Insert A into B and HAMMER LIKE A MOTHER

Yesterday was the occasion of my niece’s second birthday party for which my parents gifted her a Little Tikes pink Cozy Coupe car.

My nine-year-old nephew loves to be a little macho man and therefore immediately took it upon himself to open the box, lay the various coupe car pieces about the floor of my mother’s family room, and then began reading the instructions. He was attempting to insert a longish metal bar into the main car carriage component when he piped up, “Dad. I need a hammer please.”

We laughed.

You shouldn’t need a hammer to put together a toddler’s plastic coupe car, son. Are you going to ask for the Jaws of Life next?

At my mother’s behest, the men took over, and my God, I want so badly right this second to put “men” in ironic quotation marks. Whoops. I just did.

My husband and brother-in-law Muchacho got to work like men do — putting the instructions aside until such a time as the situation became all effed up and they had no choice but to pick up the instructions to sheepishly determine how far back they’d need to disassemble that which they had already assembled.

45 minutes into assembly, they were still trying to get the wheels on and were both sweating hard in the quite cool room while surrounded by dozens of mocking pieces of pink and blue coupe car.

My niece grew impatient.

“I wan mah cooop cahr.”

A hammer was requested by the men.

My sister and I snickered. Jokes about circular saws and The Jaws of Life were tossed about.

My niece scowled angrily.

“I wan mah cooop cahr!”

Two hours in they were three quarters of the way done after wheels had been installed and removed. And installed and removed. It appeared they were auditioning to be members of a NASCAR pit crew. However, if you can’t put the plastic tires on a plastic pink coupe car in less than two hours, you should give up that NASCAR dream. Heck, give up your Toys R’ Us dream too.

“I wan mah cooop cahr now!”

I walked by as they were getting closer to the finish line.

Me: “Are you supposed to have like a dozen pieces left over like that?”

My sister: “Great. She’s going to ride that thing down the driveway and it is going to disintegrate beneath her.”

The “men”: [wiping sweat from their brows] “We aren’t DONE YET.”

Me: “Me and Pens Fan could have built that car by now.”

My mother: “GM could have built twenty actual cars by now.”

My husband: [angry sweaty Spanish words]

Muchacho: THEY. USE. ROBOTS.

Me to my husband: “Say ‘focus’ for me.”

Niece: “I WAN MAH COOOOP CAAAAHR!” [begins sobbing]

Pens Fan to my father: “See. You should have had this put together before the party.”

My father: “That’s not my job.”

Me: “You DID buy it for her.”

Muchacho: “I’m thinking circular saw.”

My husband: “Orale tu putisima …”


Hell: [breaks loose]

Eventually the car was successfully put together with no major tools and with only two important looking small parts left over.

The “men” assured us they’re “extra.”

We will believe them until the wheels fall off.

Does Little Tikes make pink plastic Jaws of Life?

Just in case.



  1. Shawna
    May 16, 2011 11:01 am

    Ha! We just put the (non pink) Little Tikes cozy coupe together for my daughter yesterday. We had bought it for her birthday. Which was in SEPTEMBER, as in 8 months ago. This was our third assembly attempt, as the last 2 resulted in threats of divorce proceedings and a dead toenail from dropping a hammer on my foot. And yes, you need an effing hammer to put together a plastic toy car. We sighed in relief when it was done, and then held our breath when she sat in it, hoping it didn’t collapse. It didn’t. But maybe because she only played with it for 10 minutes and I spent the rest of the afternoon nudging her in its direction and muttering “ungrateful little brat. Get in the effing car.” OK, so maybe I wasn’t muttering.

  2. BobM
    May 16, 2011 11:02 am

    Been there.
    Many times.
    That’s why in my family, I’m known as “Mr. Badwrench.”

  3. Becca
    May 16, 2011 11:04 am

    Oh my! This brings back memories – I bought one for my nephew and putting it together is horrible…but so worth it when he gets it!!

  4. Erin
    May 16, 2011 11:08 am

    Your mom is hilarious! And I happened to hear “focus” said by a native Spanish speaker the other day. Just as you described – aweseome.

  5. bluzdude
    May 16, 2011 11:09 am

    I learned the fine art of toy assembly from my dad, who always bargained with the store employees to buy the floor model.

  6. AngryMongo
    May 16, 2011 11:19 am

    Yes, hammers are needed as much as a dump button for the ensuing string of obscenities that come from the assembly process.

    We have a fire engine that is missing a couple of ancillary parts which served no functional purpose and were lacking a way to be attached to the body of the truck. It works as it was intended and there was much rejoicing.

    They need to label the boxes, “Some assembly and copious amounts of alcohol are required”.

  7. USCMike
    May 16, 2011 11:20 am

    Boy, I bet you folks would be a barrel of fun trying to assemble anything from IKEA!!

