The Kit in the Really Big Box

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Written by Julie Passmore. Julie suffers her husband Rod’s obsession in Forest, Virginia.

Notes from the bitter better half

When my husband called from Oshkosh a couple of years ago and said,  “I’ve  bought an airplane kit,” my response was pretty low key. I think I said something like, “That’s nice, Dear.”   He’s always been a model airplane enthusiast, so I was expecting him to bring his new kit home on the airplane as hand luggage.

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Within a few months, The Kit—which turned out to be a GlaStar®—started to arrive, and it became obvious that our house wasn’t big enough for the three of us (me, him and The Kit). The search for a new home with a work area big enough to accommodate The Kit and the construction process took a few months, and as we packed our belongings and left our home of fifteen years, I remember thinking, “This is actually a good thing. We needed more closet space.”

I was still pretty naive at that point—the fuselage part of The Kit in the really big crate hadn’t arrived yet.

We soon settled into our new home and met our neighbors, who happened to be building an RV in their basement. My visions of going camping with our new friends in their homebuilt camper were put to rest quite early on, so I didn’t get too used to the idea.

We spent several months converting our basement into a fully (make that fully) equipped workshop and telling people that, yes, we’re going to be able to get the plane out of the basement (although we have our doubts about the RV next door). A few weeks of construction followed, and then we started work on the second rudder. Grrrrr.

During this initial disruption to our lives and the first few weeks of being Rosie the Riveter, I kept a mental list of some of the lies, untruths, falsehoods and platitudes my homebuilder husband spewed forth at regular intervals. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I promise I won’t spend every evening and weekend building!
  • Bucking rivets is fun! Trust me!
  • Your hands will toughen up once the bruises fade.
  • This is not an obsession!
  • I’ll only need to buy a few cheap tools. The compressor doesn’t make much noise.
  • I’ll only need your help sometimes.
  • I promise not to call you “Rosie.”
  • If I spend four days at Oshkosh, I probably won’t need to go next year.
  • Of course, I’ll still have time to do the yard!
  • Short, broken nails are very sexy!
  • I’ll keep all the parts/literature/catalogs in the basement.
  • You did so promise to buck tonight.
  • It’ll only take a year or so to complete.
  • I’m just looking at the “options” catalog.
  • But I thought you’d like a new bucking bar for Christmas.

Once you’ve become accustomed to The Kit and its impact on your life, your homebuilder may let slip that the engine, steering wheel (or whatever they call it) and a variety of other fairly essential parts are optional extras. Don’t be fooled. For once, this is not a lie. Hard to believe, yes, but not a lie!

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