Disaster struck this week.

I opened my office door to find that my LEGO Bonsai tree had collapsed. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe someone on the cleaning crew bumped into it while vacuuming? Maybe the connections just gave way? Maybe LEGO termites?

I know. It’s not anything like Titanic-level disaster. No one died. Not like there were LEGO elves in the tree baking cookies. But then again, you’re not the one who has to remember how to put it back together.

When I received my first LEGO architecture set, I never imagined moving them around. But if I had to change location from one part of the house to another, not a big deal. Even as the sets grew in size, relocating just meant two of us instead of just me. What I did not consider was what that meant if we had to move.

I remember as we were getting ready to remodel, staring at the Tower Bridge set (all 4300 pieces) and thinking where exactly it was going to come apart if we hoped to move it from one house to another and back again. Because as detailed as the instructions are for assembling each set, there’s nothing about how to take them apart again in a sensible order.

A colleague living in Germany mentioned having his Colosseum set stored in a box, ready to move when his wife was reassigned stateside. My first thought? I hope none of the parts pop off during transit. Or worse. Because figuring out where they came from might take a while. Although if he’s like me, he still has his instruction booklet. Then it’s just figuring out at which step each piece was put on.

Even after multiple moves myself, I still forget how the simpler models can be an issue. One of my first architecture sets was Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Nothing big by any means. Except the top two tiers slide into place. Not snap. Slide. Which you forget about until you’ve reached into the moving box and realize the two have come loose, laying there taunting you.

Because no matter the number of times you’ve had to slide the pieces back in place (and no idea why I can’t remember they’re not attached), you cannot remember right away how they fit together. I’m an architect. This should not be a problem. Except every time, the same process plays out. And after about 10 minutes, I’ve figured it out once again.

However, I’m looking at my poor tree and thinking the instruction booklet will be required. And perhaps while I’m reassembling, I’ll change the leaves from pink to green. It is summer after all. Plus why not give myself a little extra something to do this holiday weekend. Maybe I can even find some elves to put in there.