I don’t typically consider myself a spontaneous person. I tend to lean more towards the end of the spectrum that relies on careful planning over the last second get up and go. I went against that this past Saturday when I decided on a whim that we needed a new swingset for the backyard. The family and I had just gone to Costco where they had the Sunray 2008 model playsystem on display.

The kids have a metal swing set that is roughly 2 years old and it sags and creaks under the weight of a 3yr old so you can forget both of them being on it anytime in the future. The Sunray 2008 was about $1400 in store, a bargain compared to similar offerings from Rainbow, the BMW of playsystems.

At roughly 4:30pm I called my dad up and asked to borrow his truck to buy a swingset. He met me up at Costco and we lugged all 6 boxes into the truck and subsequently into the garage. Total weight? 725 pounds give or take a few.

Saturday night I popped in the instructional DVD, yes it came with a step by step DVD in addition to paper instructions, and was greeted by the estimated time of construction at roughly 16 hours. I chuckled and thought to myself that there was no way this little thing could take 16 hours to build. I mean, I’m no rookie at building things and I know my way around just about all the tools required for construction.

I was wrong about 2 things from the get go:

1. This thing is NOT small. Standing roughly 12′ tall, it’s a gigantic structure that I can stand up inside at the peak of the roof and I’m 5’11”.

2. This thing can and will take roughly 16 hours to assemble, longer if you have no idea what you are doing.

I got up bright and early Sunday morning ready to take on my newest project and get this badboy assembled in maybe 5 or 6 hours. You’ll see later on in the story how #2 seems to continually be reinforced despite my dillusions.

I headed outside about 10:30, confident that I would tear through the assembly of this thing. The key being that the assembly is the easy part, digging out the lumber and hardware needed for each step is the time consuming part. The parts are labeled and you are guided to which box you can find each piece, but at the beginning it still takes a very very long time to find anything inside those large boxes of lumber.

I got started on the first step, which was quite simple, but quickly got bogged down in the details of what I was doing. Noon rolled around and my dad finally joined me and we really got into the thick of it. As the sun slowly slid across the sky, and the structure started to look more and more like a fort I began to notice that things were progressing much slower than I had anticipated.

Day 1 came to a halt when the sun decided that it was time for bed and thus took my work light with it. I stopped on step 10… of 37. At least we had the basic structure built and standing and the main platform was screwed into place. I’ll describe my second day on the job tomorrow or maybe later today. I should note that it is now Wednesday and I am still not done.

Here are a few pictures of the finished product from the Costco website: