Quality of swings

Two rants in a row… odd for me!

So while I was mowing, I happened to notice my daughter’s swingset. Ok, so I mow around it every time, but I mean really pay attention to it.

And I’m not happy with it.

My daughter is 6 this summer. We bought this swingset the fall that she was 2, so it’s 4 years old.

It was the top of the line for metal swingsets sold at non-toy stores at the time. We had looked several places, but ended up getting this one on half price clearance at the end of the summer for somewhere around 150 or so from what I remember.

Since then we’ve paid 35 each to replace two swings that have broken and 40 twice to replace the fabric on the top of the porch-swing style swing area.

But it’s current condition is worse.

The paint/stickers are so faded I would guess this thing was about 10 years old. Even the plastic glider thing has bleached itself almost white.

One of the hooks that holds a swing chain is messing up so it only holds two of the three swings.

Which is fine, as the baby swing we paid like 40 for has cracked around the rope area so that I wouldn’t trust it with a child in it.

The fabric on the top has ripped up, again…. but I just took the framing off this time. I’m not even gonna pay to replace it every single summer.

The little spinny thing’s plastic area broke the second summer, so it has long since been removed.

But new this summer, the slide now has a big crack in it… enough that I wonder if it will be usable by the end of summer. But it already had issues with being overly wobbly, but as it was attached in the plastic area, nothing you can tighten to fix it.

Of the ground anchors, 3 out of 8 the thin metal piece has broken. Which doesn’t really matter, as when the ground is either really wet (every spring) or really dry (every summer), you can easily pull it out of the ground just by trying to lift the leg anyway… no resistance at all.

In short, this thing is usable due to replacements…. but its in sorry shape, and almost everything that hasn’t been replaced needs to be.

Did I mention this thing is only 4 years old? And that I only have one child? And for that matter, she probably only plays on it about once a week or so.

What happened to swingsets? These things used to be like indestructable.

Ours as a kid had lived through life raising my cousins, then all of us, and then lived through at least one other family that I know of… some paint loss and rust, I think a chain snapped like once… but still highly usable. One of my uncles has one now that he got when my cousin was little, and shes now in her 30s. After all three of his kids got too old, it turned into a porch-type swing holder for adults, and now is back in use as a swingset for grandkids.

Really, I know quality of everything has gone down a ton since then…. but still…. I expect a moderately priced swingset to last longer than 4 years. I don’t think its asking too much to not have to replace a swingset for a single child or family of kids close in age during the time between when they are old enough to use on their own and the time when they are old enough to no longer have a real interest.

Apparently this isn’t realistic anymore. Because really, rather than the slide which I’m sure is at least 50, I’d be better off at this point buying a new one entirely. Which is stupid.

But the more I think about it, the more I suddenly realized…. I haven’t seen a single other swingset in this area. None of her cousins have them either. Nor my friends kids.

When in the world did swingsets disappear from the childhood landscape? Those things used to be the centers of our neighborhood world.

Probably about the way the tv and video games are now I guess. Another loss to technology… well, more like parenting probably as our parents would have never let us have the main (aka only) tv with the nintendo or atari hooked up to it for that long even if we wanted to.

This makes me sad…. but I’m not sure whether its more from the disappointment in the quality, or the changing of the world.

My daughter does love her swingset… and does play on it extendedly when she plays on it. So eventually I suppose I will give in and replace it with one that has lower expectations placed on it.

With my tomboy nature and skills at power tools, a few years ago I googled plans for building a little playhouse, and found quite a few online for free. At the time, I was looking at the ones that had attached swingset type areas and figuring I wouldn’t include that part. But now they are making a whole lot more sense. Maybe building one yourself is the smartest thing to do on a swingset right now.

Or I suppose I could buy one of the custom built wooden ones that cost more than the used car she will want when she turns 16. Sheesh, if the metal ones only last 4 years, that might even have been the cost effective option to have taken!

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What was webkinz thinking???

I’m a bit annoyed at webkinz right now.

Though of 2 hours of effort, my daughter’s “house” now has all of her rooms themed, named, organized and filled instead of items randomly tossed into rooms at her whim.

