Big A’s Bench

I was going through drafts of posts and found this one from late last summer.  Apparently I finished it, but forgot to ever post it.

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Our neighbors used to have a bench between our property and theirs.  It was old.  Very old.  This past winter it finally fell apart.  They were going to haul it away this spring, but Big A hated the idea.  He asked them if he could have the bench so he could fix it.  They loved the idea, and so we acquired a broken park bench.

I don’t have a picture of the bench prior to dismantling.  One side had already fallen off and the wood was very brittle.  And if you tell a 7-year-old boy he can take something apart, it gets taken apart quickly and completely.  Thankfully, he was good about collecting he hardware in a cup so we would be able to get replacements.

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We got some screws, bolts, nuts, washers, and 1×3 cedar, and rebuilt the seat and back.  I was going to help Big A with the project, but Grandpa wanted to do it instead.  They had a great time together and it turned out nicely.  Now the bench is out near the end of the driveway so the boys can sit on it while they wait for the bus in the morning.

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Knitting with Dowels and Pencils

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When I leave the house, I always have a yarn project with me in case I end up with a few free minutes.  At school pick-up the other week I found myself with 10 minutes and a ball of yarn and no crochet hook or knitting needles.  Oops.  It started me thinking, and I decided to see whether I could make my own knitting needles.  They are just pointed bits of wood.  It couldn’t be too tough.

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Screen Door Repair

We have a screen door in the back between a porch and the outdoors.  The way it is set up, to come inside the smaller kids have to push on the screen (or the lower frame but, come on.  Really.  Who does a thing like that?)  Over the past two years I have repeatedly, painstakingly put the screen back in place and pushed the little rubber seal back in place, usually poking my fingers in the process.  And there was a hole in the middle of the screen which was slowly growing bigger because who can resist sticking fingers through a hole?  That’s what it’s there for, right?

This past weekend one of the boys got angry.  Really angry.  I don’t know why because I was trying to take a nap while my husband watched the kids.  The angry boy punched out the screen, pulled out the rubber seal, and… did something with it.  I’m the DIYer in the family, so it became my problem.   I temporarily held the screen in place with duct tape and yarn because we have an indoor cat who likes to go exploring and he needed a deterrent in case he got out on to the porch.  I also didn’t want the kids trying to push on the absent screen to open the door and falling through the opening (although, maybe that would have taught them not to do it.  I should have thought of that earlier.)

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I could just get another seal, and maybe a new screen, but that wouldn’t really solve the root problem.  I could get a new screen door with a solid bottom and put it in, but I would need an extra set of hands and who knows when that would happen.  So I decided I would get something to cover up the hole where the screen had been and just screw/bolt it on.  I measured and went to a home improvement store to look around.

I ended up with a 36″ x 72″ piece of corrugated plastic (plastic cardboard) and some small bolts and nuts.  Armed with a box cutter, a yardstick, a toddler, a square, and a power drill, I went to work.

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Note: the potty training toddler in just underwear using the yardstick to poke and hit everything is optional, but encouraged.  It makes the project more exciting.  So do sleep deprivation and a baby who could wake at any moment.

I measured and marked the plastic and cut it.  Cutting across the grain was easy.  Strangely, cutting with it was not.  I didn’t get a good clean edge, but whatever.  I figured I could put that side down.

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I duct taped the piece to the door in the right spot (on the outside so the kids will push it against the frame) and drilled holes through both the plastic and the door.  Then I put the bolts through, put the nuts on, and was done.  It seems like it will hold up well enough.  The kids can push on it to open the door and it shouldn’t break.  It should keep the cat in.  And I couldn’t care less that it blocks some of the light and looks like, well, plastic cardboard.

Cost: around $15 (plus I have a 36″ by almost 40″ piece of plastic leftover.)  Time: around 15 minutes.  20 minutes if you add very carefully vacuuming up the tiny pieces of metal from drilling through the door.

And yes, the toddler is a boy.  He just has very long hair.  I’m not sure why.  It just kind of happened.