Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Monday, May 29, 2006

"Felt wrong not to swing." -Caesar Joaquin Phoenix, Signs

What does a $190.00 and 12 hours get you at Home Despot? Yup. It's above.

The Mrs. said it was time to build a swing set for The Boy and The New Boy. I could argue based on being cheap, how that would cost money, or, I could go spend a few hundred dollars and purchase the lumber and unlimber my tools for the summer. What do you think I did?

Off to Home Despot.

Actually, first I had to figure out exactly what I was going to build. I went out on the Internet, and found that there were many places that would sell me plans for a swing set. Pay for ideas? No. I’d mess it up a dozen times before then. But I did go on the Internet and look at pictures. From there, I sketched up a basic plan, counted up the lumber, and went off with The Boy to Home Despot.

We picked up all the lumber (22-2x4x8, 4-4x4x8, 2-2x6x8, 2-2x4x10) along with various other sundry parts (screws, metal brackets, 2-10’ sections of 1” conduit, etc.) and one other thing. A drill press.

I’ve always wanted a drill press. Drill presses have the advantage of being drilly. And of being pressy. I love both of those. Drilling and pressing. Mmmm. Paging Dr. Freud? Nevermind.

I brought the booty home and we began putting the parts together. At one point we had the 4x4 put together on a brace of 2x4, lying on its side. It looked like Thor’s (god of thunder) box kite. At that point, though, I burned up not one, but two screwdriver bits. These bits, it says on the box, were developed for the aerospace industry so they could, well, I don’t know, they didn’t say what they did with them. From the rate they burned up, looks like the shuttles are made of these things.

I hate to drive a bazillion miles back into Fairbanks for a drill bit, but I also divined that there were other parts missing, too.

Back we went. The Boy had a Home Despot apron (you know, the orange ones) and demanded he wear it to the store. I thought I’d take a picture and hit ‘em up for violations of child labor laws, but instead I just bought my drill bits.

It was on that trip, however, that I discovered that I’d been hit by the plague. Or some disease that makes one immediately crave sleep. I was feeling so ill that even the sweet, sweet taste of beer was unappealing.

I got home, did a bit more work, and finally curled up on the couch. On Memorial Day, after sleeping though sixteen straight hours of the Bird Flu, or Ebola, or whatever I had, The Mrs., The Boy and I again started building. The Mrs. (until she had to go to work) and The Boy (the whole time) were incredibly helpful. We weren’t complete at the end of the day, but we were close.

The view from the top. The Mrs. and I marvelled at how you could see, well, the same trees. But we were 4' higher looking at them.

The one creepy thing was when I was attempting to figure out how to attach the slide to the main structure, The Boy suggested we need two U-bolts.

He’s right. U-bolts are just what we need. And, we need two of them.

How the heck does a five-year-old know about U-bolts?


Blogger SusanE said...

Very nice gym. Smart kid you have there.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the years, I have been consistantly amazed by the wisdom and genuine talent displayed by children! I'm seeing signs you may have an architect or an engineer on your hands!

5:53 AM  
Blogger brotherbill said...

Cool. The Boy always has known what he's doing. It's you we worry about. I suppose the 'swing' part of the swingset is coming, ...when? Soon?

6:40 AM  
Blogger W&MGrad said...

The boy must be a construction prodigy!

7:11 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

When he starts sucking on his teeth, tutting and asking you which bodgit and scarper merchant you've had in, you know it's time to gently remove the spirit level from his hands and plonk him in front of the Xbox.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Lady Luck said...

So uh....Where's the swings? You built a SWING set right?!

Way to go Boy for knowing about U bolts!!

Uh...does that mean he is taking after his dad and will try to build everything himself??!!?

12:44 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I'm so jealous - I've always wanted a drill press. They just look so fun, and well, you're right, drilly and pressy! Good job on the swingset, I'm sure your boys will love it.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Al said...

You got a drill press out of the deal? Very impressive. Did you make the slide too? Even more impressive. I am guessing that you regained your taste for a cold brewski....

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While you drilled, designed, and pressed, I was shoveling and mulching. So we each paid a load of money to the box store but I ended up using my previously owned shovel and have no new power equipment in the garage (can you feel the jealousy?).
Anyway, while shoveling, my youngest was tooling around the driveway in her orange and yellow toddler mobile when the wife said "do you know who gave that to us?" And being a male I did not, but it turned out to be you. So I plan to email you a photo of a well traveled toddler mobile when I get to it. Hope you have a taste for beer again, Alice.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

I see a treehouse in your near future. You'd better cut them all down before it happens.

By the way, U-bolt is advanced duct tape.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Jacie Wiggs said...

Oh my gosh, you people are just so funny, the lot of you and none of you are from Newfoundland? John, I have the fondest memories of trips to the hardware store with my own father. We still do that occasionally! You get the AWESOME DADDY prize from The Boy and The New Boy for that building project! Perhaps the two of them might build you your dream retirement villa, you know as they increase their skills!

3:05 AM  
Blogger Suess said...

Hey...thanks for visiting my site..we've been watching yours for a while...great info for soon to be 'Fairbankers', 'Fairbankians'! Congrats on the swing set, I'd be proud to lift my leg to your work:-)

5:47 PM  
Blogger John said...

Thanks . . . not done yet, with either the gym or the kid!

Yeah, it stumps me sometimes. He's a good one, and we'll see how he does with calculus.

The swing comes soon. The Ebola or whatever is gone now. This weekend, perhaps . . .

Actually, he can name most things at Home Despot, but he doesn't do so well on roofing jobs (can't multiply length times width yet). Silly boy. Like I said, he needs to get on the payroll there . . .

He actually prefers to participate in the construction more than playing. He had an electric screwdriver, and was driving screws, although in a piece of scrap lumber.

lady luck,
Every good house has a foundation! The swings (one for each boy) and the parts are all here, but I'm about 4 2x4's short now. Look who can't count.

Yes. He already constructs elaborate (though fictional) devices out of paper. If he could figure out how to build an infrared camera . . . well, we'd have one now. (That's really at the top of his want list.)

The big payoff so far came when I drove home and saw that he'd occupied the tower section with his radio and cars. Already a winner!

I'm calling it an early Father's Day present. The slide, well, it's a work in progress.

Beer . . . back on.

Shovel, mulch? You need a Bobcat, my friend.

I seem to remember exactly such a vehicle. Glad it's well loved!

If I cut the trees down, my dogs would be frustrated. As it is, The Boy has expressed his interest in just such a structure. Too late.

Ahhh, the Zen of Duct and U. What is the sound of one tape ripping?

None from Newfoundland. I expect the two of them will be building more schemes and trouble, rather than my dream home. Just hoping one of them is rich to fund my beer past seventy.

I think you'd not be the first!

7:25 PM  
Blogger HP said...

he's a construction savant

(the word verification was plyjob, no kidding)

7:01 PM  

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