I like space stuff. It would be fair to say I may not like it quite as much as my cousin Kirby, but still— NASA, SpaceX, Estes model rockets, physics in general… all great stuff. When I was young we had these Apollo 13 commemorative tumbler glasses. “A TRIUMPH OF COURAGE, INGENUITY, TEAMWORK” they declared, and rightly so. At some point, Apollo 11 (“MAN ON THE MOON”) Apollo 12 “RETURN TO THE MOON” and Apollo 14 (no snappy slogan this time) glasses appeared alongside them, and they were my favorite cups for two reasons. One reason, as you’ve surely guessed, is the space stuff depicted on them. The second is that they were perfect for dipping cookies in milk.
I also like LEGO, as immediately made apparent by my calling it “LEGO” and not “Lego” or “Legos” or whatever other thing people call it. You can use whatever name you like; I’m not that hardcore. But don’t you dare try to sneak Mega Bloks under my nose. I won’t stand for it, or sit for that matter.
When you put these two likes together, it is obvious that Caitlin got me the most perfect Christmas gift:
This is a set I’ve wanted since I first laid eyes on it on the back page of the LEGO catalog that arrived in the mail a while back. It’s a monster and the very definition of “neat things that are too expensive to just buy”. Or in other words, the perfect Christmas gift.
Most of Christmas day was spent playing with the kids and generally bumming around the house, but once the kids were in bed…
Caitlin and I got out our LEGO gifts and started assembly while watching our current show of choice, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, on Hulu! Caitlin’s gift was a modular modern home. As you can see she got started on it while I was still sorting out the bags of pieces for the Saturn V (there were 12 bags!)
The build process took place over three glorious days, mostly after the kids were in bed, and I savored the process. Here are some photos (click to embiggen if desired)
This set was so satisfying to build, and so imposing in its completion (it’s taller than my 3-year-old!) that I rearranged the built-in bookcase which had been a display shelf for various hobby stuff and I reoriented the space around the Saturn V and the Apollo missions:
Across the top are the Apollo 11, 12, 13, and 14 glasses, and the middle one is a special “Moonshot” glass. That one has a tumbler on the top about the same size as the others (commemorating Apollo 11) and fused to the bottom of it is a shot glass which I think is supposed to approximate a rocket engine. Whatever it is, it’s both weird and neat. To the right of the LEGO NASA Saturn V is the small “splashdown” scene that was part of the set along with a decanter commemorating the Apollo 11, 12, and 13 missions - “Three Giant Leaps for Mankind,” it says. To the left is the small “lunar” scene that was part of the set depicting the LM, two astronaut microfigs, and a tiny American flag. The LM actually fits inside the Saturn V between the S-IVB and the CSM, but I prefer to have it out for the lunar display. In addition the ascent stage separates from the descent stage, which is pretty stinkin’ cool. Lastly, on the left, we have the most recent addition to the I’m-not-calling-it-a-shrine, the Haynes Owners’ Workshop Manual for the NASA Saturn V [1967-1973 (Apollo 4 to Apollo 17 & Skylab)], which is so ridiculous that I had to have it. The mere fact that it exists was reason enough for it to go on the shelf but I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of information included, and I could spend hours looking through all the sections of the book.
So there you have it. My not-shrine to Saturn V and the Apollo missions. I think it looks pretty great and is a nice addition to my home office decor, as well as being my favorite Christmas gift in recent memory.