The time has come, and not a moment too soon in Ryan's mind. The backyard fixture that has been known alternately as The Swingset of Doom, the Deathtrap, The Giant Sinkhole That Sucked $700 Of Our Good Money (okay, that last one might have just been in my head), it's gone. Gone the way of the dodo, if the dodo was cut up with a chainsaw and hauled to the dump. Ryan's been waiting for this moment since approximately 5 minutes after he finished building the darn thing. He's feeling glorious right about now.
He's feeling doubly glorious since the former swingset home is now the location of his new pride and joy, the shed. A husband who gets all excited about building a shed is not a new thing. It's about as stereotypical as husbands get; after all, how many wives are bragging at playgroup about the shed they're building? Not many. That's the husband's thing. (Wives, incidentally, talk about their craft rooms.) Ryan's not that kind of husband generally. He's not building it for his tool collection or for his tractor/ATV/Ski-doo storage. He's tricking this puppy out and turning it into (drumroll, please) an office! That's more like Ryan. I can buy that. If he claimed to be building a shed as a carpentry workshop, I'd get suspicious and start checking his phone for curious texts. An office, well, that makes sense.
So far, the shed has been erected, wires have been laid from the house to the shed via a giant trench in the backyard for electricity, and the inside is insulated. A large stack of drywall is awaiting installation. A gigantic credit card bill is sitting on my desk. We are in too deep to turn back now, but if it all goes well, the shed will be an asset and not The Second Giant Sinkhole. Part of Ryan's master plan, and justification for the whole thing, is to use the loft of the shed (it's barn-like) as a makeshift sleeping area for the kids when family comes to visit. We'd put the family out there, but there's no bathroom, and with three boys in the family, well, that probably wouldn't be a problem for them. Sorry if that's TMI.
You'd think that now that the swingset is gone, our life would be injury-free. Not so. Recall that the swingset was originally purchased to replace the potentially-but-not-as-yet-dangerous trampoline that Ryan's parents had given us. The swingset moves in and BAM! Blood starts pouring. The blood had barely dried on the swingset before random monkey bars started snapping off, entire sections bent, and the whole thing would sway back and forth when someone swung, like that entire section of backyard was a ship on a roiling sea. It was an accident waiting to happen, and occasionally, actually happening.
So a few days after the final destruction of the swingset, I took the kids to Jump On It. Noah had been begging to go for weeks, as he had been practicing doing backflips on his friend's trampoline and wanted to try it out at the real place. Watching Darcey bounce across the trampoline and having a great time, I started to regret giving away the trampoline in the first place. After all, I reasoned, not having a trampoline hasn't stopped our kids from using them (at friends' houses) and it's not like the kids ever got hurt.
It's like having that thought triggered what happened next. I heard my name called over the loudspeaker and as I went to the front desk, followed the trail of blood on the floor to the bathroom, where Noah was sobbing and holding a huge wad of paper towels against his mouth. He had been doing a flip and landed on his knees, one of which bounced up and hit him square in the mouth, knocking two of his teeth backwards. It was painful for him, and gruesome to look at. To be perfectly candid, I didn't handle this whole episode very well. I rounded up the kids (three of my own, two neighbors) and got them home fine, but once I got home I lost it. I couldn't stop crying. I cried through phone calls to two different medical personnel until I finally had to hand Ryan the phone and make him take over. It was so embarrassing. My reactions were clearly out of proportion to the situation - Noah wasn't even crying anymore for Pete's sake, why was I so emotional? I normally handle medical crises with my children fairly well - this was not normal. (See my previous post for an explanation of why I was "not normal." It still took me by surprise to react so badly.)
Ryan took Noah to a great dentist that was open on Saturday. His teeth popped right back into place and so far he hasn't had any lasting damage. I've come to a conclusion - it doesn't matter what kind of apparatus we build in the backyard, kids will find a way to get hurt. Since Ryan has vetoed my idea to cover the entire yard in Nerf, I just have to accept that accidents are going to happen. Noah, in particular, is going to keep the local InstaCare in business singlehandedly. It makes me panicky to say that, to admit that my kids will get hurt. It's my job to stop that from happening, and even though I KNOW it's impossible, I still have a fundamental belief that if I am vigilant enough, try hard enough, pray enough, teach them and lecture them and scare them enough, I can stop anything bad from happening to my kids. To say that no matter what I do, bad things will happen and the only hope is that they are tough enough, lucky enough to come out relatively unscathed, well, that's something I don't know if I can say. Maybe we can rethink the Nerf Pavement idea again.
So the backyard has seen the end of the Reign of Terror by the swingset and we are adding the swingset to the rather lengthy list of things we wasted money on. (Dave Ramsey calls this a Stupid Tax. I call it tuition in the school of life. Ryan just calls it stuff we wasted money on.) The only thing we have left of the swingset is the little fort area that used to be the top of the swingset, where the slide started and the monkey bars ended. I asked Ryan to cut that off and turn it into a playhouse for Darcey, which I've been wanting to get her for ages. That part is sitting on the patio and Darcey seems to like it. It can be our $700 playhouse. (No, it can't. That hurts too much.) Don't think I'm not wary, though. I have a feeling that the playhouse is biding its time, laying in wait for us to get complacent and that's when it will attack. Blood will yet be drawn by the Swingset of Doom, mark my words.