Chuck Effing Cheese
Still Not Really That Busy

One T-Junction Short of a Track

You know how some bloggers come back after a few days of not updating and talk about how BUSY, SO VERY BUSY they were, and you think, "I bet you were not really that busy." 


Well, I was not really that busy.

The other half of Noah's train table finally arrived, as did a bunch of Thomas the Tank Engine recalls-in-the-making train sets.

I should have known I was getting in over my head when I read the user reviews on Amazon...someone would complain that a certain piece had "two female ends" and thus wouldn't fit to form a circular track and blah blah blaaah, and then a hundred people would vote the review "unhelpful" and there'd be a series of rebuttals from Little Engineer in Little Rock and tommylovesthomas and hotdude4673 about how like, heh, the trains aren't meant to only go in CIRCLES and two female ends are actually really HELPFUL if you actually KNOW ANYTHING about TRAINS, unless you're like, heh, trying to replicate the track from the infamous Percy Saves the Day episode, which, heh, had a COMPLETELY BACKWARDS t-junction, like are we supposed to believe that was some sort of MAGIC t-junction? I mean, come on. Go buy some stupid cheaty wacky track and leave the fancy bridges to the REAL fans, loser.

Meanwhile, I was still at the "two female ends" thing.  Schwaa? And also, haaa? And also, why does that make me think of Fergie?

So I ordered some random (London, London) bridges and a track expansion set. I opted not to go for the the "buy this item with a DEGREE IN CIVIL ENGINEERING FROM PHOENIX UNIVERSITY" combo deal that Amazon thoughtfully offered, which was probably a mistake.

I have very literally spent the last 48 hours huddled around that train table, attempting to create a seamless track layout, failing miserably, drinking heavily and cursing. Always with the cursing.

Every attempt leaves me with at least one corner like this:


Go on, Percy. I dare you.


Percy's all, "Bah. And fuck you."

I have determined that I need to drive to the nearest hoity toy store and buy a couple specific pieces of track to finish our layout, despite the fact that Noah does not care in the slightest, and has instead been amusing himself with one 6-inch piece of track (that I randomly and heartlessly take away with each new layout attempt) and a plastic Tonka minivan for the past two days.

Yes, I fully realize that I'm being ridiculous.

And yes, I fully realize that the train set is his. The train set is not mine. I need to back away from the train set.

I think I have perhaps gone a little mad.


Sir Topham Hatt, totally sloshed again, is wondering how many damn bridges one stupid isle needs, and also how long it will be before he summons the courage to finally jump and end it all.


Yeah, it's true. Fucking stop work orders came in this morning. Some bleeding-heart pussy liberal discovered a nest and some rare bird eggs over there by the bridge -- no, not the suspension bridge,  no, not the toll bridge either, the sling bridge, over there, less than a foot away from the other bridges -- so for now, the track's ending here. So help me God, the union better come through this time for us -- my wife's been laid up on concrete blocks for months.


WANTED, ENGINE OF INTEREST: ENVIRONMENTAL DUMPING WITH MALICIOUS INTENT TO KILL RARE BIRDS. If you know the identity of the train pictured in this photo, please contact Sodor authorites.


"Old tires? Dead bodies? This isle sure ain't what it used to be," the sheriff thought bitterly to himself. "I gotta flip some track over to the roadway side so I can get the hell out of here."


Thomas has a Twin Peaks experience and meets his evil twin. "I think I can...DESTROY YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!" he said with a chipper glint in his eye.


"This is the worst disaster in the history of Sodor," the sheriff said, "A simple action switch track over yonder could have prevented this. It's like our entire community was designed by a backwards child. And wait...what's leaking from that cargo that nuclear waste? Oh, the humanity!"

"Hic," said Sir Topham Hatt cheerfully, from his place in the gutter.


Lyssa Ireland Thomas

I fear that you have plunged into Mommy Oblivion. Should I call for backup?

Lyssa Ireland Thomas

P.S. Can you do something similar for Playmobils? That way I can have a good laugh the next time I'm building a frickin' castle.


Oh my GOD that's the funniest thing I've read in, like, months. You rock!


absolutely hysterical!!!


I think it is a conspiracy. They it is for children, but they make it so complicated and challenging that only adults can play with it.

Did you say Tire? How is your friendly Tire?


P.S. I'm totally joking about the conspiracy theory thing. :-)


Absolutely hilarious! My son was looking at me like I was crazy while I laughed away at the computer screen.


OMG, now I have coffee all over my monitor and keyboard! That was so freaking funny; I had people coming over to my cube to see what I was laughing about.


(stands up, applauds)


Oh, dude. I feel your pain. I had an out of body experience a couple of years ago while trying to put together a Thomas the Train set.

