It’ll Only Take Two Hours

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Jake and I love building things.

I mean, we’ve really only ever totally “built” one thing – but it was an amazing cart that folded up to be able to perfectly fit into the trunk of our old Kia Rio (seriously tiny car) that we used for a Rainbow Gathering (hippie camping love). It barely took up any room, so we could still pack everything we needed on top of it! And we made the plan 100% ourselves, and we did all of the figuring and measuring and cutting and screwing and finagling together as an amazing wood-stuffs-making team.

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And that’s it. That’s why we *love* building things. We VERY successfully built the first thing we ever tried building. I mean, sure, we had played with legos and put together little wooden and plastic models of things before. I’m sure Jake built a birdhouse in cub scouts or something. We’ve assembled furniture and things. But we BUILT this cart, see.

That was almost four years ago, however. (Fun fact – we made it a year, to the day, before Doodle came into our lives.) And we haven’t really had the resources or motivation to build anything since. Until I found the coolest thing in the world that we absolutely had to make!

It was one of the first things I saw when I started using Pinterest about a year and a half ago. A sandbox with benches that unfolds into a cover. Or a sandbox with a cover that folds into benches. Whichever works best for you. But we were broker than broke – had just been through three different moves in four months. I originally just wanted to but it for him whenever funds got back to a good place, but then we found plans to build it. We had a project! We had the motivation, but we were still missing the resources.

Skip ahead to the present – preparing for a 3rd birthday. We needed to figure out something we could get/make for Doodle. It had to be big. It had to be awesome. I skimmed through my “Crafty Stuffs” board on Pinterest. There at the very bottom was the plan for the sandbox! We could do it. We had to!

Jake took off some (much needed) time from work between his Spring and Summer semesters of school, and we knew that this was the only time we’d really be able to devote the time and energy into it. I looked at the plans, read all of the comments on it, got a list of materials we’d need, and let Jake know how easy this thing would be and how fast it would go.

“It’ll only take two hours!”

He laughed at my estimate, I laughed at his disbelief.

Two hours and another trip to the hardware store later, he had grown tired of sanding the 24 boards needed to complete the assembly, so he moved on to staining the first half of the boards. I have no positive experiences with power tools, and he used to be a professional painter, so most of the beginning stuff was all his job. (I mean, I did clear out the 4 foot by 4 foot square in the rock bed while he was working…)  Another hour or so and we were done for the night. The next day, the rest of the wood was sanded and stained in the first two hours of working.  (We are totally aware of the fact that at this point you should really wait until the stain has had plenty of time to cure, but we’re impatient and it was already pressure-treated wood anyway, so we weren’t too terribly concerned about it.  Mainly just wanted the wood to be a little prettier.)

Ok, so we’re a little over my estimate at this point, but this is where the fun really begins! (And, in all honesty, this is where my estimate actually started anyway!)

We got the base put together, and Doodle was crazy excited. He knew that we were making a sandbox, but when we put the base on its side, he darted into it and started dancing.

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I briefly considered just stopping here, maybe making a few braces for the bottom to keep it standing up, and giving Doodle a stage for his birthday. But we needed to press forward – we were SO CLOSE! Plus, what would we do with the other 20 sanded and stained 2×4’s that were perfectly measured to fit on his new stage?

We continued working, stopping again for one more quick trip to the hardware store because APPARENTLY I can’t count and we needed more screws. We got the pieces hinged together, put some handles on, threw in a few hundred pounds of sand, and gave Doodle his early birthday present.

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Happy it’s almost your birthday, Doodle! Now, if you don’t mind, just stay in that sandbox for the next three weeks while mommy frantically tries to make as many dragon-related things as she possibly can for the 20+ chitlins that will be invading our backyard for your special day and daddy returns to work, picks up a few double shifts to help pay for your shenanigans, and starts up his summer semester.

Total time spent buying, prepping, and building – probably close to 9 hours. Total time spent “building” – 2. Sure, I was right, but Jake was absolutely right to laugh at me.

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