't use.  Hmm...what the heck, I blocked the door with Do Not Enter banners.


This morning was pretty funny waking up to.  The boys were lined up outside the door to the bathroom, unsure of if they should go in thanks to the banners.  I joined them at the door, looked at the banners, looked at the boys, looked at the banners, looked at the boys.  They seriously were not going to go past those banners. 

"What now?" I ask.

Boys shrugged their shoulders.

"Well, this is my house, and I'm not going to take this," and with one flat hand, I broke the barrier and the two boys went cautiously in.

Now the pictures really don't show you how freaking crazy the battle scene actually was, but I know it was crazy enough to totally mess the boys up bad.  Here's Red, dangling from a rope, with Vinyls all over the place, and a note demanding to see the fat man.  I left that scene, and went to get ready.  Ten minutes later, the boys hadn't moved.  Not sure if they were in shock, or they were just trying to process everything that was going on.

While I was making their lunches, I saw Brodie bolt from the bathroom to his room, and then seconds later come to me with two vinyls.

"Dad, I think these guys are on Red's team!" says Brodie.

"Why's that?"

"They were the only ones left in the box, they must have stayed behind because they didn't believe in what they were doing," my youngest says, with a face mixed in shock and happiness.

"I guess that makes them loyalists bud, got to be loyalists."

"Yeah, loyalists."  And Brodie, very gently, carried the Loyalists to some other vinyl toys that were on my counter...and that's how the Loyalists were created.

I'm guessing the boys were thinking about that scene all day, because when I picked them up they told me they were cutting Red down.  And they did just that.  Walked into the bathroom, untied Red, and gave him love for his injuries.  Then he was placed, gently, next to the Loyalists.


Thanks to Brodie's great idea of the Loyalists, I had my next idea already to go.  Again, it wasn't til 10:30 before I started work.  But this time, it took some hard work on my part.  I had to sneak into the boys room and remove all the Pokémon dolls the boys had, which they were curled up with.  At one point, Conner woke up and asked me if it was time to wake up.  That was stressful.  Then there was the fact that they now knew the bathroom was the place of the battle, but the bathroom has a fan that automatically comes on when you turn the light on, and the damn thing is loud!! 

Plus, I wanted to build a jail so I took a shoe box, cut out slits and then wrote jail.  A perfect place to throw some evil vinyls right?

After I had all the pieces together, creating the scene was the tricky part.  I closed the bathroom door, turned the light, and the annoying fan on, and got to work.  First I put our hero on a dragon...because that's cool.  And had him eat, step on, kill a couple of vinyls.

Then I took the rope that Red was tied up with, aka my belt, lasso'd some vinyls and put Stark, one of the Loyalists, on top with the snake on top of the vinyls...A side note about the snake, I'm not really sure which side he is on.  I think he keeps a snake.

Another favorite scene is one of the Pokémon with a gun on top of his head.  I then made some of the vinyls lay down like a cannonball and flown through, leaving one of the balls at the end of the decimation.  I thought that was cool.

One of the hardest scenes I put together, because I wasn't sure if it was appropriate, was the Firefly Scene.  The guy from Firefly, not sure his name, was in front of a line of vinyls.  The vinyls were down, as if shot, leaving two vinyls left.  It was a pretty dark scene, a firing squad, but the boys weren't bothered by it.  Not sure that's a good sign.

To counter balance the dark scene, I put a scene together of a pokemon and two vinyls playing a card game of War.  I thought that was pretty cool, unfortunately, the boys didn't get it.

That set up took a lot longer than I thought, about an hour, 90 minutes by the time I went to bed.  But it was pretty awesome, something I was proud of.

On a sidenote, Brodie and Conner both wrote Red a letter saying we are on your side, good luck and we are with you.  They also left a chocolate bar for Red, who ate a piece and then went to rage war.  I can't seem to find Brodies note (which asked Santa for Max the Tow Truck, which he sadly did not receive for Christmas), but I do have Conner's and Red's reply:


Day 5 started with the boys just staring at the battle scene, taking in everything that was happening, and very excited that the Pokémon had come to help the Loyalists.  I got up, got ready, got dressed, made their lunches, and then told them they should get ready.  I honestly wished I had a microphone in the bathroom to play for you the conversations that were going on in that bathroom.  I missed all of it, trying to get the day started, but there was non stop talk going in on what was going on, the Loyalists campaign, this being like a chess game, first the vinyls, then Red, then the vinyls, and now Red again.  What would the vinyls do that night?  How bad is it going to get?  Will they ever get to use their bathroom again?

The conversation continued on the drive to school, on the phone call after school, on the way home from school, and through the night.  Was it over?  Or was it going to get a lot worse?


