Panel 1: When Michael marvels that John really went out and bought a train set, John tells him that all of his life, he's wanted one of these.
What got in his way were Depression Kid parents who thought that betting that post-war prosperity would last was for suckers. This meant that Christmas was for socks and underwear and grooming aids and inexpensive toys and angry grousing about how Santa is a fink.
Panel 2: When he says that he can hardly wait to set it up because he wants to put up a whole layout with towns and and trees and tunnels and such, Elly asks the one word question "Where?"
Panel 3: He has a mildly confused look on his face as he repeats the word "Where?"
Panel 4: When he asks her "You don't need the whole laundry room, do you?", Elly is gobsmacked.
Summary: Ideally, John should have been able to clear a space to put the large conference table like deal most layouts are put on no problem so that she doesn't march over to Connie's to whine for hours on end about her child husband who treats her work areas like Terra Nullius. Instead, we have years of conflict because Elly has a tough time throwing anything away.