It all started with Lily deciding that she wanted to play basketball. We were visiting my in-laws. They have balls and a hoop and Lily was quite taken with aiming and throwing and dribbling.
Being a take charge kind of mother I signed her up for basketball at the local rec center and then set about researching hoops for our yard. They were expensive. How expensive? At least four carloads worth of junk expensive. I turned to craigslist. A little less expensive, but nothing was available in my area.
I turned to my town's listserv:
My baby wants to play basketball but I am too cheap to buy a new hoop. Does anyone have one that they are done with? I'd be happy to take it off your hands!
Cheap Shiny Red Mama"
Sure enough I got a response! A family in my very town was all done with their Lifetime basketball hoop and I was welcome to it. All I had to do was come and fetch it.
Excellent! I dropped Rebecca off at her sewing class which was to last two hours (you will understand why I am mentioning this as the story unfolds). Then I ran home, picked up David and Lily, a handful of tools and went to the home where our new basketball hoop awaited us.
I noticed a few things straightaway.
It was big. It was tall. It was heavy.
The base was covered in cobwebs, spiders and termite mud tubes. Still, it was sturdy and it was free.
David and I got to work figuring out the best way to disassemble it so that we could somehow get it home in our minivan.
Lily made this job pleasant by maintaining a constant stream of questions and observations.
"Can I help? Can I hold the wrench? Is that a spider? Look at that spider! Is that a termite? Can I use the screwdriver? I want to hold the screwdriver! Can we turn on the car so I can watch a movie? Can I climb on the car? I think I need to use the bathroom. Can I poke the spider? I'm hungry. When can I turn the wrench? Why is this taking so long? I need to use the bathroom. Can I use your iphone?"
It was great. And by great, I mean that I offered her five dollars to pretty please stop talking!
We removed a bunch of screws and nuts and it helped sort of. The big problem, the problem that really was making me want to cry, was the 500lbs of sand that was in the base of the pole. It quickly became apparent that we were going to have to drain the sand before we were going to be able to move the base.
What to do with the sand?
I had a few reusable grocery bags in the car so we began filling them. The bags filled very quickly (Win!). The bags also had holes (Fail!).
This is how we found ourselves in the driveway of a family we did not know, dismantling a hulking 12 foot piece of equipment and spilling sand all over the driveway.
"I really need to use the bathroom!" Lily announced.
We rang the bell and the very kind Mrs. Basketball Hoop allowed us in to use the bathroom. I also asked her for some garbage bags for the sand, which was really becoming worrisome. It was spilling everywhere and more and more it was looking like this entire hoop thing was a big mistake.
She graciously gave us the bags and we went back out just in time for Mr. Basketball Hoop to come home and further witness two witless suburbanites with tools battling sand and an eight year old who would not stop talking.
Thank god Lily took pictures.
Here I am laying on the driveway holding a nut in place with my wrench while David used a socket wrench.
Here is David, trying to manage the sand. Notice the sand on the driveway? Isn't that what you want to come home to? Two idiots dumping sand all over your driveway?
It was about this time that David stood up, stumbled and dropped his iphone causing the glass to shatter. It was also about this time that we noticed some dark clouds gathering above our little project.
We had finished scooping up most of the sand just as it started to pour. Quickly we began to argue about the best way to get the pole into the car. Finally we shoved it in the best we could, tied down the back hatch and left. Our clothes were soaked, our car was full of sand and all Lily had to say was, "I didn't get to help at all!"
It had now been two hours and twenty minutes since I had dropped Rebecca off at her sewing class.
We were late. We were wet. Lily was belligerent.
We picked Rebecca up, deposited her at her dance class and returned home where we proceeded to extract 500 lbs of sand, a cobwebby base, a hoop, a backboard and ten of the twelve pieces of hardware which we need to reassemble the whole mess. It is now lying on our driveway where Pugsley immediately peed on it. It is right next to my clothesline with the two loads of clean laundry that I neglected to remove before it started raining.
I cannot fathom how we are going to put this thing back together. I need to go back and look for two screws that we somehow left in the grass along with my dignity.
This is why I hate basketball. And spiders. And socket wrenches. And most especially why I hate sand.