Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tanory Playhouse

Longtime readers of the blog may be shocked to find out that I have overcome my UIS (Useless Idiot Syndrome) and have actually managed to create something - using power tools, no less!

It all started when we moved to our new house back in January.

We had a swing set at our old house. It originally came from my brother-in-law's house. We swiped it from his house in the middle of the night, then set it up at my house. We just always pretended like it was a coincidence that we had the same exact one as what used to be at his house. The kids loved it and played on it all the time, and it was lots of fun.

But we sold that one before we moved, and Betty has been plotting to get a new one ever since. She's just been biding her sweet time.

Finally a deal sprung up out of nowhere, and we got a play set that was on sale at Toys R Us that was within our price range and looked like I might actually be able to put it together on my own. (By "on my own" I mean "with lots of help." We all know my limitations.)

But this year I made a New Year's Resolution that I have been sticking to: Try New Things. In the past I might not have had the confidence in myself to try to build something like this on my own, but this year my motto is, "Screw it."

So that's what I did: I screwed it. I screwed so many screws into this thing, it will never come apart.

Here is my first piece of the play set. It's the first thing I've ever screwed together (outside of some shelves that my father-in-law helped me build a few years ago). This is the rock wall that goes on the back of the play set. It's OK to be amazed by how straight all of the boards are and how evenly separated they are.

First piece done!

That literally took me two hours to build. I first had to sift through all the parts - finding the right wood pieces as well as the screws - and then I had to look at the instructions from several different angles to understand what they were trying to tell me.

Next up were the bars that go across the top where the swings connect. This took less time - like half an hour. Oh, and then another half hour to undo the thing that I had put on backwards, and then fifteen minutes to fix it again.

Second piece

Those connected to each other, then connected to another piece that holds up the end by the swing set. Here's a look at the finished piece before we hooked it onto the rest of the play set. It kind of looks kinky.

Second piece in action

I did several steps on my own, but I had a lot of help for much of the assembly. My father-in-law Jimmy helped me one night and we put together a bunch of the core pieces. Then my good friend Alex came by and helped me connect all of those pieces plus helped construct the final half of the play set.

Play House in Repose

This part eventually became the Monkey Bars. (Or as we call them, Super Monkey Bars.)

Super Monkey Bars

Not only did we have to assemble everything, but we had to stake it down into the ground. I used my brute strength to hammer a foot-long stake into the ground. I had practiced my "hammering a stake into the heart of a vampire" move for quite some time, so this wasn't much different.

Stake out!

Behold the finished product!

Cest finis!

Betty and I estimate that it took between 16 and 20 hours to put this thing together. When I worked alone, I would only work for two hours at a time. Things definitely went faster with two people. And it helps if you have help who are both strong and smart.

Powered by Us!

When I began this process I was scared that I would screw up and that this thing would fall apart while my kids were in it. But now I feel really confident in its durability - it's strong enough for four kids to be on at the same time.


And now you can slide, use the monkey bars, swing, or even practice your superhero flying powers!

He can fly!

Basically, if you ever want to build your own play set, let me know because I'm now allowed to use power tools. And I will never manually twist a screwdriver again, EVER.

The kids love it!

So to everyone out there with Useless Idiot Syndrome, I'm here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT and IT GETS BETTER! Just quit questioning yourself. Quit thinking that you can't do it. Quit thinking that it would be much more fun to go heat up some nachos instead of screwing two pieces of wood together. (Nachos and screwing wood always go hand in hand!) Believe me when I tell you that if I can do it, you can do it.

Just make sure to con some friends into coming to help you.

Good luck!

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