Friday, September 9, 2011

When To Be Smug: A Playset Story

Thanks to the generosity of Starr's father and stepmother, and my parents, a large, very high-quality playset was dropped on our front lawn a few short weeks ago.

Thanks to my kickass self, it is assembled. And I did it... wait for it...

Solo. And with inadequate equipment. And I didn't break anything in the process -- myself, or parts of the playset1.

And, if I might pat myself on the back a bit more, it doesn't look like someone who doesn't know his right from his left put it together. As I often do not, that makes it all the more satisfying. In fact, it is complete. Not a bolt, washer, or screw left out.

In its full glory.

A chalkboard for all the "schooling" that is sure to take place.

Climbing wall.  Yeah, it beats the Y any day.

Now, there are some things that one might not brag about doing solo -- for example:
  • Writing a blog post. We do it all the time. That's why they are often fraught with grammatical errors, flagrant inaccuracies, and barefaced lies.
  • Soloing VC. You're probably level 30. A four-year-old mashing buttons could do that. Whooptee-doo.
  • Sex. I'm glad you're happy, but no one else cares, or wants to hear about it. Moving on.
See what I mean? None of those are real accomplishments when performed solo. I will admit that the assembly manual for this thing made it as easy as possible. It was broken down into sections which could each be completed in about a half-hour (with adequate preparation). Each section had a clearly-labeled hardware kit that contained only the bolts, nuts, washers, and other fasteners required for that section -- no huge bag of bolts to sort through.

Helps that the kids could swing while I finished the playhouse.

Add to that clear illustrations, adequate warnings when something should really be done with a ladder or a second person (neither of which I had2), and a logical order, and ten hours from start to finish really doesn't seem all that bad.

What's more? This exact same playset was assembled at Starr's folks' house by my in-laws. At least two of them were involved, and with all the tools they needed. It still took them an entire day. Granted, it took me over a week, but I could never dedicate more than an hour at a time to working on this thing, and that was always at the end of the day when I was already exhausted and racing the sunset to get each section done.

Yeah, I did it myself, and I'm damned proud, as well as awesome.

The kids agree that I am awesome. 

1Okay, I broke one screwdriver drill bit on a cantankerous screw.
2Starr did once hold something in place because she wouldn't listen to me curse at it any more. I could have done it myself eventually, but it would have taken me a lot longer, and the curses of many more gods on the heads of the engineers who designed such-and-such part declared. Love you, Starr.


  1. Ryan,
    Nicely done. It's Chris from Every Man's. Still interested? I'm working on more reviews and possibly video segments. Let me know.

  2. I'm impressed - good work, my friend.

    At this point, I know you're about ready to work on your yard, so I highly recommend leaving the area under your kickass playset grass-free. Mark out a perimeter, hit up everything living inside it with roundup, and throw down some mulch for now. In the spring, you can choose the best ground cover for the area.
    Make sure your perimeter is easy going for the mower, though. It will make your endless summer mowing much more enjoyable. :)


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