Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BUILDING A SANDBOX - BAD IDEA



Brian and I have had plans for over a year to build Christopher a sandbox. When we moved into this house there was an herb garden right off the back patio. It's the perfect place for an herb garden. It's a 5x7 ft. concrete rectangle with dirt in the middle. Unfortunately, I'm not a gourmet chef. And neither is Brian. So the herb garden died. It then became the perfect place for Susie, our Dalmatian mix to dig. When we renovated the living room and demolished the faux fireplace we thought we would take the extra bricks and create a small patio to place the grill on. It was going to look fabulous. Well, soon after we tore down the fireplace, Christopher entered our world. And along with the other projects we had planned the idea of a brick patio disappeared. It was a little before this time last year that I had a revelation. Let's turn the old herb garden into a sandbox for Christopher.



Christopher's birthday came and he was even lucky enough to get sandbox toys from our friends Sam and Micha. We then went out and bought sandbox sand and weed blocker. Then somehow Summer passed as well as Fall and Winter. Brian and I put the sandbox idea on a shelf where it sat until last week. As the weather started to warm up last week I had it in my head that we we going to finish this sandbox if it was the last thing I did.



The one thing I knew we needed to plan for was a cover for the sandbox. I, as well as Brian, am a germaphobe. The last thing I wanted was a cat or raccoon pooping in the sandbox. It gave me the shivers just thinking about it.



The solution seemed simple enough. I would buy a plastic cover for the sandbox. Well this isn't a handmade "box". It's a concrete slab that was poured many years ago. Probably even before Brian and I started dating. So the size is irregular. It's certainly not square. And unluckily for us, it's no where near normal dimensions of a sandbox. It's 5x7 ft. They (meaning the people of the Internet) make all kinds of sizes for sandbox covers. They make 4x4, 4x6, 6x8, 8x10 even 14x20 - who in their right mind would have a sandbox that big is beyond me, but that's not the point. The point is, no one makes a sandbox cover for a 5x7 ft. sandbox. Sure there are companies that custom make covers but I don't want to pay over $200 for one.



So it was then decided that we would make a cover ourselves. I'll be the first to admit, I'm crafty. I love making things out of a little duct tape and cardboard from time to time. Actually, that just gave me an idea for our next Christmas card. Sorry, I'm trailing off again. Anyway, I went down to the hardware store and bought the items we needed for about $70. I purchase a gray tarp, extra grommets, ground spikes, and some chain links. My idea was to attach the chain links to the sides of the tarp (cut to the correct dimensions) by adding extra grommets to it. I thought we could stake down one side of the tarp and then stretch the rest of the tarp over the sandbox, allowing the chains to weigh it down and keep out poop predators such as our neighbor's cat and possums.



Before I started building my cover I decided to jump on the Internet one more time hoping there was still a chance someone in the world, possibly Taiwan or Japan that made a cover to fit my sandbox. BIG MISTAKE. I happened upon a site that talks about all the reasons not to have a sandbox. I thought I knew all the reasons, and I thought I was taking precautions to prevent them. Nope. Sorry. That's not the case. Apparently making your own cover is just as bad as not having one. Sure, the tarp would keep out cats the site said. But it will do nothing for those flea infected rodents. A tarp won't stop them. They also added that a tarp can get holes. Holes lead to moist sand. Moist sand leads to mosquitoes and ringworm.



That was all they had to say. I then went to Toy's R Us and purchased a prefabricated, cover included, sandbox. It's nowhere near as big and the sandbox I originally had in mind for Christopher. It certainly won't hold the six other kids I imagined him playing with in the sandbox. But it's a sandbox. And the bonus? It took less than a hour to set up. It probably would have only taken five minutes for the normal mom, but I decided that I wasn't going to let this concrete slab get the best of me. So Brian and I dug out the old dirt as we had originally planned and we then set the said purchased sandbox inside. I then filled in the sides allowing the sandbox to be level with the rest of the area. We've planted some grass seeds in the remaining area hoping that in 6 or 7 weeks it will look like it was meant to be. Unfortunately I know that something plastic sticking out of the ground does not look natural. But I'm happy. And so is Christopher. He played in the sandbox for nearly an hour on Sunday (which is a very long attention span for a soon to be two year old).



The best part is that it rained this morning and our sand is poop-less and bone dry. The moral of this story? Even if you're crafty, save yourself the time and spend the $60 (which is cheaper than the items I spent to make my own cover) and buy a plastic sandbox that comes with a cover and is headache free.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and sharing your story about the stairs.
    I'm happy I read this post. That is scary about the rodents and ringworm, yuck! Looks like your boy really likes the sandbox you bought.

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