I finally distracted my toddler with Lincoln Logs.

We don't speak of Thomas the Train in our house since then.



Have you ever considered writing a Thomas plot...hmmm, I think "Thomas Visits the Wine Country" would be an interesting title!


Amy- I heart you!

As a side note my brother had brio trains (oddels and oodels) way before thomas the train had accessories they took up the entire house and no one else was allowed to play if he was not in a sharing mood, good luck! I hope Noah will always share with you b/c this post priceless.


So this will totally be my brain in two years? I'll take it. Better than this corporate world bullshit.


I know I have said this before, but seriously: AWE-SOME.

You realize that I look to you for all product recommendations. No trains, check. No Chucky Cheese, check. Just lots and lots of balls.


Brilliant. Just brilliant. :-)


This is one of the absoulte funniest blog posts EVER!!! Oh my hell. I am loving the way your twisted mind works!!


When I was in England I remember seeing a juicebox at the store that was called "Sir Topham Hat's Favorite Drink" with no other explanation as to what it was. I always wondered if it was scotch, or something like that. So your comment about him being sloshed made me laugh!


Is it wrong that this made me /want/ to have kids?


I'm, like, SOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad that my son is now almost 14 and that I could never afford one of those wooden train/table set-ups when he was little...and all I have to deal with is the constant noise of the new Wii games eminating from the TV...........


PS - word of advice: never, ever, EVUH buy one of the K'Nex kits (like, say, cough-cough, the roller coaster one) unless you like endless hours of sheer frustration.......


OMG Too Funny! Snorting at work is not right! My baby girl(4yrs old) loves Thomas but mommy cannt afford much Thomas. She is happy so far with three pieces and enough wood track to make a loop. Target had track a month or so back in the dollar bin. I already know what we are asking Aunts for Birthday! I have a nephew that I know I bought this stuff for ages ago(he is a 6th grader now)and my S-N-L has a huge tote of bridges, tunnels, ect she is saving for her "grandkids". whatever.

Catherinette Singleton

I'm freaking dying! I hate Thomas so much, but would be more willing to watch if the stories were anything like what you alluded to.


Just a side that SHERIFF from Cars mixing it up in Sodor? Girl....never let the two worlds collide. You can't go back now.

Amazing post!!


Is it just me? Or does anyone else find it strange that the two narrators on Thomas are George Carlin and Alec Baldwin? Definitely two fine, respectable, upstanding moral citizens I want my children hearing stories from...


And our damn dog keeps eating our bits of track, loves to munch on the ends that fit together, leaving us also without a loop. Luckily kid doesn't care yet. This post really cracked me up - I think I am delurking for the first time.


BTDT!!! Of course you DO realize that once you finally get it operational, unless you glue it down or adhere with double sided velcro your adorable little boy will trash all your hard work within the day (if not a few minutes) once you let him loose on it. I'm sure you've considered that already....just I didn't so I thought I'd share on the offchance you hadn't.


Best. Post. Ever.

Have read your entire blog- in the period of about 2 weeks- and never posted. But I just wanted to thank you for entertaining me all these weeks. Also, I really think you should write a book, becuase I'm 23, not married and have no kids, and still enjoyed every second of it.


Don't feel bad...I had my engineer brother put our track together and NUMBER THE PIECES for me. I STILL can't get it right. My son doesn't care, but I can't touch the train.

And your stories are so freaking funny- I can't wait to show them to my hubby!


Hilarious! Best Thomas set, with dialogue, I've seen!


Hee hee hee. Snorffle. Snort, snicker. (I think I kinda liked that one.)


Very funny stuff. I wonder who filed the first lawsuit against the Sodor. (I'm so ashamed I know about Thomas and his ilk, being that I have NO children yet.)


Damn Amy I nearly peed my pants. We started with the Figure 8 set, so it CAN be set up easily in a continuous loop. Many many miles were logged around our table. Of course, DH is a model train nut, so now we have enough Thomas pieces to model the entire B&O main, about half of them recalled, so they are sitting in a rubbermaid tub in the basement until I can figure out how to pay to ship it all back to get it replaced. I can't wait to show DH this post - he may pee HIS pants!


De-lurking to tell you that was the most fabulously entertaining thing I've ever read. Thank you.


Bossy thinks she remembers that episode of The Sopranos.


That is brilliant! My poor son had a similar experience as I set up his Thomas set, right down to me stealing the bits of track he was playing with in order to build my never-ending snarl into nothingness.

I caught myself telling him, "No! Don't touch that! Mommy needs that!" Then I quit.


Ahhh, the memories! They're flooding back! We never invested in the table so the tracks just meandered wherever they decided to go. DS is now 9 (ack!). I'm thinking we should pull out the trains and get down on the floor with his little sister (22 mos.) now. And yes, every piece of track and every train and every sign and tree will be stored for future generations.


