Friday, September 10, 2010

Overzealous law enforcement detonate suspicious toy pony!

The bomb squad in Orange County Florida detonated a toy pony that had been left in a cul-de-sac near an elementary school. It is presented here as an example of rampant crazy fear and over zealous law enforcement overcoming common sense. Perhaps it belonged to a child nearby?

From the Orlando Sentinel:

A “suspicious” toy pony was blown up after it was found abandoned in the middle of a cul-de-sac near an Orange County elementary school this morning.

The FurReal pony, an expensive, life-like toy, was investigated as a possible explosive device after someone called Orange County deputies to report it. A robot inspected the toy before a pack of explosives was placed near the stuffed animal and detonated.

If we blew up every toy we found on our cul-de-sac it would be like the trenches of the on our street. I just assume that it belongs to one of our neighbors and sometimes put it back in the yard of the kid it belongs to. At no point do we blow it up.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Linus and the Sisyphean task

While we were on vacation in August we visited the Chicago Botanic Garden. Linus found these giant stone spheres and proceed to reenact the punishment of Sisyphus.

I wonder if abaies or toddlers think it is cool that everything around them is giant or lifesized or whether it is frustrating. I suppose it depends on the circumstance. Maybe its just the way things are because that's all they have ever know thus far.

Linus gets a swingset

We spent last weekend putting together a swing set for Linus in the backyard. By one reckoning it only took two days, or four if you count this weekend putting in the anchors or months if you count getting the parts and wrangling over placement and how to build it.

All we bought that was part of a "kit" were metal pieces that set the angle of the "A" pieces and would also serve to join the crossbeam to the legs. There were other metal pieces that were braces from the "A" parts to the long beam.

The other pieces we bought were the swing parts. Our neighbors had give us a hand-me-down toddler swing for Linus and we got adult swings with upgraded hardware for ourselves. Linus helped with some measurements.

We bought the lumber on Saturday and went to work. Four 4x4x10 for height. One 4x6x12 for the length. One 2x6x12 to cut in half for the cross piece of the A's on the side.

We assembled the A pieces using the metal bracket to guide the angle. It was just screwed in using 3" screws. We made sure they were identical and then cut the 2x6x12 in half, out those on each A to be identical and then cut off the ends at an angle to match the angle of the A's.

We drilled holes and attached all of the hardware to the long beam. Keep in mind that during the process we had to go to the hardware store twice after the initial trip to get more bolts and nuts and to get a long enough drill bit as well as more chain since the parts we got must have been for a shorter swing. The chains without extensions had Lynn hanging so high off the ground that her feet didn't touch.

One note: We upsized the legs from a traditional 8 ft to 10 ft for better swinging and we used 4x4's for sturdiness. We also used a 4x6 as the long piece for strength since we wanted our set to be 12ft long for three spots. there is plenty of room for us with this setup.

The hardest part was getting the long piece up on to the legs with only two people since we needed to keep the legs up. We had a convenient tree to lean one side upon and a step ladder on the other side. Still, there was some clever sliding up the legs to get it up there.

Once we side it onto the bolts we then spent a lot of time measuring distances to get it squared up. The instructions with the brackets gave less than helpful instructions to make sure the legs were square t the cross beam. I found that only one leg would square because wood isn't straight and ground isn't flat. We settled on eyeballing it and we measured the diagonal of the legs and the lengths of the legs to try to square the bottom. We did this several times. before we put all of the bolts on. After we did and each time we moved it to a new position.

We also got anchors to anchor the legs into the ground. When I swing I can lift a leg of the swingset with my momentum so we need anchors for everyone's safety. Your task: drill the 12 inch anchor all the way into rocky soil, good luck.

I was able to get two in, and broke one when it hit wood or rocks in the ground. I haven't finished this portion of the task. The anchors go in and then there is a strap with holes in it that gets screwed to the leg of the swingset. That is probably today's task.

The swing set in use:

I am glad we built it adult sized since we can swing with Linus and it is ready for him to grow into it.