Why? Because I had to clear everything of any value of out of her dock.

Why? Because webkinz added a new feature creating danger to any item left in the dock.

Why? Because my daughter is 6, and like most elementary school kids, easily fooled into trusting someone.

They added these new trading tables to the clubhouse.

For those of you not on webkinz, the clubhouse could almost be called a chatroom, but the kids can’t really chat. Their pets can hang out together in a variety of different room layouts, and they can select things for their pets to say from a pre-created list. It reminds me greatly of playing madlibs ever time I go in there.

This is one of the things I love about webkinz. The kids’ safety has always seemed to be top priority. They seriously don’t even let kids see each others usernames in the clubhouse… jsut the pet name, and in the area where you can play games against each other you just get the pet name and 3 letters of the username unless you both agree to add each other to your friends lists.

So why would they now add a feature to allow more knowledgable (usually meaning older) kids con younger kids into giving away their expensive and rare items in exchange for some cheap items that may look kinda neat?

At first I thought the trading tables made sense. I frequently use webkinzinsider.com, and they have a whole trading program with feedback and requirements to meet to trade items with other users to get the exclusives you would have rather gotten with your pet adoption. But that whole program requires trust in the feedback to be a good indication of the persons future behavior, as it requires sending the items through kinzpost.

So the trading tables sounded like a good solution.

But I’ve been in there several different times since they have opened, and for at least an hour at a time. And I’ve seen a grand total of 2 fair trades offered.

I know better. But I also know enough to know that my daughter doesn’t.

So I cleared out her dock. Items have to be in the dock to be traded.

Granted, she can easily remove items from her rooms and put them into the dock. But I’m hoping that she continues not to do that much and to leave thing set up as we now have them. I’m also going to have to remember to help her find places for items immediately when she gets a new pet and a new exclusive and pet special item with it.

Not a great solution, but a fair one at the moment.

But I’m kind of annoyed that I even have to worry about it on a site I’ve always been thrilled with for its protection of its young user base.

It doesn’t ask an email when you sign up even, just a first name and a birthday, and optional gender. If you lose your password, the same code that activated your account will get you back into it.

They have spots for advertising, and beyond that, even label them as advertisements! But the only things I have ever seen advertised there are the occasional other webkinz items ads. All of the others are promoting other games on the site, or public service type things like telling kids to drink milk, or to get outside to play often.

The site is great about having a good health focus. Healthy foods are usually cheaper, and fill the pets up more, and pets have an extra health meter that goes up for eating healthy foods and things like swimming, running, and gardening… and goes down with junk food and time spent in the arcade playing games.

The games themselves are equally awesome. The only real violence is some pie throwing, and a little goofy character that likes to be hit with a bat to make him fly by this other goofy character. Many of them are educational but get kids to like them anyway.

And maybe the biggest miracle is that adults like many of them as much as kids do. How many other sites do my 6 year old and I like several of the same games as our favorites and enjoy playing against each other? And yes, she wins more often than I care to admit.

The money system is fair…. the games don’t pay overly huge amounts, so kids learn to budget to be able to afford the items they want to “purchase”. There are sales in the curio shop, sometimes good ones, sometimes bad ones. My daughter has learned more from kinzcash than I think she has from real allowance, and more quickly. And also learned that although the jobs she likes don’t always pay as high as other jobs, the fact that she likes doing them more often makes it worth it. Good things to be learning.

I have recommended this site to many people, many times. It’s an incredible site for kids, and a cool site for adults.

For that matter, the toys themselves are great as well. You have to remember, ganz was a stuffed animal company, and still is. You can find articles about retailers being annoyed at having to carry some of their other animals to get a good supply of webkinz. Webkinz taking off as an internet site was kind of a sales fluke that put them into the kids website business. The stuffed plushies are cute, and well built… and most are actually real animals. Our local zoo even carries many of the species that match their exhibits.

Up until recently, my only warning offered was to keep close watch on the codes and the passwords. Kids may not really understand the consequences of passwords being known by friends yet, and when friendship troubles come, things can get messy if it is in the wrong hands. Ditto with the code if the person holding it knows the username it is connected to. My kiddo learned the password lesson the hard way with one of her cousins. Though I suppose better she learned now than later down the road with more sensitive accounts in email or such.

