Friday, May 20, 2011

We've Come A Long Way Baby!

Dustin and I have tackled many a handyman/woman project together over the 12 years we've been married.  We started out with an utter failure before we were married, mostly out of necessity before we were even married.  We had no money and needed a dresser for our first apartment.  So for a whole weekend we sanded and painted an IKEA dresser that was Dustin's in his room at his parent's house.  TOTAL failure- it pealed and looked awful (but we used it anyway for atleast 2 years beause we were broke!)

We've since finished some more successful projects like laying tile, putting down our own laminate flooring, installing an oven and stove top, moulding and looots of painting that didn't end up pealing.

But, we have never tackled anything nearly as huge as what we have just accomplished.

Last year, as I was reading books on child development and healing, in preparation for Penny's arrival, I read in many places how important gross motor movement is in making synapse connections in the brain - swinging, hanging, spinning, jumping, climbing, pulling.  I approached Dustin with the idea of getting a small play set for the backyard that the kids could use, specifically addressing the benefit Penny would get from it.  Well, we started looking at playsets and our dream for a playset morphed into wanting more of like an outdoor palace - a wonderland of sorts.  We went on one website and found what we thought would fit well in our space but of course, they didn't give the prices of the sets on the website.  We had to call...

Ring... ring... ring... "Hi.  We'd like to purchase your "big mama jamma fortress of the universe" please."  (ok, so that wasn't the name but it should have been.)

"Certainly, maam.  I would be happy to assist you.  You called at a great time because we have a huge sale going on right now and you can save signficantly if you purchase today."

"Oh, that's great!  Can you give me an rough estimate of the cost?"

"Yes, it looks you would save roughly $7,000 if you buy today"..... silence as I calculate (because I'm such a math wiz) that if that is the amount I'm saving that this cannot be good news!....

"Can you tell me the cost of the playset?"

"With the discount, you're looking at about $17,000."     SAY WHAT?!  COME AGAIN?!

Needless to say, we ended that phone call quickly and decided to switch gears.  We got online and looked up blueprints for playsets.  I mean, we may not be carpenters but we could certainly follow directions.  We have built our fair share of Ikea furniture!  We found a website that fit the bill - we pay them for the blueprint of what we're looking for and we buy all the raw lumber at Home Depot and spend 30 hours or so (according to the directions) and we have ourselves very close to the "big mama jamma fortress of the universe" but for pennies - perfect!

Only thing was, they must have forgotten to include an estimated time alotment for people that don't have architectural degrees.  The company delivered all the hardware and swing equipment and it was slightly overwhelming.  Hundreds and hundreds of screws and bolts and nuts and washers and so on - oh boy!

Here's the great part.  Once we actually got our heads wrapped around the idea (and we'd already purchased everything so there was no turning back now) - it has been SUPER FUN!

AND NOW... DRUM ROLL PLEASE..... WE PRESENT "FORT DEMAIO II"  (Fort Demaio I was torn down from the trees to make way for the big boy):

Yeah for team work!  We think it took us roughly 250 man hours to build it but it was totally worth it.  The kids (and the neighborhood - it is now the new neighborhood park) love it and are out there all the time.  I can't wait for Penny to get to be a part of the fun they will have.  Here are a couple different views.  It didn't have a way to connect the 2 forts to the 3rd fort so Dustin and I "custom" built our own bridge - who knew we were the new Handy Manny?

We had so much fun working out there together that we've decided to tackle another construction project- this time sans blueprints!  Stay tuned for pics of our new deck area around the pool - we're hoping to finish it this weekend.

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