in the swing of things

My grandmother (Sebeck), 1947, nursing graduation.  We just don’t take portraits like we used to.  This one has always taken my breath away.  I hope you all had a lovely day Sunday.  Ours was filled with sun and chocolate… and that’s about as perfect as it gets in my book.

Saturday was pretty stellar, too, if you wanna talk about it.  I need you all to sit down for a moment because what I’m about to say is unbelievable:

I solved a math problem for Curt. 

I did.  He was counting out loud and said, “Ok, so there are 45.  And, 45 divided by 3 is…” Without pause I answered, “15.”  And I heard him say in disbelief, “15?  Yeah.  You’re right.  15.” 

We were both stunned. 

1- It had been so effortless for me, and 2- I had beat him to the answer.  It took us both a little while to get over it.  I tell you this because it may prove to be one of the greatest moments in my life and I want you to celebrate with me.  I, Katie Mulder, farm maiden and rec major, beat Curtis James, of spacial-awareness fame and engineering brain, to a correct and definitive answer. 

Ry loves to swing and I asked Curt if he would rig up a chain in the walnut tree.  I believe his words were, “Sure.  That’ll be easy.”  A trip to the hardware store and 2 hours later, I walked outside to find my husband 30 feet up in the air with a chainsaw.  After coming down, he explained that it was ‘perfect.’  And, it is.  It is the most gi-normous, stable, scary, fantastic swing you will ever see in your life.

This is where the math came in.  The tire is suspended by 3 bolts and 3 lengths of chain.  The tire had 45 groves going around the outside… thus, a bolt was needed at every 15 grooves.  Used tires are free at any tire shop- they are happy to get rid of them instead of paying to fill the dump. This project also took 3 eye bolts, 3 nuts, 6 washers, 4 rapid links and some chain link… all easily found in any hardware store. Total cost = under $10.  Rad.  The tire is suspended by 3 lengths of chain all connecting at the top at one point.   This allows the swing to spin in all directions.

It makes me sick just thinking about it, honestly… too. much. spinning.  For Rylie: it’s awesome.  Her vestibular system craves this kind of movement and play.  It will help her body make better decisions about balance and control itself.  When the swinging/spinning gets to be too much, we can reverse the input effect by having Ry PUSH the tire or someone in the tire.  This heavy work puts a cap on the processing and allows her body and brain to slow down and reorganize. 

Purty awesome, I say.

Pretty awesome, I say, as long as I am not the one in the tire.  Plus, baby dolls have a very special place inside the tire wall.  Ry is, in a word, thrilled.

Happy Monday, Folks!

What was your worst subject in school?

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

14 responses to “in the swing of things

  • Nancy Lee

    Love the swing…I think we need one at the “other house” for the grankids… Wonder how long it will take me to talk Pop-pop into it?

  • susannah

    you are a genius. to beat my engineering husband at a math problem. well, a girl can dream… perhaps there is hope.

    and that is a stellar swing. a nasty windstorm took down our last swing, so i think i’ll be borrowing your idea for a new one.

  • Kim Aguilar

    High fiver on the math; as an English major, I can totally relate.

    Love love love the swing!

  • Carin

    Since I came up with an answer of 14 I would say math.

  • Anna

    This is bringing back such great memories of our tire swings over the years. Of course, now I’m going to think about how great they were for our development, and that’s why we had to have one at every house. 🙂

    Also, I am not surprised at your math prowess. I am finding as I get a little more perspective as I get older, that there a few things that I am pretty good at, actually, that I thought I was horrible at when I was younger.

  • Margie

    Oh, goodness, if I showed this to Wayne, he’d be out measuring for one in a minute (re-checking all your calculations, of course). And we already have a monkey swing, the putting up of which nearly “done him in.” So let’s just keep this little post between us.

    I LOVE the picture of Rylie and her doll – although for a moment, just a moment, I gasped and thought it might be Gideon. I couldn’t figure out how he fit in there.

    Leaving math behind when I left school was itself enough to bring great pleasure. I love the word “calculator.”

  • Mandi

    First of all, your grandmother is BEAUTIFUL! I love that picture!

    Secondly, you get a big high-five from me on the math problem! You are so awesome! I find that I’m less afraid of math than I used to be, but I still defer to Dad on all math questions around here.

    And finally, that swing! Oh my! So amazing! Kudos to you for suggesting it, to Curt for making it happen and to Rylie for immediately finding just the right place for her special friend. I LOVE it!!

  • juliemooreonlife

    I love the swing and have fond memories of swinging on one myself. Although at my age now I would def get sick. My worst subject in school and even today is math. It just doesn’t click for me. But I’m a wiz at spelling, English, and lit which is why I’m drawn to writing I guess.

  • Ellen

    Huge smile on my face to see this amazing new swing for Ry – hope it is amazing 🙂 I have to look away when I swing my kiddos so I don’t lose my breakfast, lunch…and anything in between!

  • chad

    first, awesome swing.

    second, please zoom in and snap a photo of the point at which the 3 chains connect. either that or shimmy up there and get a photo of it. i must understand that junction!

    third, my worst subject by far was math. i failed almost every math class i took. it was awful. it was almost the end of me.

    i now make my living as a software developer.

    school did not work for me.

    • texasnorth

      Ok, Chad… I added that last photo for you. It’s REALLY hard to see, but the 3 chains are connected with the 4th rapid link. Then that rapid link is connected to a single length of chain that goes all the way up to the beam. There are 2 swingy thingys (yep) up there, so we CAN hook up a regular swing, but we’re just using one for now so the tire will swing in all directions.

  • beckyswann

    Ok the baby in the tire…haha freaked me out at first glance…I gave an outloud-whatthe?
    Beautiful portrait of your grandmother I have one like that of mine that I LOVE

  • HopefulLeigh

    Math has always been my worst subject, particularly calculus. My favorite part of the playground was the tire swing. Nothing better than being pushed until I was dizzy!

  • elly

    just looking at that swing makes me queasy… i can-NOT do it! way to go Ry! And I hate to be the party pooper… but lots of broken bones from the tire swing at the nearby park… just sayin! No geometry for me… nope. and your grams was a beaut! xo

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