Now that we’re mostly settled in our new home, and the tundra is beginning to thaw, we thought it would be a good idea to put a play gym in the back yard. Research completed, I headed to Toys R Us. Predictably, the one Iwanted wasn’t in stock. Knowing it was going to be an unusually nice weekend, I had a sudden attack of IGS (Instant Gratification Syndrome). However, I soon learned instant is sometimes a relative concept.
After 45 minutes of pacing up and down the aisles, reading descriptions and looking at price tags, I finally made a decision. But seriously, does it take 700 pounds of sand to fill the sandbox? I’ll save you the suspense. The answer is yes.
The boxes were too heavy to load on top of our SUV, so I had to make room inside for them. Sort of. The sand fit inside without a problem. However, once loaded, the boxes dangled precariously out the back window. “Don’t you have access to a pickup truck?” the store manager asked. I leveled him a look that clearly expressed, “Wouldn’t logic serve to tell you that if I’d had a pickup truck at my disposal, I would be drivivng it?” Jackass.
Thus, I began my journey home, using every back road I could find, a white-knuckled grip on the wheel, breath held, hoping, almost-but-not-quite praying I wouldn’t have to stop traffic while I retrieved broken pieces of wood strewn nine ways from Sunday. At long last, I arrived home safely, all boxes accounted for and intact.
Now, all that was left was to put this thing together. No problem! Oh wait.
I opened the boxes and retrieved the instructions. The sheer number of parts was overwhelming. It was at this moment I nearly taped the boxes shut and returned them to the store, resigning myself to simply take the kids to the local tot lots for the rest of the summer.
I wanted to get started, so I immediately began identifying and labeling the parts, as recommended in the instructions. This alone took over three hours. At almost 1:00 a.m., I called it a night and stumbled to bed. I awoke Saturday morning, had some very strong coffee, and with fresh determination, I headed outside.
I followed the instructions, which turned out to be extremely important. Except when the diagram was in reverse of the proper orientation, or the Engrish was unclear (i.e. “Not to be used for the other use.”). After the subsequent disassembling, reassembling and reverse engineering necessary to find a means to an end, I now firmly believe I could put this thing together with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back. Maybe that’s what I could do for a living. In Hell.
Monday afternoon and approximately 25 long hours of cursing later, muttering under my breath that we’d better have to drag the kids inside every night kicking and screaming, I brought them out for their first look at their new play gym. Preston stood in awe and said, “Cold!” (his personal version of Cool!). Ava walked around it, eyeing it very closely. Finally, she looked at me and said, “Wooooow! Tah-tastic! It’s beau-i-ful!” I’ll take those as rave reviews.
They quickly conquered the rock wall, clapping and exclaiming “Ta-Dah!” at the top. They even made their way up the rope ladder, surprising both of us. They screamed “Weeeeeeee!” as they flew down the slide, squealing in delight as their butts bounced at the bottom. The swings and glider were a giggle-fest and the sand was a riot to throw.
After the kids went to bed, I wandered back outside. Grabbing a lawn chair, I sat down with an ice-cold beer and a smoke, smiling in satisfaction. If they never use it again, it’s already been worth it.