This weekend we embarked on the brilliant idea that we'd been hatching for quite a while.
That idea? A big giant wooden playset for the younger 2 kids. We had a BIG metal swingset for Clone for her 2nd birthday and kept till we left the hovel. It wasn't worth moving to the new house. She essentially outgrew it about the time she went to elementary school. So we knew with the Mini-Human (aka The Little), we'd need one that would last a few years plus still entertain the Clone too while she's still young.
We found one at Academy Sports & Outdoor for $499, versus the model at the big box home store, or the membership warehouse store, which were more expensive - all models were D.I.Y. unless we paid for someone else to do the dirty work. The box says it takes 2 people 10 hours. I think they based this on the time it takes hired professionals who do such things for a living, not your average joe electrician who has become handy over the years.
If you should ever decide to buy one of these things, there are some parts of the instructions that should be IGNORED. For instance, the slide has 2 preformed plastic sides with a groove for the sheet of long plexiglas. The instructions and schematics say to measure, then drill holes and attach the wooden support with the included bolts etc. Don't drill first, don't even measure. Lay the plexiglass in the sun to soften it a smidge (cuz that's all you'll get unless you're doing this in 100 degree weather in July in Florida), prebend the ends a little, and have an extra set of arms to help you snap the plexiglass into the sides. Then put the wooden supports in behind it where they're supposed to go. Pop the parts back that came out a little when the wooden slats got snapped into the sides of the slide. THEN drill things and use the screws to attach stuff, while your extra set of arms uses counter pressure to keep things from sliding around as you're trying to use power tools. Our slide got drilled 3 times total. Devildog's 1st attempt using the instructions. The 2nd attempt remeasuring, and then the 3rd attempt after I looked at things and said "Let's just put it together first, then use the screws, otherwise who knows how many times you'll be drilling it." He agreed with me and had we done that first, the extra 30 minutes of assembly x3 would have been spent assembling something else. The girls then set out playing on the slide as it laid on the sloped ground in our back yard. They were glad to have something other than the giant box from the playset to slide on finally.
We probably should have just asked some other sucker who bought a giant play set for their box and we could have saved the money, and Devildog could have saved about 20 hours of his Spring Break. It's still not finished, and school resumes in the morning.