• TheConfused Father

Our Quarantine Project

So I have been seeing a lot of a quarantine projects online lately. It is amazing the things that people have been taking the time, while stuck at home, to learn and to do. Instead of sitting and watching TV all day people have been learning new skills, improving themselves, and improving their homes. Our friend, a manager at the local Menards, said that their average weekly sales went from $900,000 to $1.3 million since the quarantine started. That is a huge increase in home improvement projects. And we spent our share there too.

(I just want to point out that every-time I say we in this post I mean 90% Erin and 10% me)

We had been planning to build a back yard playground since the kids were born. Looking at the kits that were on sale at most major retailers, we just couldn't find one we really liked. So Erin got out her engineering graph paper and got to work. She spent a significant portion of her already incredibly limited free-time designing the perfect playground for both us and the kids. Then spent even more time developing a parts list and optimizing board cuts to minimize waste and cost. This lasted from last November till early March of this year. When the city parks closed down because of COVID in April, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to put her hard laid plan into action. A site location was picked in what would someday become our backyard (we didn't realize we would be starting construction so soon at the time) and we leveled the site. After a few hours with a skid loader and transit, we set up a retaining wall made of used railroad ties. Then holes where drilled and posts squared up for the whole structure. A little concrete in the bottom of the holes, some back-filling and then framing started. Her brother, Johnnie, came up to help for the weekend which made the floor joists and railings go up quick. Now he is living with us for the summer, but that is a long story that my mother-in-law would prefer I didn't tell (So I totally probably will someday in the future). Sand, all 38 tons of it, and the two slides we could get our hands on were delivered about this time. So Johnnie and I started spreading sand while Erin cut and laid the platform floors. Roof trusses went up on the first calm day, which I will tell you is a rarity on a hilltop in Kansas. Then began the roughly 30 hours of staining the whole thing, which was completely done by Erin. A few used tires courtesy of the good people running Bengtson Tire, our family's first choice for automotive maintenance here in Salina, and the tire wall was up. Swings, a peg board, salmon ladder, and climbing rope went up while the kids were already playing.

A month and a half of working through evenings and nap times later; The Cupboard (the name of my wife's farm) Park was open for business. Featuring 4 platforms at 2, 4, 6, and 10 ft tall with a slide for each one (two slides of which are still on back order). A tire wall, rock climbing wall, monkey bars, 2 baby swings, a regular swing, tire swing, teeter totter, and climbing tire for the kids. A salmon ladder, climbing rope, pegboard, fingertip wall, and inverted ladder for the adults. This playground is fun for the whole family and you can build one too. We have the plans saved and I will upload them to this post as soon as I have a scanner. If they aren't here yet email me at theconfusedfather@gmail.com using your email or our contact page and I will hurry up and send them to you personally. You can also use that to reach out for anything else you want to talk about.

I hope this post has found you in good health and of a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering.. HOW DID I GET HERE?

Also for anyone wondering why my it 90% my wife and 10% me, I was working on my book project and establishing this website. That has been my quarantine project.


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