    Me, I’ve been enlisted to put all sorts of stuff together and it’s usually worse when I’m handed the partially assembled piece and a box of parts, by the unhappy wife/mother, who’s usually muttering some f-word (I don’t believe it’s focus) under her breath. There’s usually a complaint about her judgment in marrying the father of her spawn, who can’t figure out how to assemble anything, yet knows how to program the remote to the DVR to instantly go to ESPN…

    As for your niece, get some roller derby pads and a helmet while she’s driving her new car! ;^)

  8. Butcher's Dog
    May 16, 2011 11:22 am

    I see the estrogen cloud being cued here with the male-bashers coming out of the woodwork. It started to rise with the Malkovic sightings and looks ready to explode. This is what happens when the sun makes an appearance each of five straight days and then spends the next ten in celestial time-out. Just sayin’.

  9. AngryMongo
    May 16, 2011 11:30 am

    @Butcher’s Dog

    Makes you wonder which has the better record in Pittsburgh… The sun or…

    I won’t say it.

  10. Butcher's Dog
    May 16, 2011 11:32 am

    @AngryMongo: The Team That Shall Not Be Named does better than the sun. The sun has a longer season, though.

  11. Burgh Bird
    May 16, 2011 11:48 am

    I think the rain is kicking the sun’s ass right now. On KDKA this morning, they noted that we are already 8 inches in precip surplus for the year.

    In January I bought an exercise bike. I have yet to put it together. I opened the box, looked at the number of pieces, and the bag full of nuts, bolts, screws, allen wrenches, and decided I needed to wait till Mr. Right knocks on my door with a screwdriver. The two times when I feel most like a dorky, awkward girl are mowing the lawn, and attempting to assemble anything that requires a tool. .

  12. SusanV
    May 16, 2011 12:14 pm

    OMG. I put the coupe car together by myself a couple years ago and it was so frustrating I almost quit. (But… then my husband would’ve taken over and… there would’ve been parts left over.)

    It was such a mother to put together and I still don’t think I got the wheels on correctly.

    That stupid coupe car.

    Little DEUCE coupe.

  13. Linda
    May 16, 2011 12:19 pm

    I Googled Orale tu putisima to see what it meant and the first link was back to this blog entry.

  14. Becky
    May 16, 2011 12:35 pm

    Whew dogged that bullet…our neighbors wanted to clean out their garage…gave it to us already assembled!

  15. Rich D
    May 16, 2011 1:00 pm

    I have few talents, but one of them is the ability to successfully assemble “stuff”. The result of too many years working in retail.

  16. Laura
    May 16, 2011 1:20 pm

    I bought this exact coupe for my niece’s first birthday last year. While reading reviews of how difficult it was to put together, I learned that Little Tikes has a site where there are VIDEO instructions of how to put it together. It was invaluable to me as I put this thing together. It still took about an hour, but without the videos, it would have taken much longer.

    Go to this site and click on “Instructions”:

  17. Kara
    May 16, 2011 1:52 pm

    UMM Yeah, I bought one for my son and the car was a solid piece of plastic… NOTHING was pre-drilled. I was using a screwdriver like an ice pick. After nearly stabbing myself for the second time I got my husband’s drill out. I kept thinking, ‘this cannot right’! After 2 hours of blood, sweat, and tears it was together. I was later informed by others whom said the assembly was I a nighmare even with a car that wasn’t a SOLID piece of plastic. Fyi… there were a couple pieces left over. They were to ‘help’ in the assembly – HA.

  18. Moxie Bestos
    May 16, 2011 1:54 pm

    We gratefully accepted a hand-me-down coupe car from our friends. If there were any parts left over during assembly, we’ll never know. Since it seemed to survive our friends’ two boys before we got it, it probably didn’t matter. The horn seems a little weak, though.

  19. Mary
    May 16, 2011 2:07 pm

    Much like the Frampton Comes Alive album, the Cozy Coup is standard issue.

  20. tehamy
    May 16, 2011 2:15 pm

    We bought Jack a Cozy Coup last year. It didn’t take as long to put together as the kitchen did, but let me tell you, there were definitely some bad words from my husband. And once it was put together, it didn’t look quite right. Well, a year and a million rides later, that thing survived three 5 year olds and 2 two year olds on Saturday.

  21. bucdaddy
    May 16, 2011 2:52 pm

    I have built a sectional desk and a bed, and still when I went to put up a new mail box a couple weeks ago I allotted myself the entire day to do the job. It took a half hour (AND there was much rejoicing).

    Point of the story: I have learned to take the time I estimate it will take to do a job and then multiply that time by a minimum of three. It’s like calculating garage mechanic time. When I hear, “Now you just go relax in the customer room, this’ll only take about an hour,” I call home and have my overnight bag and medications sent over.

  22. MadMadMad
    May 16, 2011 3:07 pm

    One word for you all: PLAYMOBIL. Makes the assembly of cozy coupe cars look like child’s play. Not only are there a bazillion parts (spare and otherwise), but those superior Germans openly mock you by telling you in the directions how long to expect assembly to take.

