What could this be?

I resigned on Wednesday. I was scheduled to fly on Saturday. That gave me two days to relax... or to leave behind something valuable for people I love.

One of our family friends has an autistic child. He loves to swing, but they can't afford a swingset. We were going to give them ours, but it's more than ten years old, and when we tried to pull it up, we discovered that it had become one with the ground. (We'll have to figure out some way to get that down to the dump.)

But the plastic slide, two-person glider, and rings were still in good condition. All they needed was a framework to hang on. I estimated $50 in wood and offered to build it.

My estimate was low. The brackets to attach 4x4s were a lot more expensive than I thought. When I priced everything out, it came to $115.

That was still a lot cheaper than buying a kit, so they went for it.

Swing frame
The framework was simple: two ten-foot posts for the sides, sunk nearly three feet into the ground, anchored by concrete, with a eight-foot post across the top to hold the kid. The top bar was held on with brackets, and I re-used the old swing's hooks.

I enjoyed using my posthole digger again. The ground was relatively soft, with no stones, so the work went quickly. After about 2 feet, I couldn't close the posthole digger: the handles bumped the sides. I had to expand the hole sideways! But that's good, because the extra concrete will hold the swing more firmly.

I was a little concerned about the lack of triangular sideways supports. On the other hand, THREE FEET OF CONCRETE IN THE GROUND. Nevertheless, for additional stability, I built the slide deck downhill.

At the end of the first day, I had all five posts in the ground, with the loading pallet attached.

Completed playground
Second bar

When I came back for the second day, I realized that I hadn't gotten all five posts level. That was a problem, since we had decided to add a second top bar, so the two-person glider would work. It was four inches off to the side.

I fudged it. By digging a gigantic hole to fill with concrete. This sucker isn't going anywhere.


We also purchased a crowbar so I could pull apart some other loading pallets. Their bottom skids had indentations, which seemed perfect for footholds for the ladder. We attached other boards to keep kids from jumping into the swinging area.

Marble run

The final touch was closing off the front side of the platform with grooved boards that we had salvaged from somewhere. I drilled an extra-large hole in the end, and attached them at angles. Now they can serve as a marble run!

I drilled some holes for the slide, sanded everything, and cut some scrap gray matting to size. Eri attached the matting with two-sided tape. And it was done!

The kids loved it. This sucker ought to last for years. I have left my mark!