Nothing thrilled David more than when the kids came home from school with a “project” for a class. He would spend hours combing every aisle at the hobby store seeking inspiration. David’s first foray into the child school project arena was with Matt at the age of 5 and the annual science fair entry. Matt’s assignment—put together a solar system. So, off David and Matt went to the hobby store looking for inspiration. The solar system ended up being a wide board painted shiny black with ½ foam balls in the appropriate size and location as representation of the planets. Saturn had rings of colored cardboard and the milky way was represented with tiny colored foam pieces. It was spectacular. That is until it was hauled into the school gymnasium and placed on a table amidst all the other dads, I mean kids, solar systems. It was at this moment that David realized he was going to have to step up his game if he expected to get a prize—I mean if the child expected to get a prize at the science fairs of the future. And this is how the Allen family project monster was born.
Over the next 15 years the kids brought home their projects. David and whichever of his three kids was the “project leader” would head out to the nearest hobby store in search of divine inspiration. No matter what the project was, David was always positive that this “whatever” would be the best “whatever” ever built.
After years of projects not getting the top prize, David was presented with what he realized was his one last chance. Jess was a senior in high school so this was his last chance to wow everyone with his project abilities. Jess’ mission—make a castle out of sugar cubes. So off to the store they went in search of sugar cube castle inspiration. Hours were spent discussing the merits of various techniques and building styles. To David’s chagrin, Jess was always the “I can do it myself” child so his help was not really as well received as it was when Matt the “I don’t care how it gets done as long as I get my grade” child was the project leader. Unfortunately, after one too many interjections, David, to his mortification, was shut out of the project. Jess didn’t want daddy’s help putting together her sugar cube castle. But David was not to be deterred from making sure Jess had the best sugar cube castle ever. He waited for Jess to go to school, he ran down to the store and bought all the sugar cubes he could get his hands on. He worked tirelessly throughout the school day building the perfect sugar cube castle. He just knew that when Jess came home from school and he presented her with his amazing work of art she would be thrilled. After hours of work his masterpiece was finally finished. He picked up Jess’ inferior castle and put it away and slid his amazing masterpiece in its place. David was delighted with himself. He had provided his precious little daughter with an amazing sugar cube castle that all of her friends at school would ooh and awe over. (Please note that the picture below is just a figment of David’s imagination and not the actual result of his hours of effort on the perfect sugar castle.)
David anxiously awaited Jess’ arrival home from school. He couldn’t wait to hear her squeal of delight when she saw what an amazing job he had done for her. Imagine his disappointment when Jess, the “I can do it myself” child turned the corner and saw that her castle was missing. Instead of the squeal of joy David was anticipating he was rewarded with the very angry voice of his youngest child demanding “Daddy, Where Is My Castle?!?”