This setup included all the vinyls that were still standing.  Amazingly, during the battle sequences, not a single vinyl came back to life.  When they were down, they were down.  A little hidden nugget of information.

So the storyline, which was lost on the boys unfortunately, was that the two Vinyl Loyalists were spies.  They helped take down the dragon with the help of the snake.  The snake bit a wing, and the spies stabbed the dragon. I getting too dark?

The vinyl's recapture Red and look to be on their way to hanging Red up again.  While at the jail, there's a jail break and all the vinyls are escaping...which if you saw the Jail the night before, one of the bars was already broken and one was trying to sneak out!!

The Pokémon pig lost the game of War, and the vinyls attacked

The vinyls were able to take the gun down, and the Pokémon with it.

Firefly was captured with a Vinyl on his head, and Stark was surrounded by smiling Vinyls.

In all honesty, I knew at this point what the final scene would be.  But I still had one night left...what could be done?  It was making me nervous, I had no clue.


Shock, pure and undeniable shock.  The morning before was filled with conversation, the morning of the 17th, dead silence.  When I saw the boys, their shoulders were down, and their mouths were slightly opened.  I tried at one point to say that there were traders amongst the Loyalists, but they weren't listening.  Their friends were captured, everything had taken a turn for the worst...nothing was to be said.

The drive to school was in silence.  I worked on spelling with Brodie for one last time, and the letters came out quietly.  The boys were defeated, now what?

When I went to pick the boys up, things had changed.  They didn't tell me what they had planned, but things were on the up and up.  Brodie had Basketball practice and laughter rejoined our little family. 

When we got home, the boys disappeared.  I let them be, figuring they were just screwing around, but they were doing quite the opposite.  They were planning a comeback for the Loyalists.  From what I can tell after the fact, the boys went in and got all the Loyalists that they could find.  They bandaged them, gave them love, and then armored the hell out of them.  When I finally came upon them, the bathroom door was closed so the vinyl's couldn't see what was going on, and the Loyalists were lined up outside the door, with guns and ammo, they were ready to fight...and thanks to them, that night was planned out.


When I opened the door to the bathroom, Conner had done a little more than just taken the Loyalists out, he filled the jail with Vinyl victims.  The jail was packed.

So first, I figured a peace sign would be best.  I was a little worried that the boys wouldn't know what a peace sign was, but I took the chance.  So I formed a huge one with the vinyls, laying some down to represent the symbol:

Then I added all the Loyalists that helped out.  Thanks to the boys, the Autobots from Rescue Bots joined the Loyalists to finally take down the Vinyls.

With the jail, I stood it up and added little white flags to show the surrender, then added the deck of cards, shuffled and ready to be put away.  The war was over, the Loyalists had won.

In order for the boys to fully understand what was going on, and to give the whole battle some kind of story, I told the boys about how the Vinyls were sick of staying in the box all year long without being played with and not getting any presents from Santa. 


Conner saw the Peace Sign right off the bat and understood the white flags, so that was pretty cool.  Brodie was happy to see the Autobots, but there was one Vinyl that seemed to have escaped the clutches, and it was one that I missed.  I could have restarted the story with this one Vinyl, but Christmas was coming, and it was time for the story to come to a close. 

On a side note, the boys did tell me that we needed to play with the vinyls, but playing the villain of this story, I told them no, they would be going back into the box.  Brodie actually looked kind of sad and asked if they could take some of the vinyls to mom's house the next week. 


The ending to the story was simple, Red would bring two presents for the Vinyls and all would rejoice and be friends.  Got to wonder if this is how stories are written: The ending first, then the journey last. 

First I stood the laying down Vinyls, then added some of the others that were scattered around.  Then I put Red in the middle with the presents.  No words needed, I think the conclusion was simple enough.  Also released the vinyls from jail.


The boys woke up and saw the gifts and were pretty excited by the final stage.  They both opened up a new vinyl to add to our ever growing collection: Han Solo and the creepy girl from Finding Nemo. 

That night Brodie cleaned up the bathroom all by himself.  I think he just wanted time alone with all the characters from the war over the week, instead of just cleaning up.  But he did an amazing job.  The finale was a bit uneventful compared to prior nights, but all in all, it was a success.


Like any book, the journey was much more awesome than the conclusion.  I was completely shocked by the imagination my boys put into the events, and I'm not a 100% sure if they knew how much of their imagination created each evenings battle.  It was truly awesome to see the boys just standing in one place for 10 - 20 minutes, creating their own storyline to what they saw, and then telling each other their thoughts.  While I used some words to explain some things, the true magic came from what came out of their minds due to what they saw.  It was an absolutely awesome experience, and hopefully I'll be able to come up with some kind of storyline next year that will keep them coming back for more...