Sunday, August 08, 2010

8/8/2010 Kidplay

As we were doing our big landscaping project, I wanted to plan for a play structure swingset sort of thing. We even mapped out an area that would be prepared with a border and tanbark in the design, but it got at the end of the project. The landscapers put in lawn instead, and we were anxious enough to get done that we didn't object (though we did make sure the item "prep play area" was removed from the contract). This is one of many details that fall victim to project burnout.

Besides, I still wasn't sure what would fit there. And, feeling very very burnt out on spending, suddenly the $2000 or so for a structure was $1990 more than I felt like spending. So, wait and see.

Then friends bought a house with a swingset in their backyard. This childfree couple wants to do the yard all Japanese and Feng-shui, so they're anxious to remove this eyesore. We went to check it out Friday night.

In the end we decided this just wouldn't fit in our strange space, which is fine for grownups (and kids too), but no longer has singular wide-open spaces.

I did learn that a back-to-back glider swing is great fun, though it also has great potential for fighting since it only holds two. The only way such a swing could be used is with Katrina in one spot, who can't pump it herself and SCREAMS insistently for someone to help her; and then whichever brother won the fight over the remaining chauffeur spot. The boys will fight over who gets their spot, and if it's just the boys together, then Katrina will freak out.

Saturday morning, while I slept late, the kids found a roly-poly and followed the poor thing, put it in a bucket for its "house" and named it, then let it out to play and lost it. Dave says this kept all three busy for quite a while.

Sigh. They need a pet.

Saturday afternoon we went to another friend's house in the Santa Cruz mountains, for a barbecue we'd arranged months ahead of time -- that's how busy both families are. Dave and Ric worked together years ago and also know each other from motorcycling. Ric and Val attended our wedding with their darling 5-year-old carrot-top boy, who bowed to me again and again. I so wish someone had caught a photo of that! Anyway, that "little" boy is almost 17 now and just as delightful a young man as he was a little boy. He's very active in Boy Scouts and wants to be a screenwriter.

However, he's pretty much outgrown his childhood staple, a 14-foot diameter trampoline. Its attraction was immediately obvious -- all three kids were immediately overcome with giggles and laughter playing on it. It's better with a net around it, but our kids didn't jump very high yet and actually seemed a lot safer than I'd expected. They had a great time for a long time, while we grownups chatted above on the deck.

This item too has been offered to us, but again it's not clear where we'd fit it. It's incredible -- our lot is 11,600 sq.ft. -- large by Sunnyvale standards -- and yet we can't quite fit a swingset or trampoline?! Actually we can, it's just what else we'd give up in ability to move around, or curb appeal. For instance, the kids love riding bicycles around the backyard now -- a trampoline would interfere with that. And I can't bring myself to stick a trampoline out front, it'd just look awful.

Trampolines are a lot easier to put in and take out than swing sets, but swing sets are more versatile and we could get a more compact one to fit. Both keep kids happy for hours, but which one is the win for us? By the time we figure it out, they might be too old for either.

It's unusual for me not to blog for 2 nights in a row. The muscle cramps episode of Thursday night really threw me out of whack; I limped on and off all day Friday and felt many threatening pulls in the muscle, warning me of a recurrence. I took a muscle relaxant left over from my back episode, and it totally knocked me out all Friday. I truly had nothing to say to put in a blog, a rare event indeed. Saturday night we were all tired and content from our wonderful visit with our friends in the mountains, and I went straight to sleep when we got home. Morning sleep is a big casualty of our "new" lifestyle with me working full-time (6 months now), so I truly value the times I can sleep late on weekends.

Unfortunately, by the time my body's rested and back on its own natural rhythms, it's time for the rat race to start all over again. And there's no stopping this one -- Julian gets his stitches out tomorrow at 8am.


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