Getting through the day, one cup at a time.

Hammer Time

on April 22, 2012

Parents! Does your child (children) have a toy that you hate? I mean hate with a dark burning fury. That toy for me was this phone/keyboard combo, the entire toy was vibrant colours with see-through plastic mixed in with solid plastic. One side was a phone with a 12-button keypad, (Odd that I feel the need to specify that the toy wasn’t QWERTY or touch screen…ooh, or rotary. Not a rotary phone.) while the other side was the keyboard the contained approximately 12 keys. This toy played music for every button that was pressed, and would randomly ring loudly. Why did I hate this toy so much, you ask? Because there was no off button. No button, no switch, no battery door to remove those S.O.B.s and the batteries never died.

If we could implement that battery technology elsewhere…can you imagine if your wall clock never died? That would be awesome.

But I digress! I hid the toy for a long time, and then one AMAZING day, Phil need to take apart a child’s toy for a project.

“Do I have a toy for you!”

In order to access all of the happy bits inside the toy it needed to be broken open. What? There were no visible screws, that toy was locked up tighter than a bank vault.

So I beat it with a hammer.

It was amazing, let me tell you. An all-empowering sense of justice and karma.

Last week the kids went to bed without tidying their toys, (I had decided that I would just rather do it myself and have them in bed just then) and I thought I had picked them all up before retiring for the night. Apparently I missed one, and this silly little rattle-ball-thing was elected to be Edie’s chew toy. She’s our dog, by the way.

Once the toy was chewed on, one of the ‘hubs’ broke off and released two of the…cord-thingies. The toy was automatically deemed unfit for play and was about to be recycled when I looked at the shiny beads inside and remembered the joy of beating that phone/keyboard with a hammer.

I opened my toolbox and pried open the Pandora’s Box at the center of this toy. This separated the three sets of plastic cylinders and all of the plastic shapes.

Notice the green flower on the orange cord still? I didn’t. Not until hammer time.

I then wrapped each cylinder in a cloth bag and brought them outside to beat them with a hammer on the concrete step. I like to use a cloth bag because it helps prevent plastic shards from flying all over the place and ending up in my eye.

The cylinder with Pandora’s Box still attached to it was the hardest one to crack open, but in the end I was victorious.

Now, not only do I feel super-powerful, “Judge of Toys”, but I’ve also salvaged several awesome beads for future crafts! My plan is to let Ally make a bracelet out of these beads.

Three of the plastic shapes had to be thrown away as well, due to chew marks, but five out of eight isn’t bad for salvaging…and I got at least 95% of the beads!

Do you try to reuse parts of broken items? Or am I the only one?


11 responses to “Hammer Time

  1. sillyliss says:

    That is awesome! I can’t think of a time I’ve ever reused toy parts. Usually when the battery runs out, we say the toy is done, but Emilia has caught on and now says, “It just needs new batteries from the store.” Oy. She said that this morning when her pink-falling-part shoes failed to light up.

    We have a lot of terrible toys but I think my least favorite was this plastic remote control from Grandma. Ugh, every noise was awful. It was like nine different types of staticy television and two clown voices. Hated that thing. It “disappeared into that good night.” Heh.

    • Oh, what I wouldn’t give for the days before Ally knew that batteries could be replaced. What a perfect excuse, I managed to donate this terrible keyboard once the batteries died…that was amazing.

  2. I am constantly finding toy parts and I keep them in a tupperware bowl for what I call “Misfit Toys.” Every now and then I realize where the piece goes. It’s kind of like those mystery bolts whenever you’re putting together something from IKEA.

    When my sister Teri was about 3 years old, she got a doll for Christmas that was about as tall as she was. It was called “Betty Big Girl,” and it walked and talked. Actually it walked like it was someone who just suffered a stroke, and it said things like “My name is Betty Big Girl. Will you be my friend?” The problem was, like your toy, it didn’t have an off button either (or that’s the way I remember it) so at random times, and often in the middle of the night it would start walking and talking. We gave Betty Big Girl the nickname “Betty Big Mouth.” It reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode with Telly Zavalas of Kojak fame (so weird to see him with some hair on TZ) in which he plays a mean stepfather who is killed by his stepdaughter’s doll, Talky Tina. Check it out here:

    • This keyboard-phone hybrid would be put away in a basket with other toys, and no matter WHAT it would randomly start playing music in the middle of the night.
      Ally has this Barbie PDA that her grandparents gave her for Christmas, and you can’t play with the thing without commentary from Barbie. She gets so mad at it and tells me stuff like “Why won’t Barbie be quiet?” and “I wish Barbie would stop talking, Mommy.” Me too, baby. Me too.

  3. lorajbanks says:

    Wow! You’re awesome. My husband and I just retire terrible toys to “the closest.” I have to admit; sometimes, when I’m going to a know-it-all mom’s house for a birthday party, I buy those toys on purpose! For shame!

    But I bet it felt pretty good to beat that toy with a hammer, no?

    • Oh, yes, good beyond belief. I probably convinced the neighbours that I was a maniac of some sort (well, let’s be honest, I may be).
      I don’t blame you at all for buying them for the know-it-all moms. I’m aware of a mother who makes long lists of ‘acceptable’ gifts and requires gift reciepts for every purchase in case she needs to return it. I find that so RUDE!

      • lorajbanks says:

        Me too! You know why? It IS rude! Sheesh!

        • Aunt Jodi says:

          I also love DESTROYING those horrible toys. And, like lorajbanks, I INTENTIONALLY buy those toys if moms are rude about “what is acceptable to give their child as a gift.” Seriously, if you’re inviting me to your child’s birthday, you should already know that I have good judgement of what kind of toys you and your child like… and if you’re going to be rude, then I will be too (isn’t revenge sweet?). It’s one thing if I ask for some gift ideas (sometimes I don’t know what new toys the child has, or what size they’re wearing) but to assume I’m an idiot and can’t pick out an acceptable toy just hurts.

          • And it’s a little foolish. If you don’t want other people’s choices then don’t invite them. Take the money you were going to spend on a party and just buy the toys YOU want, by yourself.

  4. Aunt Jodi says:

    I love re-purposing broken items. I had a (fake) silver necklace that was a chain with flat circle pieces distributed throughout the chain in a random pattern like this:
    It was a hand-me-down from my sister and I soon figured out why: the thing would break every time I wore it, and get caught in my hair all the time. After repairing it with pliers (hooking and bending the chain bits back together) about a million times, I decided it was no longer fit to be worn. So I wrapped it around a huge beige lampshade, and now when I turn the lamp on, it sparkles and makes cool shadows on the wall. I have been adding other broken necklaces/bracelets to it since then, and I love it. 🙂

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