Hi,

Rogan, the Sky Father to my lovely Earth Mommy here with a family related update. It is now the beginning of Fall which means I’m now starting a project I bought materials for at the beginning of Summer – a swing set for the girls. At the beginning of Summer I purchased 8 ft. 2x1s, swings, hooks and more – ready to rock and roll. Since then the swings have been used by toddlers to pull dolls around the yard and some of the wood has become part of a chicken coop.

Note to self: construction projects in the summer in SC are a bad idea. I’m talking down right dumb folks. The kind of idea that you should be smacked upside the head.

So, reason prevailed not in planning but in actual labor and we fast forward to now. Not that today is good. Humid would be an understatement. Miserable would not be hyperbole. It is nasty out there, the kind of day that Faulkner wrote about when people just sat around feeling homicidal and plotting various revenges tied to old slights and slighted loves. Trust me, its better than thinking about the heat and humidity.

Still, I’ve been sick of looking at the materials so it was time to get to work. I started by thinking about the measuring equipment I needed to plan the 45 degree cuts and shortening the boards. Then I decided to just eyeball it and used the first one to mark the others. Then I started attaching them to a 6 ft 4×4, saw wood splinter and decided that I needed some water, air conditioning and a humidity somewhere below that of being submerged. Although accurate saying being below submerged is dryer just seems wrong.

So I went inside, cleared my head, realized I shouldn’t be directly attaching the boards but could use some scrap pieces of 2×1 to attach to each side of a leg of an A piece. This way two 45 degree cuts would lay flat against each other. Because I eyeballed it but used the first as a template the angles were not interchangeable but they were complimentary so I just had to make sure I used to the complimentary cuts on each piece. I again eyeballed lining up the attaching pieces of wood so its not a work of art but we can’t all be Norm Abrahms.

Did 1 A frame. Yay. Did second. Yay. Held them up to each other. They don’t line up. Not yay. Imagine Taylor Swift’s face looking at Kanye West. That’s pretty much how I was looking at my own carpentry. A combination of “happiness gone” and WTF?

So, proceed to break it apart, magically not screw up the wood, and reverse the wood. Remember those complimentary angles. Know how you can know to do something and you still don’t do it. Yep. One nail screws up and ends up ‘sticking up’ above the flat edge of the wood that the top beam will have to rest on. Crap. Stand the two A frames up and what do I get? On one the wood I used to bond them together is lower than the other but only by a little. But, I cut the legs with a 45 degree angle too so even though the top beam won’t be perfectly even neither with the ground and the legs will dig into the ground, prompted by the weight of the whole set itself. And it will be close enough. Remember, Norm I am not. Beard and tool belt aside I don’t think Norm does carpentry in swim shorts but nor is he in SC.

So, next? I need more wood to build supports on the A frames 1/3rd to 1/2 the way down. At that time I’ll also break out the circular saw that I used to do my earlier cuts to trim the supports, the tops (to lay the 4×4 flat) and lower one side a little bit. Then, I’ll be ready to put on the top beam, add connections to the A frames, and then hang the swings themselves.

The point of all this? You don’t have to be a carpentry guru to do some fun projects around the yard. And it becomes your family’s swing set, unique and special. I might paint ours something fun. And frankly, its a lot cheaper too. My total cost by the time it’s all over will be under $100 for a swing set that I see for $500 or more from other places.

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