Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tree House Wars

Well, the weather is warm (again) and the tree house wars are waging in my neighborhood. When the boys were younger they spent 10 months out of the year building tree houses, club-houses, you name it. There are 180 acres in this dirt-road subdivision of mine. Building forts, treehouses and clubhouses is a favorite pastime for all the neighborhood kids. You think you see deer in the bushes....no, boys moving a couch into the brush. Oh look, a fallen log. No, that is the bridge to the "boat-house". Is that a cave in the side of the hill? It wasn't there last year. Of course, it is furnished with car seats and road signs. Aren't all artificial holes in the side of a hill furnished this way?
But the building isn't the fun part. The fun part was sneaking into the "other" tree-houses and finding treasures. Arguments break-out..and then the neighborhood boys decide to start over with combined efforts to "outdo" the children in the neighboring R.V. park.
This is a favorite past-time in my neighborhood. Kids as young as 4 and as old as 17 can be found building these shanties. The only other past-time that can come close is summer flashlight tag and playing in the river...but most of the year it is too cold or too dry for the river.
Then it happened. Dadsgot involved. A few years ago they (the dads) built the ultimate tree house in my back yard. It was complete with sliding fire pole, deck, patio lights and a smoke detector. The rest of the neighborhood contracting seemed to stop. We had now crossed into ridiculous..or so I thought.
Now when I can't find my husband I simply ask, "Where's dad?" The kids sigh.."oh, he's in the tree house again." When I climb up to see if he is there Brian inevitably says, "sh..I'm hiding. I don't want anyone to find me." This nonsense has gone on for years.
Austen and his friends reclaim the treehouse in the summer months, but they add a t.v. and d.v.d. player. Last year, when we had 7 (yes 7) children in our house, they all begged to move into the tree house. We told them no. They whined that it was the best place around. We said,"too bad. You must suffer in the real house with the rest of us."
This fall, Brian decided to renovate the tree-house. "Do we have to help?" the boys would ask. "Go help your dad. It's important to him." I respond. So..they rebuild a floor with no trap. They put in sheet rock, carpet, a fridge and a couch. Once again, the boys enthusiasm has returned to hang out in "the condo". Brian shows off the tree-house to any unsuspecting soul that enters our home. Older ladies from our church he leads to the ladder saying, "Just peek, isn't it great?" Everyone oohs and ahhs for him. He is so proud.
Last week, Austen grabbed a hammer, board and nails. "Where are you going?" I ask. "To build a tree-house." "What about the condo?" "Eh..it's okay I guess." I know what he means. It is not so rustic anymore. The fun of building and stealing is gone. The next thing I know there are 4 teenage boys pounding rotting boards into a tree in a field across the street from us. Now some of the other neighbors are starting to scout their perfect tree-house spots. Boys are starting to rob parts off of eachothers trees. Any piece of wood, roofing or old furniture that can be scrounged is fair game. Is Dad Brian upset?
No. "Finally", he states, eyes gleaming as he looks teary eyed at the tree condo in our yard. "It's all mine."
Hmm..I think I might add a ripline to it for Chrismas:)

1 comment:

Sardine Mama said...

Beautiful! You could publish this, you know.