September 27, 2011

Welcome to RyderLand

Last weekend Ryder got to spend the night at his grandma and grandpa’s house while the Hubs and I  attended an out of town wedding and pretended we were 22 again.  (Spoiler alert: we aren't.)   While it was fun to get away for an evening, we couldn’t wait for him to come back.  Ryder was pretty excited too, because he had something to show us.  
The minute he entered our front door, Captain Chaos yelled “I went to Menards with Grandpa and we built a slide together!”  

How awesome is this custom slide solution for our Family Room patio, to add to the custom climbing wall he already made?   

As we’ve mentioned before, with 4 other decks and another patio on our house, we weren’t lacking for outdoor space.  What we were missing though was space for our little man to climb and play.  Now our little monster can climb up the wall and slide down the slide- which he does in this blur of speed at least 6 times before taking a second to rest.  It’s like a toddler hamster wheel. 

He even built a ladder to go with it, which is great since previously this little hole down to our Family Room Patio had no stairs to access it. 

Previously, when balls rolled down this hill and into the hole, they are stuck down there for good.  Well, they were, and then our little monster started to try to find ways to jump down there like a spider monkey.  I live in a constant state of fear around here.  I can breathe easier now that there is both a slide and a ladder in place.

The first step was to decide where to place it.

Ryder tested the slide at each location to see if it made a difference.
I decided on the farther out location because A.) It took up less of the concrete space so he still has that space to play basketball with his little hoop, B.) It made use of the previously useless rock space and C.) There isn't a deck above that portion of the patio, so if adults want to use the ladder to get down into this space they can without whacking their head and knocking themselves unconscious. 

While Super Dad had all the measurements exact for the height and angle, I wanted to add a little bit to the slide to make it a little more secure.  I took some extra green treated 2x4 I had in the garage and cut down two 2’ lengths.  Next, I pushed back the rocks, cut a panel in the landscape fabric, and peeled it back to reveal the dirt below.

I very carefully scooped out the dirt and placed it in a bucket, trying not to get any dirt on the rocks or fabric.  I’ve learned the hard way in the past that the whole point of landscape fabric is to prevent weeds a place to germinate and grow.  So if you put soil on top of the fabric, you’re giving weeds a place to build a home, basically defeating the purpose.  Ryder helped with this stage, he’s a genius I tell you.

When my hole was deep enough, I could put my 2x4 in, and then attached my posts to the slide with some galvanized nails.  Well, first Ryder wanted to put it together for 10 minutes or so.  Then eventually he let me finish up the work.  For us, it’s all about letting this little man feel included and apart of the process. 

Note: Green treated wood means that the wood has been treated for outdoor weather and is much less likely to mold, warp and damage.  Galvanized nails won’t rust from the elements, eventually crumbling and making your piece fall apart.  Both are very necessary for outdoor building. 

We filled in and tamped down the dirt around our posts, and pulled the rocks back over to cover everything anchoring the slide in nice and securely.

At this point, as you can see it was getting dark, so we headed inside for a little pajama-jammie-jam.  I'll fill you in tomorrow on how we spruced up the slide, cleaned up this space and made it a little safer for the little man. 

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