Are we done?

When the three large boxes landed in the drive way, I knew it was going to be a long week.

The latest addition to the family was dropped off last week in the form of three humongous boxes that were supposed to magically transform themselves into the new Bowman swing set. We built one several years ago, but it was literally crumbling.

So the new one arrived last week and the first thing I did was grab the instructions. After seeing there were 41 steps to complete the monster, the next thing I looked at was the completion time: If you are experienced, 6 to 8 hours. Could take as long as 24 hours to build, so leave two full days.


Are you done yet?


I am the first person to admit I am not the handiest person in the world. I sit at a desk and look at a computer screen and hope stories come together before it’s time to head home. I can build things, as long as they have detailed instructions that include detailed photos.

So when instructions tell me it’s gonna take 24 hours, I shudder.

We spent a few hours a couple of days last week before the final push on Saturday. By 7:15 a.m. I was outside with Maren, drill all charged up. Not sure if we woke the neighbors up or not, but I got a sideways glance when one neighbor let his dogs out at 8.

Still, we plugged away, trying to beat the heat. Another neighbor said he “loves big projects … as long as someone else is doing them.”

He laughed. I fake laughed. I was still on step 20.

As I sat sweat soaked trying to push through, Mrs. Bowman asked if I wanted a beer. God bless her, I thought, for offering. “We’re all out,” I said sadly, before asking “You know it’s only 9:30, right?”

Soon after Maren, who had been helping as much as she could, asked for the first time if we were done.

Do you see a swing?


Then we’re not done.

An hour later: Dad, are we done?

Do you see a swing?


Then we’re not done.

20 minutes later: Dad, are we done?

Do you see a swing?

Yes. I’m done.

Two hours later, after the telescope and rock wall and trapeze bar and steering wheel were screwed in, I was done. Kids played on it like they haven’t played outside all summer.

I smiled. It was 6 to 8 or 24 hours well spent.

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