Building a Play-set (twice)

Sometime around October of 2012, I decided my grandchildren needed to be able to do something when visiting Papa Kevin other than watch TV with the old man. I kept looking at my back yard and thinking maybe I could get a swing set or something for the kids to have fun on. I spent some time looking around at the available options and after much deliberation I decided to spend a few bucks and go all in on a Gorilla Playset.

The day it arrived, I came home from work to find several huge boxes in the driveway. When I began to look through the boxes and at the directions, I started to wonder what I had gotten into. But I took some measurements and decided where it should go and gathered the tools and began my little project. The directions were very straight forward and thorough. I didn’t consider taking pictures at the time, so I have very few photos of the actual building of the play-set.

The play-set in the rain.
Who will play on me?

Alas, time marches on! The kids all grew up and eventually became too big for the play-set. Maddy went to college, Caitlin moved up north, and Manny grew a couple of feet taller. My teenager became and adult and the kids became teenagers. It seemed like in the blink of an eye, the Gorilla play-set sat quietly in the back yard with no one to play on it. It sat that way for about a year. It was in dire need of a paint job. One day I was staring at it during a rainstorm and it just seemed like such a shadow of its former self.

During those years, my middle daughter Kim and her husband Pete had a beautiful boy named Morgan. He had just turned five and I realized that he was at the perfect age for the play-set. After discussing with Kim and Pete, I was delighted they decided they would like to have it.

The timing of all this was perfect, because I was selling my house and I had been packing up everything and putting it in storage. The plan was that if the house sold before I bought something else, Kim, Pete and Morgan would have to put up with me living with them for a few months. Kim was pregnant with her second boy, Cooper at the time. Another future play-set user. At this writing, Cooper is about two months old.

Backyard without the play-set.
Where’s is everybody?

Pete came over one really hot August day in 2019 and we completely tore down the play-set in a couple of hours. I had borrowed a truck from my real estate agent and we dismantled everything, keeping as many large pieces as possible to make reassembly easier. We drove the pieces over to Kim and Pete’s house and stored it all under the eves, up against the side of the house.

My house sold and around the first week of October, 2019 I moved in with Kim and Pete. I knew I would only be staying for about three months since my room would be the room meant for the new baby. This would actually work out well because I planned on buying a house in the Hemet/San Jacinto area and I felt I needed to move out there to become accustomed to the region, even if it meant renting, which is exactly what I ended up doing. But in the meantime, we had a play-set to build!

Papa Kevin and Morgan.
Papa Kevin and Morgan

What a great part of my life this experience has been. It isn’t about building this play-set, although both times it was truly a labor of love. It’s about the enjoyment and fulfillment of seeing my children and grand-children thrive and be happy. Jesus used the word blessed a lot. One meaning of blessed I like is “happy.” This experience made (and is making) me happy. I hope my children and grandchildren are happy too!

I also hope you’re happy and that you enjoyed this little picture story. Please leave a comment.

Thanks to for putting together a great product. The instructions provided by Gorilla Playsets can be downloaded from the website.

2 thoughts on “Building a Play-set (twice)

  1. What a touching story! I have many fond memories hanging out with my friends in the play-set and watching the kids play on it. I’m so glad that Morgan and Cooper get to keep playing on it! From all of us that have had the pleasure of enjoying the play-set: thank you, Papa Kevin! We all love you!

    • Thank you for your sweet comment, Maddy! I love you too.

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