Visit to Robert and Natalie

Lanett, Alabama
March 9-12, 2012
We had a nice visit with Robert, Natalie, Benjamin, and Everett. We drove up Friday and returned Monday afternoon. Saturday, most of Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning were filled with putting together a prefabricated wooden swing set for the boys. The manufacturer said assembly time was 8-10 hours for twp people. Make that 16-17 hours with two and sometimes three people. Twenty years ago we would have built a wooden playground with swings by going to the lumber year and buying 40 pieces of treated lumber - mostly 2" x 4' x 8' - for about $2 a piece. We would have also purchased about 200 lag bolts at 20 each and some miscellaneous angle iron braces and corner brackets f0r a total of maybe $40. We would have used a power saw, an electric drill, and a ratchet set. We would have cut and assembled everything in about four hours, and what we built, because of the size of the lumber, would have been overdesigned by a factor of about ten. We would then buy the swings with their swivels and brackets; and our total cost might have come to $250.

But that's not how we do it in 2012. We got to buy a perfectly pre-cut and pre-drilled manufactured set with 53 pages of instructions, not counting six pages devoted just to identifying the pieces and hardware. One wouldn't want to accidently confuse piece A76 that was 1" x 5" x 46 1/2" with piece A77 that was 1" x 5" x 47 3/8". And let's just concede that the cost of this perfectly packaged monster was seriously more than $250. And where did they get 8-10 hours? That must be for a flat surface (vice a hilly back yard), two journeyman carpenters who assemble one of these sets each day of their lives, and with no grandchildren to "help."

But yes we got the set working, and did get to see and hold Benjamin and Everett, stay in Robert and Natalie's new home, appreciate the home's location backed up to a golf course, attend their very nice church, get treated to one lunch at the country club courtesy of Dean and Penny and get treated to another lunch at the local Irish restaurant courtesy of Robert over our protests.

Summary: A great visit even if all our muscles are sore.

Just one of the memories: Crossing the parking lot on the way to the car. Benjamin being told to "hold hands in the parking lot." Benjamin replying, "I'll hold my own hand." Which he did.