Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Slide is Born

I'd like to say I documented every nut and bolt of this endeavor, but there's a few short of 500 of 'em... so I didn't.

To start, we go back a few years. Cooper was a li'l tike and we headed out to the Rothwell park for some family fun on the playground. He hiked himself to the top of the tallest slide at Candyland and, as I was sitting down to slide with him, tumbled down it alone. He landed, unharmed, at the bottom, head first, wailing like nuts.

He's never gone down it again. Or any twisty slide for that matter. Straight slides? Maybe. Wavy slides? Nope. Slides longer than Mom's arm? Nope. Slides just aren't this man's cup of tea.

Our narrative takes us to the Backyard Project in Question... the Pirate Ship. Since Jake and the Neverland Pirates have a slide on their ship, shouldn't we? And since we don't have enough room for a straight slide... we need a (cue dramatic music): 


A full, 360 degree rotation from a 5' deck height!

Yep, it comes in a box that dwarfs large appliances.

And then you have to put it together. 

And don't be put off by those whose reviews claim to have installed it in only four hours! They're clearly amateurs. 

I spent Saturday afternoon bolting together all the individual pieces.  Then Suz came out and we wrestle each section until they mated into one hot, twisted mess of green polypropylene.  I built a frame on the side of the boat and called it a night. It was more than four hours, but who's counting?  

We're clearly amateurs.

Sunday afternoon, we hoisted the thing aloft and quickly realized that when the instructions said, "You will need two people to help balance the slide" it clearly meant THREE. As in two to balance and one to screw the thing in place. See, once together the slide felt like a wino hippo with hip dysplasia on a week-long bender, slowly tumbling right as you tried to pull it left... moaning about the yard and always landing just short of where you intended.

Thankfully, our dear neighbor, Phil, could be bothered to come help wrangle the incalcitrant structure into place. Once I got some screws in its hide, its will was broken and it stood proudly at attention along the ship's starboard side. 

Throughout this whole ordeal, Cooper's been running amok calling out for duties to be assigned in his name... Daaad, he wanted to help, too!  Once the last bolt was ratcheted tight and every screw was reviewed by a responsible adult, we opened the newest addition for a test run.

And he refused.

Yep, I had to lower him down the curve to Suz waiting at the bottom. Over and over. We threw cars, tape measures and swords down its gaping maw, trying to establish a sense of safety, of normalcy (!), of tacit understanding that this was FUN! To no avail.

I now have a recovering alcoholic hippopotamus strapped to the side of a Pirate Ship in my backyard. My son's response at the end of the day?  

"When are we going to get a sail for my boat? Huh, Dad? We need a sail!"