This weekend I took on one of the biggest projects of my life. For me, it was right up there with child birth. That's right, I put together a swing set. All by myself.
My daughter kept running over to the neighbor's house, just to swing on their rickety old swingset. I finally took the hint and looked around for a swingset for our own yard. I started at Craigslist, but since I have no truck, I opted for buying one online (delivery included).
The swingset arrived a day later than expected, which meant my husband would be busy with work for several days. I had made a deal with my daughter, which meant the installation was now up to me.
Just follow the directions, right? I realized right away that there were several pages of missing instructions. I hope this blog will help other parents in their most trying hours of swingset installation.
The Missing Directions for Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set:
-We do not offer an Anti-Gravity unit at this time, nor do we encourage your children to be in the circus, so please be sure to install the swings so that they are beneath the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set and not above. If you find that you have installed the swings in error, simply go inside the house, cool down, get a cold drink (preferably one with caffeine), and then start over. Laugh at yourself and be relieved that the second time will be much faster (and that the neighbors weren't watching).
-The folks who post Used Swingsets on Craigslist ("bought this 3 months ago for $100; you take it apart and haul away for only $80") are naive and should be assigned their own special class in society. They have never assembled a swingset before. In order to disassemble and reassemble a swingset one would require a 1) photographic memory, 2) copious amounts of notes, 3) a helpful Youtube video to fall back on, 4) a degree in engineering, and 5) the patience of a monk. Do not ever plan on selling a used Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set. Just don't. And hope that the clueless woman who posted that ad at least made a sandwich for her husband who did the original install.
-We do apologize for neglecting to include the most important tool for the assembly of the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set: Bug Spray [figure A]. Please apply and reapply bug spray from head to toe, and toe to head. Repeat three times. Ants and mosquitoes are especially interested in parents who are focused and holding very still--necessary components to the successful install of the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set.
-We outsourced the design of the Super Fun Wave Slide to someone's nephew. He was going through a rough patch (he was expelled from Engineering School for showing up to class repeatedly in ballet slippers and a clown nose) and really needed a job. Fitting the nuts and bolts together on this thing will be the hardest part of the entire install. For this, you may want to try a soothing drink (Chamomile tea (with a shot of whiskey)), as a caffeine high will make you too jittery for this precision handiwork. Cheers to Someone's Nephew, right?
-Do everything in the order we suggest.
-Even the seesaw.
-Oh hell, your kid is an only child, she doesn't really need the seesaw. She'll never know that you totally screwed that one up (literally, the screw is stuck up there--by the bushing bracket [Figure B]).
-You are capable. You CAN do things you never thought possible. You can accomplish those tasks which you always intended to outsource (to a man). You can tap into those maternal instincts and harness the power of the Mama Bear to move a Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set across the yard to a flatter surface. You CAN.
-At some point (around page 4), you will be overcome with appreciation for your parents who installed a swingset for you when you were a kid. You will understand why they were snippy with you when you offered to help or begged to test out the swing before installation was complete. You will recall the swarm of mosquitoes around your dad's arms and legs, the bead of sweat on his forehead, and the look of complete and utter confusion as he read and re-read the instructions. Please hold off on texting him until assembly is complete (you may need to Phone a Friend when you're trying to install the final chin bar on the wrong side of the swingset).
-Cover that inch of skin around your ankles. Immediately.
-Yes, please include your child in the installation of the Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set. Their small fingers are instrumental in screwing in the nuts on the ladder rungs for the Wave Slide. And their young blood may keep the mosquitoes away from you for a minute.
-Watching your child swing and hearing your child SING while swinging will make the welts on your ankles and arms totally worth it.
-Let your husband know how proud you are of your accomplishment so that if he decides to "fix" any of your work, he'll do it in secret and keep it to himself.
-Thank you for your daring purchase! You are an awesome parent! And you deserve a medal (which may be purchased from your local Flexible Flyer Triple Fun II Metal Swing Set retailer).
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