The Playset

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Kamryn is slightly blurry in the picture above because she is testing out her new swing.  Here is a pic of Kendal swinging by herself:

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I spent the last couple of days putting together a “new to us” playset for the girls.  This is not what I was expecting to do this weekend, but sometimes you fall into things that cannot be passed up.

As any homeowner knows, there is a continual list of “things I’d like to do” to the house.  When we first moved in, we were very motivated and knocked items off the list quickly.  After a couple of years of non-stop projects, we finally settled in and pressed pause on that list.  It was nice to relax in our home and not donate our entire paychecks to Lowes.  The one problem: our list continued to grow, but we did not check items off the list.  Some of the bigger items at the moment — remodel our master bath, new flooring throughout the entire first floor, and a new patio in our backyard.  That is just a small sampling of “the list.”  It grows every month.

What I have found is that having kids inevitably adds to that list.  Some very small items (i.e. put in baby gates) and others larger (repaint/ remodel nursery) come with the tots.  One such item that I planned on completing later this summer was a new playset for the girls with a couple of swings, a slide, and maybe some other fun toys.  I thought they would be the perfect age at that point and waiting would allow me to tackle a couple of other spring projects.  However, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity that fell into my lap.

I was talking to my next-door neighbor last weekend and he was asking me about my outdoor projects for the summer.  Since moving in last May, he has done an extensive amount of remodeling and we often chat about our to-do list.  I told him I was thinking about building a playset this fall and he said that he randomly came across a playset for sale on our subdivision’s Facebook group.  I would have never found it because I seldom use FB and was not even aware of the group.

He said there were multiple people interested already, but told me the address just in case it was still there.  Right after our convo, I walked to their house, and sure enough it was still there.  With help from Cari, the homeowner, and the homeowner’s neighbor; we were able to dissect it and move all of the parts & pieces into my yard on Tuesday night.  What a serious pain in the ass.  When I heard “free,” I knew I had to jump on it, but I was skeptical of the condition.

When I found that the playset was in “good” condition, I was surprised by the price (similar playsets run from $1,000 to $1,500 new).  After busting my ass to tear it apart and transporting it to my yard, I completely understood the asking price.  10 years from now if my tots never use it, I would be glad to give it away or even pay someone to take it away.  The thing is very heavy, awkward, large, and difficult to take apart.  A lot of the hardware cannot be found at your standard Home Depot/ Lowe’s home improvement store, and the wood is oddly shaped.  For example, the four main support beams that support the center platform and heavy roof were all 3″ x 3″.  I wanted to replace all of the wood, so I bought the closest thing to it 4″ x 4″ pressure treated wood (which is 3.5″ x 3.5″ after cut down).  That 1/2″ change causes a ton of problems.

This pic can give you an idea what I’m referring to (the four vertical beams):

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Coincidentally, I did not realize that every piece was a weird shape until I already had a good amount of it together and standing.  At that point, I decided to redo nearly everything.  So the “free” really became a nice slide, a heavy-duty roof, and the template.  Still an excellent deal, but not as good as it initially sounded.

After securing it into the ground and ensuring that the structure was stable, I added the swingset portion to the left side of playset.  Then threw on two baby swings and whola.  Sounds simple, but re-building a playset from scratch with different sized pieces requires a decent amount of thought and several headaches.  Here it is in the temporary state that allows the girls to swing:

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At the end of the day, I am glad that we got the playset now.  The girls absolutely love their slide and enjoy the swings.  The playset should provide hours of fun all summer long that we would not of had otherwise.  The girl’s smiles on the slide are priceless,  and that is what being a parent is really all about.

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