Inexpensive Back Yard Slide

I needed a slide in the back yard for my son. He is seventeen, and he really needs a slide in his yard. I could take him to a playground (and I do) but sometimes there are gobs of other kids there, and their parents seem to feel a little funny about what appears to be a large grown man taking turns on the equipment with their toddlers. I get that. It makes sense for my son to have his own slide in his own yard.

IMG_20160810_185251988_HDR (1)But wow, guess what? I’m going to sound like the big cheese at an IEP meeting, but there are “financial constraints.”

There are other constraints too. Sometimes you can find someone willing to sell you the playground their kids have outgrown for a song, but the catch is that you need to disassemble it, haul it to your place, and then reassemble it yourself. I’ve assembled playgrounds, and I’ve disassembled playgrounds. In my experience, it takes about 2-3 times as long to disassemble a playground as to assemble it. That’s because there are no instructions, the metal parts have gotten rusty, the wooden parts have rotted and splintered, and the playground has sunk into the ground. You may find this to be worth your time, but it depends on your situation.

Since I wasn’t doing the whole swingset thing, I found it easier to just build a little slide.

I looked for a used plastic slide in my area, but I didn’t have any luck so I ordered one online.

I built the support for the slide out of thrifted lumber and hardware from the Habitat for Humanity store.

At my local store, people donate all kinds of building materials, some of them new and some of them used. They have a big pile of lumber out in the back and I picked through it three weeks in a row to gather the boards I needed. I used 4x4s, 2x4s, 4x6s, and 1x whatevers. The boards I bought were all sorts of lengths, and parts of them were damaged, so I did a lot of trimming. I had some screws and other hardware on hand, and the rest I bought at the Habitat store.

IMG_20160806_171322289 (1)Since my son is a teenager who knows that he shouldn’t jump off the top of the slide, I did not bother putting a rail or fence at the top. If I were building this for a younger child, I would do it differently.

I put drawer handles on the deck at the top so that my son could easily pull himself up.

I also put some solar lights at the top right near the slide part because my son is really into reflectors. I mean he is really, really, really into reflectors. He likes to play in the dark just so that he can see the lights.

Since I used thrifted lumber, this slide may not last as long as a slide built from brand new lumber. I’ll have to keep an eye on it to make sure it’s safe to use. I guess I would do that anyway though.

IMG_20160806_171238702I built a ladder right into the tower for the slide. My son doesn’t like it so much, so when I get a little free time, I’ll make him a ladder too. He’s right, it is easier to climb up when you can do it at an angle. But he’s enjoying his slide just fine in the mean time.

IMG_20160810_185251988_HDR (2).jpgI can tell he likes it by the ruts in the landing area.

 

DIY to encourage good manners. Well, improved manners anyway.

Why yes, as a matter of fact, I do get tired of talking about going to the bathroom all the time. But I have children. One of my children in particular has issues. Issues with anxiety, issues with language and communication, issues with knowing when it is not appropriate to talk about one’s issues with anxiety regarding digestion…

So I thought I was clever when I introduced the idea of referring to poops as victories, because that just sounds better. I now understand that we will probably never get through a day without talking about pooping. A more achievable (but probably still unlikely) goal would be to talk about pooping in less graphic detail. Or at least to reduce (but not eliminate, sorry for the pun) our frank and graphic discussions of pooping while some people are trying to choke down their dinner without gagging.

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I printed up this nice little encouragement and sealed it with clear Contact paper. I could have used the glass that came with the frame instead, but glass in picture frames is a no-no at our house.

Since I’m an optimist, I used a dry erase marker to fill in the zeroes. A realist would probably have used a Sharpie, but I try to keep it positive around here.

The cardboard at the back of the frame was mangled, so I fixed it with cardboard, a soda can tab, and a blob of hot glue.

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I am expecting wonderful things!

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At our house, “victory” is the code word for “poop.”

 

An exciting experiment is in the works!

What a find!  I can hardly believe it.
My son likes to take lots and lots of baths.  He loves to play with colors too, and he likes to use different colors of soaps and shampoos when he takes a bath.  We limit him to two color choices per bath.
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Sorry this is so blurry. I guess I just got excited!
One of his favorite outings is the grocery store.  Our pharmacy is located in the grocery store and it works like this:  My son goes to the pharmacy window and asks for his medicine.  Even though everyone there knows him, they ask for his name and birthdate, and he answers their questions and signs the forms, and then he sometimes chats and makes small talk.  (!!!)
When he does a great job, he gets the built-in reward of picking out his own salad and drink, and browsing through the soap.  They have a huge selection of shampoos and soaps and body washes in every imaginable color and for every special condition.  This cracks me up because our usual condition is “dirty” and so we are looking for soap to make us “clean,” and all of them do that.  Of course, there are different price points.  We stick to the cheap ones.
I don’t know why I never noticed this before, but with all these options, there is one kind of shampoo that (presumably) would be for almost everyone.
SAMSUNG
“Normal” shampoo.
Normal?  Sure, why not?  It’s 79 cents, and it’s orange.  I’ve never been normal before.  I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes.

Just a list… Music Which Requires the Use of Elbows

Whenever we go on a family outing, there are a few things we need to do that are a little bit other-than-normal.  One of our favorite items is listening for background music.  Whenever one of these songs comes on, we run over to our eldest and remind him, “Watch the elbows!”  It happens more often than you might think, and it’s always good for a laugh.

Stereo Hearts

Cotton Eye Joe

How Bad Can I Be?

The Voo Voo Vah Song

The Oooh, and I Play with the Plunger Song

Who Let the Dogs Out

The Sign

And one more that’s never on the radio, but sometimes it’s coming out of my youngest’s mouth.

There are many more songs on this list.  I just can’t think of them right this minute.

How about you?  Any songs which require the use of the elbows?