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Newly Acquired Child Amusement Park

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Now that Claire is a mobile monster and loves going outside we wanted to get her an outdoor play area for the back yard. We've been looking on Craigslist for one of those big swingset-playhouse-slide-climbing-things. There are a bunch of them out there, but this is apparently there is a big demand for them this time of year.

Rachelle has a Craigslist droid app on her phone that automatically looks for items you want and notifies you when it finds them. We tried to get a few sets ranging from $200 to $400, but we were always too late. One night she got a notification of a free one! Now if you've ever tried to get something for free on Craigslist you know they go very fast. I was up to my elbows in suds giving Claire a bath and grabbed the phone to call about it. I was the second caller.

The next morning the "seller" called me saying the first guy was a no-show or didn't get back to him so he moved on to me. The problem is I don't have a truck or know anyone with a big enough truck. I called around to some local places and found a 9ft by 5ft U-Haul trailer for $24. Luckily my Subaru has a hitch. I packed up all the tools I thought I might need and headed over there. Of all the tools I brought, the saws-all was the most useful.

The guy said he would help me load it but I was on my own taking it apart. What I hadn't considered was not being able to get some bolts apart. This thing used those flush-mount self-retaining fasteners that stay in place by digging into the wood as you tighten down on them. They work great when they're new and the wood is in good shape, but they were rusty and the wood was old so 50% of the time they would just spin when you try to unscrew the bolt. Since they were also flush-mount, there wasn't anything to grab onto to prevent it from spinning. In those situations I had no other option but to cut the pieces off. There are a few pieces of wood that need to be replaced anyway so no big deal.

swingset in a trailer

I had to take the slide, swings, rockwall, ladder, climbing net and canopy off in order to move it. I thought the trailer being 5ft wide was big enough, but it was 1 inch too narrow to lay it down flat! Luckily the trailer had pretty high sides, so it fit diagonally resting on the sides. I got it home with no problems and then got my neighbor Steve and his son to help me carry it to my back yard.

swingset in backyard

All of this happened a few months ago, I just never got around to finishing this post. Now that it's summer, Claire loves playing on this. When she gets home from daycare every day she climbs all over it, giving me a heart attack since there are 4 ways of falling out of this thing.

claire climbing

Comments (2) Subscribe

Adam
#1 - Jun 28, 2011 at 5:38 AM
Nice work! We paid WAY too much for our climber. But given that the kids are on the thing every single day, it's quite easy to see the positive return on our investment in terms of happiness. You will not be disappointed! Great blog post!
Joe
#2 - Jul 2, 2011 at 7:19 AM
Thanks! She's on that thing every day too, well worth it!

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