Sunday, August 5, 2012

Is it Still a Tree House if There is No Tree?

One of the first activities the kids did this summer was to add on to the tree house at my parents house.  About five or six years ago my dad built a tree house for the kids in an old apple tree.  The rule was that you had to be at least five years old to climb into the tree.  It was a platform with some railing, and you had to climb the tree to get in and out.  It is about six feet in the air and was about 5'x10', big enough for the five oldest kids to get in and move around a little bit.  Over the years it gained a tarp roof, and then the tree died and my dad cut it down leaving just enough of the trunk for the kids to still climb in. 

Lauren and William have grown out of it, but Claire, Matthew, Cara and Ryan grew into it, and the kids deemed it too small.  Over the winter, whenever we gathered at my parents house, the kids would go into the basement and plan for the addition.  There were elections to see who would be in charge of the project, and Colin was selected to give "the pitch".  They drew up some plans, and when the time was right, they sent Colin in.

They had two things going for them.  Laura's family was going to be staying at my parents for a few weeks while they were moving, and Colin is irresistible.  It helped that he had the backing of all of the other kids, but mostly, when Colin turns on the charm, you really have very little defense. 

One day when Mom, Laura and I had gone somewhere, Dad took Andrew, Colin, Cara and Ryan to the Home Depot to gather the materials.  The people at Home Depot about had a heart attack when the kids were pulling the wood off the piles.  Colin dropped one of the planks on his toe and it is still damaged two months later.  Dad told them they needed some 2x4's for the deck part and Ryan found some, but they were untreated.  Dad, in his infinite wisdom told him that those wouldn't work because they needed the yellow ones, you know, the ones with poison.  Ryan had a conniption.  POISON, I CAN'T TOUCH THAT, IT HAS POISON!!!!!  NOBODY TOUCH THAT, IT IS POISON.  This went on all day long.  Ryan must have washed his hands about 30 times that day.  Finally, Andrew threatened him with bodily harm if he talked about it once more, and I am pretty sure that he had Dad's approval. 

Once they got through the Home Depot they had to get the stuff home.  While everyone fit into the van comfortably on the way to the store, they didn't anticipate how much space it would take to get it all home.  Colin and Andrew had to double buckle in the front seat.  Just as Colin had finished saying, "I hope we don't see any police", one drove by.  Both of them ducked. 

For the rest of the week, they worked on the tree house.  Ryan continued to worry about the poison wood, although he didn't say anything about it around Andrew.  I think we have since convinced him that it is only poisonous to bugs. 

This is the old side of the treehouse:

This begs the question though, how many of my family members does it take to build a tree house that does not have a tree? 

This is the new tree house.  You can see the old tree stump, and the new addition of the ladder to enter and exit. 

Hours of fun have been had by all, but much to my relief, the sleepover they were planning never took place.  They are still planning on putting on a roof, but time ran out before Laura had to move on to her new house in Philadelphia.  There is always next summer. 

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