Parenting: Playset Construction


by Mike ....... When my 4.5 year old son invited one of the neighbor kids over to "climb on my dad's car," I decided maybe I should get him something to divert his energy before every surface of my vehicle is dented by tiny Crocs. So I took it upon myself to tackle a simple slide/playhouse (the plans depicted in the title image are far more complicated than what I am attempting). 

By 9PM last night I was sweaty, possibly infected with West Nile, and running low on new ways to arrange obscenities that I'd mutter to myself just loud enough to keep the neighbors from inviting us over for cookouts. And when I would wipe the sweat from my brow and step back, I was able to behold 6 posts and some cross-beams that looked a little more like a slanty-walled funhouse than rock-solid kids' fortress. When finished, it may not tip over, but the lack of right angles may cause kids to lose their bearings and take a spill anyway. 

But, though the directions smugly suggest setting aside "a day," I estimate that completion is another 5 nights away, which is probably why I've seen tiny "All You Can Eat!" signs written by mosquitos that list my address.  

For me, who turns casual whining into a fine art, this is a nearly-insurmountable labor of love. But when I scanned the internet for playset ideas before embarking, I was once again floored by how out of touch I am with a lot of America (this problem has gotten worse since I got rid of cable). Behold:

1) This is someone's backyard? This is like the Great Gatsby of playset parties. If I was at a house like this with my kids I'd wonder why an investment banker was inviting me over to play. 

2) Now, for only $7,000, your home-schooled kids can have fun while they hone their "Ark Preparation" skills. 

3) Good God. It's like a Swiss Family Robinson for kids who are allergic to the outside oxygen. This person is going to be really disappointed to learn that boxes are a lot cheaper, and kids love playing with boxes. 

But nowadays, if kids don't have playsets, they become drug addicts. Since I don't have the money to pay for my son's cocaine and don't want him stealing my VCR to pay for his next fix, I'll grab the ratchet, hammer, and get back to work!