building a swing set

I spent 6 hours cleaning today. I think the dust won. I actually discovered something I hate doing more than vacuuming (see dusting) and we haven’t even rented the steam cleaner for the carpet yet (that’s tomorrow). Isn’t May Two-Four weekend supposed to be better than this? I remember cottages and beer and Sauble Beach and Wasaga and bonfires. Can I revoke my adulthood?

On the bright side our backyard is starting to take shape.

We (James) built a swing set. We debated a long time as to whether or not to get one. As a child I always wanted a swing set/tree house and never had one (understandable because as an adult when you realize how much these things cost – Dear God). And you hear the stories of parental regret – “We bought one and our kids never play on it”. After much debate, when we came across the Timber-Bilt Hawks Nest Play Set on sale at Home Depot (I say on sale because the box it came in looked like it got crushed by a bear, which is why I am guessing it was on sale), we dipped into the savings and went with it.

Last Saturday morning our backyard went from this at 9 am:

To this by about 1 pm

To this by 6 pm

The box claimed you can build it in 4 hours.


And the City of Toronto actually has a season called Summer and not Construction. 4 hours. Pfft. Maybe if you have Santa’s whole Elf brigade helping you out. You’re going to need a day. And 2 people.

The pine wood that came with it wasn’t treated. So guess what I did today?

2 hours of Thompson’s Water Sealing. 48 hours to cure.

Can you tell the difference? My arm can. So can my neck. And my hair which probably still has the stuff in it. Wear gloves. And eye protector glasses. And clothes that you can ruin.

We didn’t put up the monkey bars that came with it and wound up using the wood that was meant for the monkey bars to build a ‘back’ for the treehouse part, so there wouldn’t be a gaping hole that our kids could fall off of. Though I am sure they’ll still find some way of challenging that.

One of the reasons we went with a real wood swing set is because when we went to see the sets made of the cedar wood (the same wood as the playhouse though I am still unconvinced that that is actual wood) that you can buy at retailers like Walmart, Costco, etc., James could literally push them over with his arms without much effort. We wanted something that could last with multiple kids on it and carry their weight as they got older and handle inevitable roughhousing. This one is really well constructed.

I give kudos to Swing-N-Slide (who make this one) as well. When we opened the box, we were missing 2 brackets and the instruction manual. And when I called them up to explain, they mailed out the missing parts and manual within 3 days. That’s good customer service.

Our kids reaction? We can’t get them off of it. As well as the neighbourhood kids. The latter is probably not a good thing. I should stock up on popsicles.

So our formerly boring suburban backyard is slowly morphing into a mini-park.

James moved the picnic table & fire pit over before I took this. Something about mowing a lawn. And look at this. Our Autumn Blaze Maple after 2 months.

BEFORE – April 9th

AFTER – May 19th

Really good growth over a short period of time.

Now. One more trellis, some plants and maybe some ladders. Hanging solar lights. This is like an addiction. God help me if we ever get to move to a farm. I’m going to have to start an entirely new blog.

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