Sorry, I Was A Little Occupied...

Well, I've been meaning to post all day yesterday, but then I had to get this one thing done, and this other things done, and this boy welcomed home, and the other boy picked up from school - and then I got stuck under the basketball hoop.

Well, trapped is more like it.  Kind of like, "Help, I'm trapped by a basketball hoop, and I can't get up."

You see, it all went down like this.  The day before yesterday I found a wonderful comment on the blog from new Fresno friends Laura and Clark.  They had read on an earlier post that we were looking for a basketball hoop.  In response, Laura left the comment that they had one that they would be glad to give us!   That brought about Great Basketball Joy in our household , and later Tuesday night friends Kym and Matt brought it over.  (Thank you, Laura and Clark - and Matt and Kym!)

Matt labored to set it up in the dark with the boys, but they found it was missing a nut, and Matt promised to return at the end of the week with a new one to finish the construction. 

Of course, "the end of the week" is way too far away if you're 11, and so Jacob started asking when he got home from school if perhaps he could shoot some baskets on it, sans nut.  Not knowing how important this missing piece was, I said perhaps so, but he certainly couldn't play while the truck of Mr. Ceiling Fan Installer was parked in front of the hoop. (He was at our house all day yesterday installing ceiling fans.  But that's another post.)

Well, according to Mr. Ceiling Fan Installer, Jacob went outside to gaze sadly at the truck, and then gave him the "puppy dog" look when he went out to get some more tools.  So, he moved the truck.  Thrilled, Jacob came in and said he wanted to take a look at the hoop/nut situation, and I said that I would be right out to take a look with him, but at that moment I was fully engrossed in changing the printer ink cartridge.

About 1.5 minutes later, Jacob came in and said that now he really needed my help because the hoop was down and he couldn't get it back up again.  Sigh. So, outside I went.

My thought was that that perhaps he was just trying to lower the height of the basket in order to start slam-dunking right away, but, um - no.  Well, perhaps he was trying to do this initially, but the end result was the entire pole leaning precariously over the street, since the loose nut was supposed to be holding the heavy, heavy pole upright.   Here's a visual for you:

You can see from this picture that this bolt/nut combination tightens to hold the pole upright.  Without it, it is free to fall over when 11-year olds pull on it.

I'm guessing that it was standing securely while it was up straight Tuesday night, but now that he had pulled on it, it became unbalanced and fell right over. (And I just want to say how glad I am right now that a)Mr. Ceiling Fan Installer moved his truck, removing all possibility that the basketball hoop might crash down on it, or b)that Jacob did not pull it down on himself in a way that harmed him.
Well, once I figured out what exactly was happening, I managed to get the pole up to a standing position...but it wouldn't stay up.  Finally I had Jacob come and hold it still while I ran into the garage to find a nut that fit on the end of the bolt.

About .5 minutes after that, Jacob hollered out, "It's falling again - I can't hoooolllldddd it!".  I ran out to the street to catch the pole, and get it upright again.  And then I was stuck holding the pole up, feeling very unsure how to get out from under it without damage to a)the pole or b)me.

It's at this point of intense deliberation that Jacob decides to fix it up so it will stay upright, and fetches the duct tape, some rope and a length of chain.  Bless his heart, I guess he really does believe that duct tape will fix anything.  In my bewildered state I was just vaguely aware of him wrapping one end of the rope around the pole loosely.  "Here.  Hold this," he says, indicating that I should hold the rope tightly onto the pole.  Then he somehow fastened the chain to the end of the rope by some form of weavage,  and then starting looping the chain around a small, skinny tree up next to the house.  At this point I broke out of my stupor and realized that I had to break it to him that this plan was not going to work.  So I said this:  "Um...Jacob, we're not going to tie the basketball pole to the tree.  Please go and get your brother." 

I'm glad Jericho was home at this time - otherwise I would have been asking Mr. Ceiling Fan Installer for help, and although he seems very nice, I'm sure that's not in his ceiling fan job description.

Jacob fetched Jericho while I tried to hold the pole up nonchalantly while people drove by, "Oh, hey, neighbors.  I'm just holding up this pole here."

My plan was for Jericho to hold the pole while I looked for a nut, but he said that Matt looked all through the hardware the night before and couldn't find any nuts.  (And where are all the nuts when you need them, I ask you?)

Finally, Jericho and I were able to lower the whole pole, hoop and base backwards onto the grass.  Where it sat until the boys rode over to the hardware store, got a new bolt and nut, and fixed it all up themselves.  In this way they learned the valuable life lesson that even thought duct tape will fail you, hardware stores will not.

Here is the hoop now:

I'm thinking that it probably is not supposed to be so close to the fire hydrant, but to be honest, I'm just not messing with it at the moment.  We're just happy that we have one and that it's ready to go. 

Let the basketball games begin.

Grace Pendleton –   – (6 May 2010 at 23:12)  

We had a basketball hoop in the culdesac and all the neighbors including our grandkids play with it all the time (even me) actually I sprain
my finger once and it took me out of practice. Enjoy the HOOP

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