In our backyard, we have what is tantamount to a crop circle. It is an 18-foot circle where the grass hasn’t yet grown back after the Wal-Mart above-ground pool fiasco of 2014 (a story for another day).
I look out at that void and think two things: 1. I am SO, SO glad that the giant blue inflatable above-ground cesspool is no longer staring at me from the kitchen window, and 2. it does kinda look like aliens landed in our backyard and made a perfect circle of doom, right here in central Arkansas to send us a message of…what? My guess is that it’s the aliens laughing at my inability to prevent this abhorrence of nature from looking like the nastiest swamp thing ever.
I digress. The crop circle has been staring at me,
and this Christmas, the grandparent fairies decided to deliver a trampoline to our kids. I had mixed emotions about this, mainly because I am certain that my kids will find a way to injure themselves, other kids, our dog…and they will probably find a way to break it.
This Saturday was the first nice day in forever, so Jeff and I headed out back with a giant box from Academy Sports and some directions clearly written (and illustrated) by third world engineers who have a spotty knowledge of English.
Lucky for us, Jeff and I are no strangers to putting stuff together…as long as there is beer in the fridge and music in the background, we can go into Ikea and accept any challenge. We have, of course, assembled countless toys for the kids, but our coup de gras was our first project, a mammoth TV entertainment center (before we figured out that, according to Pinterest, anything except this crazy piece of furniture would be better to display our TV)… Anyway, we were just dating, but we drank beer, listened to music, and worked together…and we never yelled at each other.
Maybe it was because we were just dating and on our best behavior, but we have since completed similar projects and have very rarely lost tempers. If any mistakes occur, we inevitably blame the poor directions and even worse illustrations. So, we entered into Saturday’s trampoline project with the hopes that we would be finished in two hours and off to lunch with the kids.
We. Were. SO. Wrong. It started out fine…placing the lower railing parts in the crop circle. Check. Standing them up and making sure the larger hole on one side of the railing was facing in…no out…no in…out? I can’t read the damn directions. The kids are out here…minimal cussing please. Every time we messed up, we would have to correct the mistake five more times because we had followed the directions for each of the six pairs of legs. Grrr….
Then came the unholiest of unholy jobs…you would think this would be
simple, but you would be wrong. This m-effer has 72…seventy-two, SEVENTY-TWO springs around the circle. But you can’t just go in order to attach the springs. You must count…COUNT 36 holes around the mat AND 36 holes around the silver frame and that’s your step 2. Step three is counting every 9 holes, so you install a few of those springs…but wait. What the? This doesn’t look right. It’s off…Jeff must’ve miscounted somewhere along the way. So we attempt to take the path of least resistance and pull out as few springs as possible, only to find that that’s the equivalent of the worst hardest math problem you ever did in the 11th grade. This is taking for-evah.
Okay, Jeff. Let’s just start the hell over. It can’t be any worse than that, right? Wrong. Spring removal…of incorrectly placed and unnaturally stretched springs…is a forearm exercise that no mere mortal should ever endure. F-bombs are dropping all over our back yard like it’s a war zone. He starts again, and incorrectly counts again…removal again.
We both have advanced degrees, and we can’t count to 36 or 9 or 72 or whatever the hell you’re supposed to count to. I was an English teacher, so using the multiplication tables I thought I’d never see again past 8th grade is making my head hurt. Where is the beer?!? Oh…it’s only 10am, and we aren’t at a tailgate, and our kids are watching, so no go. Dang. Music? We need music…that always helps. Fortunately, our iTunes account’s “shuffle” function has managed to shuffle between Christmas music and gangsta rap. Neither of these seems appropriate.
And then, the springs magically begin to go on correctly. I knew, also, that we couldn’t just be those parents who didn’t assemble the safety net because we were lazy and tired of this. We would be neighborhood pariahs…
What?!? Your kids have a play date at Jeff and Carrie’s?!? You might want to rethink that…their trampoline doesn’t have a net!!!
So, friends, we soldiered on and only had to build the cage…I mean net…1.5 times. I guess I’m glad that we spent the extra 40 minutes or whatever so all the kids will have a fighting chance at only breaking limbs if they land on each other instead of the ground.
We will be hosting Wednesday night cage fighting after church if any of you want to send your kids over to play. You can also place Vegas-style bets on who will go to the emergency room first and what the injury will be. Jeff and I? Though this experience put a small dent in our “some assembly required” toy and furniture joy, we will live to fight another day.