When we last checked in we had some nice concrete footings and 4 posts. Had we stopped there we would have been limited to standing on one foot contests, on top of the posts. Luckily we have moved onto something slightly more useful.
Brett and I followed that up with building the structure of the deck. Turns out the back portion of the structure is a little loosey goosey. Now, I don’t want to say we built it wrong, but both Brett’s dad and my brother Jon thought it could be more “secure” or some other nonsense. But building is kind of like bowling right? If you throw a strike every time, do you really have the ingenuity and grit to get yourself out of a bind? (you know like a split- to keep with the bowling reference). We have a plan to beef up the back portion of the deck, so Levi and Gideon can invite any and all their friends husky fit pants or not. (That’s a reference for my brother Josh, who was once a husky fit kind of kid, to see if he actually reads this.)
Our nieces and nephews were over a couple Saturdays and were eager to help build the fort. Nothing like free child labor to really move our project along. Lucky for us it rained pretty much constantly in August, so we all got especially good at balancing on a slope, in a mud pit, while it was raining. But kids love that kind of crap, so we had a blast.
Next we laid down the decking on top of our joists. Brett and I did the bulk of it before his folks came down to help us build some walls. We really aren’t picky about free labor. That’s the best part of having a limited construction skill set, chances are whoever you con into helping you, could very well be more skilled than you. I have to say one of Brett’s greatest contributions to any project we undertake is to talk up whatever project we are working on. He somehow, not only manages to get people to help us figure out how to do it, but gets them excited about it. Before they know it, they find themselves at our house working on our latest scheme.
Being parents who love their kids can get you into trouble. Brett and my contribution was a killer idea and plans that include a cardboard mellow yellow model. Brett’s folks came Labor day weekend with an arsenal of tools and can do attitude.
Now we could have stopped here. With a surprisingly square (like right angles square- because I know some of you are thinking it sure looks like a rectangle and you folks would be right) deck.
We could have lazed about perched above our neighbor’s backyard, staring creepily, watching their every move. It would be like an in your face version of binoculars really. But alas we decide to proceed with the fort.
We then began the process of building walls. It was here Brett and I began to see a very different workflow. We are the kind of people who discuss the next step, not steps, very briefly. We execute that step. Then we see each problem as it hits us in the face. Brett’s dad, Dan, prefers more of a calculated approach. He thinks through multiple steps and anticipates problems. Now I don’t want to go too far, but you could almost say he goes out looking for trouble. Where is the hope for the best, “close enough,” my dad always taught me when it comes to projects?
The thing I’ve found myself saying multiple times while building this is: my dad built a fort elevated in the air, that still stand 20 some years later. I asked him about footings- he couldn’t remember. What he did remember was he had no plans and didn’t measure much.
I didn’t really think about it until now, that both Brett and I had forts growing up and now we want to build one for our kids. Which leaves me thinking:
We are becoming our parents or worse yet maybe our parents were cool back in the day…
Back to progress.
This is the first wall up. Across the top is the long window for looking out down to the street. In the summer it’s pretty dense in the lilac and huckleberry bushes, but in the winter it’s much sparser. We also decided to add a secret door access on this wall for those less inclined to crawl in. Or for those who have a fear of ending up like Winnie the Pooh stuck in rabbit’s hole. (Anyone? Am I losing you with the bowling and Pooh references?)
The kiddos did surprisingly well being right in all the action and keeping all their fingers and toes. Gideon and Levi like to be very close at hand during every part of the building process.
This is the second wall that went up. It faces the neighbor’s backyard. The square will be a plexiglass window. The angled slope is the roofline that will make up the climbing wall side of the fort.
That’s all for now. Tune in next time for the other two walls and whatever else we get done in the meantime.