    For those not familiar with German, I can tell you that “Should take 1 adult 2 hours to assemble” loosely translated means “WILL take 4 adults a minimum of 6 hours, 2 six-packs, and 1 bottle of wine to finish enough that a child might be able to tell the resulting mess is supposed to be a hospital. Maybe.”

  23. Crazy Hat Bitch
    May 16, 2011 3:25 pm

    Hahahaha, a friend told me he did something to his Ipod this weekend & it took him 2 hours to figure out what he did. I asked if he kept the book of instructions to refer back to, then laughed & said “oh you’re a man, you don’t read instructions”. He said it didn’t come with a book…..funny guys

  24. Butcher's Dog
    May 16, 2011 4:03 pm

    @CHB: see…there’s the estrogen cloud raising its ugly head. Some of these things don’t come with a book now. You have to go on-line to get the directions (which some of us men actually do read, thank you very much).

    @bucdaddy: if I’m going to the garage I just take the meds with me. Makes life easier. Sadly, they frown on the consumption of adult beverages in the waiting room, though.

  25. Burgh Bird
    May 16, 2011 4:23 pm

    @Butcher’s Dog- That’s why they make travel mugs with lids…..nobody else has to know what’s in there…..

  26. histortweet
    May 16, 2011 5:02 pm

    Yes, they make pink plastic jaws of life. . . Some assembly required.

    You’ll need a hammer.

  27. Sam's Dog
    May 16, 2011 6:31 pm

    As a contractor, I’ve had more than my share of appliances, etc. to install or build, and unless I’m very familiar with the item, I always go through the instructions, it is actually faster than disassembling something 3/4 of the way through to put in a retainer clip or some such thing required in step 2. Even with a good understanding of things mechanical, I’ve been left many times scratching my head or using the “focus” word, wondering if the manufacturers of these products have ever assembled any of them, or just trusted the engineers who designed the product. As far as waiting for a garage mechanic, I suggest finding a shop with a respectable “lube joint” nearby where you can enjoy a libation and pick up your vehicle at your convenience. Just sayin’.

  28. Holy Crap!
    May 16, 2011 6:46 pm

    Some people on this blog need to stop sayin’ “Just sayin'”

    [wait for it]

    just sayin’

  29. Holy Crap!
    May 16, 2011 6:48 pm

    Hah! I meant Butcher’s Dog, of course, but while I was taking my own sweet time as an oracle of style and syntax, another “Dog” used it too!

    Holy Crap!

  30. Ginny's Dad
    May 16, 2011 6:49 pm


    Remember when you helped me install a storm door on the side porch. You read the instructions and I did the drilling, hammering, cutting and cussing – oops, I meant fussing. We followed the instructions perfectly, and after admiring our work, mom informs us that the outside of the door should be on the inside and vice versa. I think we then both complained about the crappy instructions.

  31. Sam's Dog
    May 16, 2011 7:30 pm

    @ Ginny’s dad- crappy instructions are the industry standard. @ Holy Crap! I am sulking away with my tail between my legs.

  32. Virginia
    May 16, 2011 7:50 pm

    Dad, I forgot about that.

    We followed those instructions like they were the word of God and we still ended up with an inside out door. We were so proud and Mom took one half of a look at it hanging on her house and said, “Hmm. That’s not right.”


  33. Bitter
    May 17, 2011 6:58 am

    Oh boy does this take me back to Christmases past!

  34. TracyinSC
    May 17, 2011 8:45 am

    An “assembling the coupe car” video might rival my favorite “assembling an ikea dresser” video…

  35. Megrcam51
    May 17, 2011 9:21 am

    OMG, I thought I was the only person who needed a hammer to put this cozy coupe together! My husband was convinced that the pieces were molded incorrectly and gave up after 20 minutes but I finally got them to fit together. The assembly is ridiculous!

  36. redram1
    May 17, 2011 9:34 am

    With a big enough hammer you can fix anything!
    BTW, instructions are just another man’s opinion.

  37. bucdaddy
    May 17, 2011 9:56 am

    Bucdaughter is 25 but I’m tempted to buy one, just for the challenge.

  38. Cassie
    May 17, 2011 7:03 pm

    I clearly remember my husband saying whilst assembling the red and yellow one: “Sweet Jesus! Who designed this?! Satan?”

  39. Tracey
    December 25, 2011 3:29 am

    Why OH Why didn’t I read this BEFORE I bought this freakin Cozy Coupe? Merry Christmas my a**

  40. Jeff2481
    December 25, 2011 7:17 am

    @39 Tracey, I completely forgot about this post, and wish I didn’t because we just bought one of these for our son and it took me well over 2 hours to build the thing. Oh, before I forget, there were “extra” pieces leftover.

  41. Tracey
    December 27, 2011 11:58 pm

    @Jeff, I have to say the worst parts are those nasty metal caps for the tires. I tried the small hammer, nothing. I tried the large hammer, nothing. I tried the SLEDGE HAMMER….wa-la. I suggest a tire jack from your car for the front two tires. TO get those caps on the top. (my problem was solved) evertything else was easy. Asher LOVES it! :-) Finally, a reward for my pure grief!