Monday, October 26, 2009

Bionic Man: Handyman Extraordinaire

Did I mention that my husband is a Handyman Extraordinaire?

Did I?  Because if I didn't, I need to be forthright about the fact that he is.  And my life would be totally different if he was not.  Actually, I don't even know if "handyman" is really the appropriate terminology for what he is.  Master craftsman may be a better fit. 

Whatever you want to call him, I cannot deny the simple reality that Bionic Man can figure out how to make anything.  Literally, anything.  I'm not boasting or bragging when I say this, although I am quite pleased with myself for choosing such a talented man to be my husband.  No, when it comes to his handy-manliness, I'm just telling it like it is. It is almost scary, how good he is. 

Well, it is scary, if you are one of the trick or treaters that visits our house on Halloween.  But that is a post unto itself. 

Let me give you the basics.  Bionic Man is an engineer at work, an artist at heart, and a genius at home improvement. 

Bionic Man is blessed with a very creative mind, which he uses during the work day to be an aerospace engineer.  But Bionic Man doesn't exactly relish the fact that in order to do this job, he must be stuck in front of a computer all day, inside a drab cubicle, within a boring office building.  He likes adventure, excitement, the great outdoors, and a lot of creative license.  Bionic Man posesses that pioneering, let's-put-a-man-on-the-moon-and-I-volunteer-to-be-the-man spirit and really should have been born two centuries ago, when he could have settled a new territory using the farm implements he invented. 

But if that had happened, then we wouldn't be married today.  Unless I was born two centuries earlier.  That probably wouldn't have worked in my favor, because if I had been born two centuries earlier, I would be buck-toothed and blind.  And if I were lucky enough to get married, I would have died in childbirth for sure.  Wow, so much to be thankful for!

Anyway, when Bionic Man decides he is going to make something, he does.  Case in point: our backyard playscape.  I present to you....Exhibit A.
If you were to take a walk along the neighborhood trail, this is what you would see.  Our backyard, complete with the recently (and finally) finishished playscape. 

I say finally because Bionic Man began this project soon after we purchased our home, four years ago.  We had promised the children a playscape when we moved from our old home.  (Where the backyard was a hill perfect for sledding, but not for playscapes.)  After shopping for playscapes, Bionic Man informed me that purchasing a playscape was a complete waste of our money and his imaginiation.  He declared that he could build a bigger, better, playscape than anything we'd seen, and he'd do it for a fraction of the cost. 

Thus ensued the backyard project comparable only to Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel.  Complete with scaffolding.

Like all good artists, Bionic Man didn't create his masterpiece without some practice.  First, he built the picnic table pictured here.
Finding that to be fairly simple and having aquired the appropriate power tools and expertise, he moved onto the actual playscape.  The design took some time, probably because I wanted a part in the design.  It took compromise.  Bionic Man listened to my design suggestions, threw most of them out, took a few several steps further, and decided to build the playscape in such a way that it could be conerted to a gazebo if the children ever stopped playing on it.
Can you see it?  That is the main reason our backyard playscape is topped by a cupola.  The cupola alone gives it more architectural detail than our actual house.  Are you starting to sense why I refer to my husband as the Bionic Man?  The cupola and cedar shakes are the reason that Bionic Man insisted the playscape wasn't "done" two years ago, after installing the slides.  He just finished the roof a few days ago.
Luckily, the deck was already a part of our backyard when the project started, or the project would have taken an additional four years.  Bionic Man does beautiful work, but having a "real" job on the side kind of cuts into his project time.   The above picture and the one below show the bridge that Bionic Man built to connect playscape to deck.  Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

And now for a few views of the slides.

The wavy slide, in particular, makes a very fun waterslide in the summer.  The bigger you are, the faster you fly!
Since Superkid takes coumadin to prevent blood clots, we have to be very careful about bumps and bruises.  Bionic Man was mindful of this when he designed the Sistine Chapel of Playscapes.  Note how the playscape has many levels, instead of ladders or small steps.
The climbing wall is one exception to that.  But he padded the area beneath it with lots and lots of mulch.  And Superkid has to use the rope. 
Birds love our playscape as much as our children do.  Maybe even more, since the children haven't mentioned anything about wanting to raise their young beneath the eaves of the playscape.  It is definitely watertight.
In the early days of the creation of this Seventh Wonder of the Backyard World, our next door neighbor peered over his fence as Bionic Man poured the cement for the footings. He watched quietly for a few minutes, then said, "Man, next time we have a tornado, I'm going to come hang onto your playscape. That thing isn't going anywhere."

It better not go anywhere.  Because, although the playscape ended up being bigger and better than any playscape we saw during our initial shopping trips, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a fraction of the cost. 

I'll have to share some more of the Bionic Man's projects another time.  Are you wondering yet what it is he does for Halloween?

Update:  Bionic Man has recently been working on the installation of a sandbox underneath the playscape.  The sandbox includes a pump and drainage system, so the kids can play with water in the sandbox, which will be drained, filtered and returned to the pump system.  Can you believe it?  I'll post more pics as soon as the landscaping around the sandbox is complete.


  1. LOVE this post! Can I borrow your bionic husband for a few days to help my hubby build our own playscape?! WOW!! I am impressed and I chuckled at the humor you added from your neighbor!

    Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan Jacks

  2. WOw - that playscape is awesome! What a great place to frolic!

    Thanks so much for your design advice today. I loved that photography site you recommended!


  3. How cool! I want to come over and play!!

  4. That is incredible! What an awesome husband and a lucky little boy you have!

  5. found you from centsationalgirl - that is AMAZING! My Dad and I built our one for my kids, but it is nothing compared to that. Love it!

  6. that is awesome! i love that-and i'm sure the kids do, too!

  7. Absolutely brilliant! Your husband definitely has some skills!