‘Swing Bar’ construction started in my backyard the minute we got on the plane leaving Mexico. By this, I mean, I identified the spot in the yard where it would be best suited.
In 2011, we had been in our house for 14 years. For all of this time, behind our (detached) garage, was this weird concrete patio thingy the people who lived here before us used to raise Beagles on. We kind of ignored it because:
1. It was unsightly and
2. Who the hell knows what to do with a concrete dog kennel pad in their backyard?
Well, given the proper inspiration, I do.
My bright idea was to bust up the whole 27′ x 24′ concrete slab and build our very own ‘Swing Bar’ on the site.
We decided to begin breaking up all that concrete Memorial Day weekend, 2011. The weather that Saturday was 97°, 100% humidity.
What. The Fuck?
Charlie went to Home Depot and rented a jack hammer for the day. When he got home he had the jack, of course, but he also brought home this 6′ long steel nail. Well, it looked like a nail to me. The technical name is a Pry Bar or Digging Iron, but I like ‘Big Nail’ much better. He informed me we needed it to pop the concrete pieces out-of-place. I decided that would be my contribution to the process.
Let the noise commence!!
While Charlie began hammering the first row of all that damn concrete out of the ground, I tended to the very necessary and important tasks of turning on the radio and filling thermoses with water.
After about an hour, I started popping up those hunks of concrete from the earth. Charlie had thought the slab seemed thicker than one would expect, but we now had concrete evidence (pun intended). In some spots the pieces were as thick as 7″. Seven-fucking-inches. Do you know how heavy that shit is? I can tell you… it’s majorly fucking heavy. (Again, I’m using technical terms.)
You would have thought the people who lived here before us were raising elephants in that kennel, not hunting beagles. Geesh!
Then you get to do the WAY fun job of getting rid of the concrete. Bear with me – the video is kinda long and I don’t expect you to watch the whole thing because it’s boring, but I want to give you a sense of what we endured so you can see how much work it was.
Or maybe you will feel bad for me.
Or better yet, you will think I’m awesome because I’m not the powder puff everyone assumes me to be.
(An extra special thanks, again, to Charlie’s aunt & uncle who took all of that concrete to fill a big hole in their yard!!)
After all the concrete was gone, we had a shit load (technical term) of dirt delivered and raked it out over the 10″ of stone that was below the 7″ of concrete. Finally construction could start!
First, you have to dig 4-foot deep post holes to accommodate the twelve-foot 6×6 wooden posts that will support Swing Bar.
SIDE NOTE: We have learned over the years, every home project takes about 3 times as long as you intend it to. Here’s one of the reasons why:
Once you have the posts in the ground, they have to be square so that when you dump 120 pounds of concrete around each one they will be able to support the roof and the weight of drunk people sitting on the swings. So you need to do a bunch of math and run a bunch of string around said posts in order to do that. Fortunately, Charlie is smart and can do that kind of math. If it was my dumb ass doing it, we would have ended up throwing grass seed on the dirt like we were feeding chickens and adorned it with lawn chairs. Need proof? My contribution is at the end of the video….
Over the next three months the roof went on, the bar went up and the stall mat went down (that sounds dirty) behind the bar (stall mat because we figured no grass would grow under the roof, it would be easy to clean and I could dance around like an idiot on it).
Most importantly though, the swings went in. Six swings to be exact. Why 6? Because they will forever represent the 6-pack of friends who took a vacation (a.k.a. Destination Party) to an exceptional beach resort in Mexico and fell in love with sitting on swings while partying together. Amen.
Here’s what it looks like today.
Don’t you just want to come hang out?