Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Ah, summer.  It's been a good one.  Life with infants and toddlers is nothing compared to life with two school age children who have blossoming imaginations and interests.  So when they jokingly told us they wanted a treehouse, we ran with that idea.
I've been reminded (by the children) that the kitchen remodel project from this past winter isn't quite complete and they think maybe I should finish it because I have a sink, paint and tile piled in the corner of that room.  The kitchen will wait.  Treehouses are way more vital to their imagination than a cool countertop.
We roamed the tree grove looking for the perfect place to locate this treehouse.  Yet again, I was reminded that I live on the prairie and while we are fortunate to have so many trees surrounding our home, not a single one is conducive to supporting an entire structure that I would have confidence in.  We ultimately chose a building site right next to the one chosen by Danish Cowboy in his younger days for a treehouse.  My kids can look 10 feet off to the east and see how their dad spent his summertime youth.  We began building then promptly found a baby rattlesnake that wanted to call this spot home.  I nearly cried because tamping those posts just about did me in and the thought of moving them was painful.  
We soldiered on, rattlesnake or not, and settled on a modified version of a treehouse with a walkway connected to a tree and the platform soundly supported by large wood posts originally intended for a fencing project.  There is not a piece of wood on the farm that is safe from me this summer.  I perfected my use of the power saw, hammer, drill, level and tape measure.  Kind of.  And when I had the walls erected, it swayed beautifully in the wind.  The nightmares of a crumbling treehouse began. 
I retreated to the kitchen (unfinished) and started reading about the power of triangles and their value in providing support.  I can't tell you how pleased I was to learn that, yes, a2 + bstill does equal c2.   I really do love math.  Let me say that again:  I LOVE MATH! 
 Fractions, geometry, trigonometry, algebra.  There is a purpose for it. And for me, this treehouse is it!  I've admittedly gotten a little sloppier with measurement as time goes on.  And there is no roof yet.  And the warped barn wood on portions of the building have caused a little grief.  But the cantilevers and awesome right triangles make up for those flaws. 
Like any good do-it-yourselfer, all the kids care about is the color of the thing.  I have taught them well.   And so we will soon have a barn red, lime green, turquoise, orange and spiderman blue structure where imaginations can soar!
Admittedly, at the rate we are getting it painted, the children will be off to college by the time it is done.  But that's okay.  Spending time hanging out in this structure, the repeated trips back and forth to the shop and our power source, the birds flitting all around us...I'm not really in a hurry to be done with this because the kids will look back on this time many decades from now and say "remember the summer we helped build that treehouse..." This is the stuff that memories are made of.
Of course they'll probably also look back in a few decades when they are cleaning up the remnants of this treehouse and say "why the hell did she use so many screws?"   It's a legacy.  I'm leaving them a legacy.

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