September 29, 2011

We're Swingers!

If you're just joining us, I've been taking a few days to make a mostly wasted space of our yard more functional by turning it into a big play set for Ryder.  First my Dad built an amazing rock wall for him that gets him from level 1 to level, the he built a slide and ladder

On the third day I tacked the swing that my parents had left over and I previously tried to install, but the chain made it much to short for a mere mortal child.  (Especially a mortal child from our short family.)

My first problem was the hooks I had holding this baby up.  We found some spare eye bolts in the deck, and just used those with a few D hooks to connect the swing.

The set up worked in the theory, but the 2 metal pieces rubbing together when you attempted to swing made a pretty loud, dull thud kind of sound.  The noise was louder the more weight on the swing, and I just didn't need another reminder that I'm not 18 anymore.  Instead I found these swing hooks in the playground aisle of my hardware store, and for $10.99 they were well worth the price of my dignity. 

All I had to do was unscrew the old eye bolts and screw the new ones in.  Piece of cake. I held onto the old bolts though, because they'll work perfectly with a much lighter and smaller baby swing.  We're not in the market for one just yet, but there is just the right amount of space under the deck next to our swing for it.

Next I was onto the issue of the chain.  Of course they don't just sell 18" chain extensions (at least not at my big box stores), so I had to settle for buying a 20' length of chain.  It was only $4.99 though, so I couldn't really complain.

I started by attaching one side of my chain to the end of my short swing chain with a D hook.

Then I hung the swing from the hook to find the perfect height.

Then I could remove the chain just after my final length.  Wow, that makes it sound easy, but it wasn't.  My only option was to hack saw, which isn't difficult per say, but it just takes a lot of time and friction to cut through metal.  My arm was sore. 

After the first one broke through I could only take a few minutes to celebrate, because I still needed to cut another 19 link chain for the other side.  Just add this to the list of pains I will recount to Ryder when he is older in the, "Do you have any idea what I have done for you?" department.  Although scraping my knuckles while hack sawing a swing is nothing in comparison to what he's done to the rest of my body.   I'm just sayin'.

Totally worth it though for the joy in his eyes when he first saw his fixed swing.  He didn't get off of it for over 40 minutes.

And my favorite part- the before and after.  I realize that turning these 2 patios into a pint sized, multi level jungle gym wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but for us it is a good use of a space that was otherwise ignored.








It's still a little bare, but I plan to go buy some more padded flooring to cover the concrete with.  In the mean time it does exactly what we were hoping for, it givers Ryder a place to run and play in our yard, and in turn, this place is feeling a little more like home.  One project at a time, eh?

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