“Mom,” Number 1 Son asked, “Can we build a treehouse?”
My instinct was to be honest, “Ah hells no! You wanna fall out of that thing and break your damn neck?” but instead I took what I assumed would be the safe approach. (The one that would get me off the hook and my his father the bad guy, duh.) “Sure, you can build it with Baba.”
He hung his little tween head and began to sulk. “Like that’s gonna happen. You know Baba will say no.”
Of course I knew The Turk was going to say no! That was the plan. My husband is notorious for sucking the fun from life, and explaining all the ways said fun is deadly. (It’s genetic, his fun sucking is a fraction of what his own father could manage.) I was certain when faced with the treehouse request, he would issue a hard, “No. You fall out, you die.” Or “You slip on ladder and you die” or even “tree fall over and you die.” It was a given he would offer the axe on this project.
“Well, you know Baba, but it can’t hurt to ask.” Easy-peasy.
Fast-forward to dinner that evening…
“Can you please pass the yogurt,” Number 1 asked and on the downlow added, “and can we build a tree house?”
The Turk perked up, “What?”
“Yogurt,” repeated Number 1.
“No, you want tree house?”
Number 1 nodded. We braced for his You Can Die moment.
“Ok. We can start this weekend.”
Hubba whaaaaaaaaaa? Number 1 shared my reaction and before I could shut it down, plans were being sketched. This was unexpected.
They did, in fact, start that weekend but the process is slow. Because he is an engineer there is no easy or sensible process. First there was lots of contemplation about the perfect spot in the best tree in our backyard forest, then measurements, and more contemplation. Then research and clearing the neighboring 300 feet in every direction. Once that work was completed, it took numerous trips to home improvement stores sourcing materials and two months later, the building began.
He christened the build by pulling up the driveway with a stack of treated 4×4 boards sticking out the passenger side window of my not yet scratched and still smelling of the dealership SUV. “They not fit so I have to drive like this.” (PS -my SUV now smells like new deck instead scent.)
He and the boys hauled boards and tools from the garage to the build site for what seemed like hours. Thankfully, when it was time to break out the big tools he sent the boys off, which was imperative since he is no poster child for safety.
“Honey, Isn’t the ladder supposed to lean the other direction before you climb it?”
“Is it really safe to use that saw like that?”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to foot that ladder?” It took extreme restraint to avoid yelling, “YOU CAN DIE!!!”
Day one ended and The Turk still had all appendages,(truly a miracle). To celebrate he hung the only thing Nugget had asked to be added to the design, a swing. As the chains went in place the seat of the swing landed about 3 feet above the six-year-olds head.
“Baaaabaaaaa,” Nugget groaned, “How am I athposta get in my thwing?”
“Hold on, I fix.” And he did. He extended the swing chains with some ratchet straps and Nugget was off and swinging.
The Turk joined me on the deck for a cocktail to celebrate his work. “Is good huh?”
What he saw was the beginnings of a tree-mounted man-cave. What I saw were a few boards mounted between two massive pines that were a certain death-trap.
“Um, isn’t it a little high?” I asked.
“I put in stairs so they do not fall off ladder. Then I put a slide so they get down easy.”
“You’re going to need really long stairs. That thing is like 15 feet off the ground.”
“It is high because I want to see the water when I sit and drink my coffee there.” He replied
“It is so beautiful. You can see bogs and ponds. I might put futon up there to take nap even.”
“I thought this was for the kids?”
“They can drink coffee there too.”
From that moment the project grew at a frightening pace. He decided there would be a second level and perhaps next summer he would add an extension to the neighboring tree. He would add wi-fi so “the kids” could watch Turkish soccer while gazing over the cranberry bogs. He would run an electric hook-up so he could stay up there longer on his work-from-home days. “Next summer I put the pool at the bottom of the slide so they can slide down right into water.”
My eyes could roll back in my head no further. “What the hell! We have a 3 foot quick-set pool! We don’t have a real pool!!!!!”
“I know. I put one in. This winter I am research pool liners then I can put it in during spring.”
I was losing it, “so you’re going to dig the pool?”
“Yes, why not?”
“You’re going to learn to run a backhoe?” This man was out of his mind. I had images of my crazed engineer driving a backhoe into our house while digging through our septic tank and taking down power-lines for the entire town.
“Maybe I dig by hand.”
“You’re going to dig a pool in our backyard using a shovel all so you can slide out of your treehouse into a pool?”
He nodded, “Yes, the boys will slide down too.”
We ended week two and there is a floor between two trees about 15’ in the air with three different styles of swings hanging below. No one but the Turk has been allowed onto the elevated platform but he has managed to have a cup of coffee up there already. He’s called dibs on this weekend to work on the tree mansion and intends to have level one done soon. I will continue to do as I’ve done for the thirteen years I’ve been an engineer’s wife, roll my eyes, keep a firm grip on the credit cards and 911 on speed-dial then look the other way until he’s done. Maybe, one day he’ll let our kids into his treehouse too.