...and, brilliant post. Loved the captions under the pictures. I knew there was something a bit off about Sir Topham Hatt. So now I know where he got the gut. It all makes sense now. Hilarious.


OMG those captions made me cry I was laughing so hard! Oh that was hilarious, God bless you for that Amy! Sigh.


I suffer from my own train-track inadequecies.

Now I'll look like the geek I really am and tell you to buy short curves.


I'm sure my coworkers think I'm crazy, but that was damn funny. Thank god I talked my girls into giving their Thomas set to a friend of ours.


Please write children's books for adults - that was hilarious!


If you need to buy more track pieces or whatever, try AC Moore and Michaels. I had no idea they carried it until I went shopping with a friend this weekend. And, both stores occasionally put out 50% off coupons. (I think the stores accept each other's coupons.) My friend told me that the selection is generally better at AC Moore.


Holy shit that was funny! I hope you glued that sucker down. Well I have to go change my pants....laughed too hard!


i love *LOVE* this post! too funny!


I'm exhausted just from READING about putting the track together. Thank god there were funny picture captions to help me recover from the migraine I got thinking about two female parts.


I always thought that Sir Topham Hatt bore a remarkable resemblance to a Thomas Nast robber baron.

You've gotta hand it to the Thomas marketing department, though; any train that appeared in even a single episode (I'm looking at you, Spencer) has been manufactured. There are about 150 characters, half of which are the equivalent of "Fat Guy in Restaurant" in the credits.


I'm a little tipsy now so this entry was extraordinarily funny to me but I think even if I was sober I would find it hysterical.

Damn. You and Miss Doxie are the only two people on EARTH who can make the most mundane subjects hilarious.

I wish I could write like you. Damn you are creative.


Oh, by the way...a new Ikea just opened up in our neck of the woods. People were camping for two days to be the first ones in.

While everyone else I worked with talked about the furniture and the modernishism (new word) of it all and discussed the camping folks, all I could think about was you and your entries about your dealings with Ikea stores.

And then I wondered how weird it would feel to have someone tell you that.


Holy Frack this post was funny! I started giggling at your Fergie (London, London) bridge reference. I KNOW I care more about the train setup than my child does, because I spend way too much time getting the track just so, with the elevated bridge and the tunnels in just the right places, and then I get annoyed when she just wants to push the trains around on the floor. Doesn't she know that my train track setup is how I show her my LOVE?? LOL


My lands, you are funnier than funny. Seriously. No, srsly. You ARE hilariously talented.


Did you know that the old DVD's with Ringo's voice (instead of Alec Baldwin's) used to call Sir Topham Hat "The Fat Controller?" Imagine that blaring into your toddler's conciousness when you have universally banned the "f" word (and I'm not talking about fuck) from your home.


fucking fantastic


This was so funny!
I made my husband read it and he thinks you are a genius!

Kelly C

I was just over reading dooce and one of her side ads today mentions amalah, (FM shopping guide), FYI...
Thomas the Train , you should skip and go right to the Transformers/Cars phase, cuz thats whats next my friend.

Kelly C

BTW, when George Carlin was 'the voice', my brother (whose son was 3 at the time), met him at the airport (where mybrother works) and found himself gushing on to George Carlin about how he 'watches Thomas every day!'


You know, your Thomas the Train set is much more interesting than mine. I mean, my children's. I get the feeling that I could sidle up to your Thomas the Train set and start lining up shots. Which, by the way might make your issue with the non-matching corners go away.

Mrs. Q.

I loved this post. I've had that female end-to-end problem myself (my husband liked the sound of that) and those damn train tables make it nearly impossible to build anything other than a loop. Whee. Hey, I expect the whole thing will be recalled anyway...

Fairly Odd Mother

But, does Noah wait until you have the entire track PERFECT, and then tear the entire thing to pieces? Ahhh, yes, that is what happens in our house and I'm ready to either move the train table out of his reach (which seems a bit insane) or glue all the track down once I have the perfect design (but, when will I know it is perfect & complete? When????)


I love that you're having more fun with those trains than even Noah.


I never remember having this much fun with those damn tracks. My kids are way past playing with Thomas, but I miss it. I was addicted to buying new tracks and trains. I have some groovy tracks that are flexible. Sorry, it's hard to explain, but if you'd like, I'll send them to you, they might help with your design.


My son (and therefore, I) never got caught up in the Thomas and/or Brio craze - but, I have to admit, my Pokemon card phase was a REAL embarassment!!!!!!!! {{{oh, and the beanie baby phase}}} To make matters worse, neither are worth anything anymore......

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