I’m really wondering what they were thinking with this whole trading table thing. And I’m really hoping they watch them enough to notice the trend and remove them before too many kids get hurt when they realize the item that came with their pet can never be replaced, where the pretty looking food was only worth 30 kc to make.

Paranoia and defensiveness

2 Samuel 10

But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, 3 the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, their master, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the city so they can come in and conquer it!” 4 So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame.

5 When David heard what had happened, he sent messengers to tell the men, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance.

6 When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, they sent and hired 20,000 Aramean foot soldiers from the lands of Beth-rehob and Zobah, 1,000 from the king of Maacah, and 12,000 from the land of Tob. 7 When David heard about this, he sent Joab and all his warriors to fight them.

I’ll end the quoting here…. but the war goes on for the rest of the chapter… involving more and more people… and eventually making the allies of the original enemy learn not to help them in the future.

All over a bit of paranoia basically… a bit of distrust of the intentions of someone meaning no harm.

I especially am hit with vs 6 and 7…. they realized they made him mad and got on the defense…. which then puts David on the offense. It doesn’t sound like he was planning to attack until after he noticed they had gotten their armies ready for a war….  instead of attempting to make things better with him.

I wonder a bit…. how many people died over this?

And… I’m really really glad I don’t have an army and I’m not a leader. I can only imagine how much worse I could do, both in the lack of trust, and in the defense instead of apology.

Just one detail in the wrong language

So…. someone I have chatted with fairly frequently (and hung out with some in person on the smitty cruise last summer) was over in the Netherlands for a few days, and ended up in the hospital due to major pacemaker issue.

I decided to send flowers.

This became a sort of interesting experience. Most of the american sites that do overseas deliveries weren’t really appropriate. I didn’t really want roses… or something overly pink delivered to a man. Nor did I want something labeled as funeral flowers.

So I found a site that was local to the Netherlands.

I managed to get it translated enough to figure out what info to put where. I even got euros converted into dollars so I knew what to be expecting. Went to the hospital site, got that translated, got the address, figured out the right format to put it into the form.

Everything seemed to go great. I was rather thrilled when I got an email I couldn’t understand but which seemed to have all the right details. Even more so later when the charge successfully made it to my credit card’s website, so that much of it made it through correctly (and for very close to my conversion guess).

It wasn’t until the next day I realized my one mistake. In the hospital name blank, I put the english translation of the hospital name… instead of going back to the original version of the page and using the real name.

Considering the address was on it too, I’m hopeful that it will make it there today anyway. And from my two chat buddies I know from Holland (one of which also from the cruise), I think its probably pretty likely someone from the flower shop will know enough english to figure out what I meant anyway.

I guess we will see soon! Gotta love modern technology. I wonder if I can send a pizza to someone in Australia from online… lol!

Owww….. ow ow ow.

A cat was trying to jump into a window sill.

It missed.

It landed under the window.

Namely, in the bathtub.

Unfortunately, I was attempting a relaxing bath at the time.

I am not very relaxed now.

I’m thinking thoughts of home declawing with hand tools actually.

While I wouldn’t actually do it, entertaining the thought seems to make my leg hurt a bit less.

Hopeless

matt 22

36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment.

What does it mean to love with your soul? Do I have any idea of how to do that?

It’s a commandment… so I’m going to assume he wouldn’t tell me to do something unless its something that I can actually do… that I actually have some control over it. But how can I make my very essence love?

But moving to the other parts… do I love him with all my mind? Ouch. That one is a battle for me sometimes. My mind likes to flip back to logic… and forget that human logic can’t begin to understand god logic.

And my heart? Um… I’m not sure I wanna discuss my heart. It’s fickle. Emotions throw me for a loop sometimes… the heart is way too easily bribed away.

Strength? I thought it was included… but maybe that’s from another account in one of the other gospels. But I do pretty poorly there as well. I’m lazy when it comes to all the things I should be doing… let alone all the things I could be doing.

Grace… gotta love it. Cuz without it, we’re hopeless. Even at the seemingly basic tasks.