Monday, February 3, 2014

I Love Lego!

     This past year was a struggle emotionally and financially. I had lost my job early last year. I was anticipating departing for the Peace Corps the following summer. I decided to take my chances and continue with the application process joining the PC even though I didn't have a steady source of income. My boys were still living with me, I had my apartment, and several bills to pay, but I was convinced I was doing the right thing by continuing to move forward with my endeavor.

     Unemployment only goes so far. I applied to a couple of full-time jobs, but it was difficult to take a permanent job only to work for a few months. So I immediately signed on with a temp service.

     Not too long after I signed on I received a call about an assignment at Lego. The job was in the model shop and the assignment was top secret. We had to sign a paper stating we wouldn't tell anyone what we were building. Not only that, but the pay was better than other temp jobs and Lego is only 10 minutes away from my home. I jumped at this opportunity.

     I never really liked playing with Lego bricks when I was young. I thought of them as toys for boys. My brother always left the bricks laying on the floor and we would step on them. Boy, that hurt!

     I was hired along with several other temps. We didn't find out until much later into the project what we were building. We were getting to know everyone who works in the shop. It was a friendly place. The people laughed and joked often and there was a feeling of serenity in the place. It felt good. I was happy.

     Us temps started out building individual trophies by following a computer program. Not only did we have to snap the bricks together, but we had to glue them together. There is a special technique of gluing the bricks, and if glue gets on the outside of the bricks, it's no good. They have to be discarded. Very tricky skill to learn.

     I ended up mastering building quickly. I was a fast builder. I had to improve on my accuracy, but that was something I had no problem accomplishing. I actually fell in love with building with Lego bricks.

     Once we mastered the Lego building skill we were assigned a job. I ended up working with the only two women model builders, Kathy and Arleen. They were friendly and they have been working as model builders for many years. They were very patient with me while learning how to build.

     What we were building was a western scene. We built upon a base approximately 5 by 5 feet and I learned how to interlock the bricks to make the model stable. The western scene was made up of three different colored bricks and we built buttes which were very challenging. The western scene took over a week to build.

     It really is difficult to describe what we were building, but once we finished the western scene, we moved onto building a large mountain. It was huge! It was estimated to take two weeks for the three of us to build.

     This job ended up lasting several weeks and then into months. We finished the mountain scene then built a five foot tower with clear bricks that would be illuminated.

     There were more models to build, smaller models. We were finishing up the project. Us temps finally caught on to what we were working on...we were building the set for The Lego Movie! This was big. Now we understood why it was top secret. The public was unaware a Lego movie was going to released.

     Once the project ended the model shop decided to keep one other temp and myself on to help out with other projects. Somehow I ended up building part of a large model of Ninja Turtles coming out of a sewer. This was a challenging model. It was large and technical. But I took on the project with confidence and learned under Dan who I consider the master of all master builders.


     The Ninja Turtle project took me over a week to complete. I made some semi-major mistakes, but Dan helped me correct them. I was proud to have built such a complicated model.

     The Lego job eventually ended, but I was asked to come back a few times after that. I made friends with the people at the model shop. Friends I will always hold in high regards.

     A few months went by without a call back from Lego. The model shop hit a slow period. Not too many companies requested models to be designed and built.

     I ended up taking on a couple of temp jobs elsewhere, but none of the jobs were as exciting and interesting as the Lego job. If it weren't for the Lego job, I may have had to discontinue my PC application and wait for a better time.

     I visited the model shop the week before my departure date. I ate lunch with my friends and looked at the models they are working on. It was good to see them. I also took an assortment of Lego bricks with me to take to Zambia. I am going to introduce the people in my village to Lego bricks and document how they are received. It will be interesting to observe.

     So, if you are a Lego fan or not, go see The Lego Movie. It opens February 7th. Famous actors are voices for the characters. Looks good, but I won't be here to see it. I'll have to wait until I get back. We are hoping our names will be in the credits.

     Thanks, Lego, for giving me this one of a kind opportunity!!!


  1. You never know where your life path will lead. It's amazing what ends up happening. You really appreciate those moments when you go with all that you've got to give. Now I definitely have to see the movie!

  2. This is a fantastic story, and now the mystery is solved as to what you were doing at Lego. We all thought you were in the CIA on assignment. Bob W

  3. Saw it, and your sets looked awesome, Ginny! Be very proud of what you did! And I hope the children you meet learn to love Lego bricks, too!