About Amanda

I’m a disgruntled Metro-North commuter by morning, real estate journalist by day, insomniac by night, and cancer butt-kicker for life.

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From Waffle Blocks to Allen Wrenches

Today, I spent the afternoon at my best friend Melanie’s new house, helping her and her sister Karen put together dining room chairs she bought at Big Lots. It was one of those complicated, pack-flat chairs that involved a multitude of screws and Allen wrenches. Each chair involved 12 screws of various sizes, so I asked Melanie to go to Target and buy a cordless drill and hex bits to make the process go a little faster. After she left, I called her and told her to a;so pick up those fuzzy felt pads you put on the bottom of the chair to stop it from scratching up your floor.

After I hung up the phone, I turned to Karen and said, “Whoa, that was such an adult conversation.” You think being 30, I’d be  used to it now. But it seemed like only yesterday we were building chairs—out of Waffle Blocks. In reality, it was 20 years ago. The Five Amigas—me, Mel, Karen, Margaret, and Alyse—would spend hours building furniture and forts with Waffle Blocks. How easy it was to click those big pieces of plastic together!


Two decades later, Karen and I sat in contortionist positions, trying to make sure the screws lined up perfectly with the chair legs. And instead of playing supermarket with plastic food, Melanie was getting frustrated picking out the right drill and bits. Those afternoons of playing house and other games have finally translated into actual adult life.

We still have four chairs to put together. I think I’m going to tell Melanie to go dig the Waffle Blocks out of her parents’ basement instead.

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