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The Trampoline

by Stewart Strachan

I often get told that I am too hard on the boys and that I am a strict parent, and I can’t deny it I am (especially with Rudy as he is the oldest). But it is only as I want them to grow up to be polite, well mannered and well behaved young men that I can be proud to say are mine. One of my parenting mantras is that I try not to spoil them; as I want them to appreciate and be greatful for what they have. We live in a world now where it seems that everything is disposable and I don’t want to encourage that.

Rudy turned 5 this year and he is starting to become far more aware of the value of things. He doesn’t ask for much and even when he does he asks for it as a birthday gift, rather than just asking for it. So I may be hard on them, but it appears to be working so far!

All that being said though I’m not a total hard ass, and when it comes to birthdays I do really like to make a big deal of it. This year I really wanted to get Rudy a trampoline, as it is the first thing he goes to when visiting his cousins, and after going to Flip Out (a trampoline park) in Glasgow he raved about it for weeks. I was given permission by the other half, but on one condition; it had to be an in-ground trampoline, as they are “safer” and “less of an eye sore in the garden”. This seemed fair to me and to be honest I quite liked the idea; the thought of chasing a trampoline that’s being blown down the street by the next ‘Hurricane Bawbag’ wasn’t all that appealing.

So, I started doing my research into the minefield that is in-ground trampolines, and finally settled on an 8ft by ‘Plum’. I read all the guidance on how to install them and watched a few videos on’YouTube’ and I was enthusiastic and rearing to go, giving myself 4 weekends to get it done so that it was ready for Rudy’s birthday. I had even come up with a plan that an evil mastermind would be proud of for when he inevitably asked me what I was doing; it was going to be a cage that I could put him in if he was naughty. Little did I know, there were a whole load of flaws in this plan……..

First of all, it was a massive error in judgement to think that I could get anything done at the weekend with Rudy and Koby around. The first step was to build the frame around what would be the hole (the frame was to be for the decking I decided to build around it; A. so it would look nice in the garden & B. so I didn’t have to dig quite as deep a hole). This in theory should have been the easiest bit. But when you have Rudy trying to build towers with the wood and Koby picking up and playing with the saw like its a toy every time my back was turned, it was far more stressful than anticipated. After the first day I decided it would be safer and less stressful for everyone involved to work on it at night once they had both went to bed.

The next stage was to start digging, and this is where the next few flaws came to fruition. A couple of nights I let Rudy stay up a little bit later and help me dig; because what kid doesn’t like playing in the mud. The problem here though, was that he was going to nursery the next day and telling the teachers he had been helping hos dad dig a hole for a cage the night before, and that the cage was for him when he misbehaved; that took some explaining when I picked him up from nursery. The next problem was that I had rather underestimated just how much dirt I would have to dig out and was rapidly running out of places to put it. In the end I had over 100 rubble sacks filled with soil strewn across the garden that I had to get rid of.

Fortunately Rudy and I are both very determined characters, and the hole was dug out in a week. In the end it was deep enough that Rudy could stand in the middle and I could have covered it over without him having to duck; so the idea of making it a cage is still a viable option should I ever have a change of heart. With a week to spare until his birthday there was now not much else to do but wait; as I planned to build the trampoline the night before.

Patience has never been a strong suit of mine, and after a couple of days of staring at the nearly finished job, I decided I could probably build the frame without him realising what it actually is. It was a good job I did; this was where the final flaw (and arguably largest) in my plan materialised. As I was on a tight timetable I had built the decking frame before buying the trampoline; using the measurements on the website. Little did I know, the measurements for the trampoline frame were internal sizes, not external. The bloody thing didn’t fit in the hole!!! Luckily, after numerous F’s, some blood and some brute force, it was fixed relatively quickly. Although it does have to be said that the trampoline is probably never coming back out of the hole; an added security feature in my opinion.

The big reveal was the morning of his party. I had gotten the mat on the night before when Rudy went to bed with relative ease, and I was really looking forward to seeing his face; the look of surprise a joy would make everything that had happened in the previous 4 weeks seem worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears. He bounded outside as soon as I told him that his present was in the garden, screamed with delight and began bouncing. I was over the moon at how happy he was! Then, the first words that came out of his mouth were………. “Thank you Mummy”.

I’m turning it into a cage after all!


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