Friday, May 18, 2012

Project: Swingset

So we got home from Tennessee late on a Friday night.  The boys had a solid day of activities starting bright and early on Saturday with Blake serving Mass.  A track meet, a baseball draft, a first soccer game, etc... we didn't have a moment to stop and gather ourselves before we were tossed back into this crazy life at full speed.  My mom invited us over for dinner that day, and I took her up on it, grateful to have one extra day of not cooking dinner :).

We were sitting there, eating our pizza, when someone brought up Peyton's First Communion.  In my head, I had at least a month to think about that before it happened.  In reality, I had 14 days.  I had had no idea how close it was to our vacation!  I also hadn't realized how exhausting that vacation would be for this pregnant mama, and how long it would take me to really recover.

I was still processing that when I went to get groceries early that week.  We walked by Costco's in-store swing set offering for this year, one of the two we've been eyeing, and I saw that it was $300 off.  We'd been saving for a year and were just about ready to take the plunge, we just needed to decide which model we were going with.  I snapped a picture of the sale tag, texted it to Mr. Smith, and immediately received a response:  "I'll go pick it up tomorrow after work."

Yay!!  I love making decisions, saving money with a sale, and new things that will keep my kids busy, so it was my lucky day.  I was excited that Mr. Smith was game for it, and that we'd have a new swing set for the Communion Party.

Little did I realize it would consume us for the next 10 days.  First we decided that we would have to raise the ground around where the swing set would be.  We have major flooding issues in our yard, rendering it unusable during significant portions of the year, and we didn't want that to keep the kids from being able to use the swing set.  We plan to fix the grade and drainage problems anyway, and the cost of that keeps us from being able to do it all at once, so we figured this was as good a place as any to start.  We had several yards of dirt and sand delivered by mid-week.  Mr. Smith tilled up the top layer of grass and dirt, and added in the new stuff, raising the whole area by a couple of inches. 

Then he spent every waking hour that weekend (that we weren't at an outside obligation) putting it together.  It wasn't that it was difficult or designed poorly, we were very happy with all of that, it's just that there were about 200 steps to the process.  It was a huge job.  At one point, late on Saturday evening, I called out to him, asking if he might be planning to take a break soon.  The kids were well on their way to bed, and I thought we could, oh I don't know, sit down together for a minute or something.  "There's still some daylight," he called back.  An hour later I looked out and he was working by the light of a flashlight, the sun completely gone.  When that man has a task to complete, watch out.  He was finished by Sunday night.

Then came The Week of Dirt.  The swing set was assembled and ready to go, but all we had around it was all that dirt we had churned up!  We were researching different mulches and pricing out companies for a couple of days, and in that time my little ones were convinced they had been gifted with a giant, dirty sandbox.  I gave up and stopped sweeping by the second day. The resulting laundry was hideous, and I don't know if the finger nails are even clean yet now.  You should have seen my mop when it was all over.  Thank Goodness it was only a few days before we had our soft bed of sweet-smelling cedar chips delivered.  Mr. Smith and the big guys wheelbarrowed them in and we were set.  (The only problem being, of course, that every other household chore/task/project that I would have liked to be working on in preparation for Communion Party guests had been neglected and my house looked worse than ever with only 3 days until the event.  But who's keeping track of that stuff, right?)

Boy Heaven.

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