Today we had a little family day and went in search of the wooden playfort that we had promised the boys for their birthdays. Earlier this summer, we had priced the playforts at Lowe's. I was really hoping to get a playfort from a local business, but wasn't optimistic that we would find one within our budget. We headed into our local hardware store, which, I am embarrassed to say, I had not visited in probably 15 years, since Lowe's came to town.
It is a great little store! Why have I been shopping at the mega-store all these years? I guess I thought it was easier...and cheaper. Anyway, we went out back, where they had a lovely garden center. Wooden walkways and paths with flower beds, benches, stone fireplaces, and of course, playforts, all around. The boys played in the shade on the playforts for almost an hour, while I sat on the bench, watching them, with baby B. The Hubby crunched numbers with the helpful salesmen. Yes, they said, we could add the rock wall...and the baby swing...the the longer slide...yes, they deliver...yes, they can set it up for us.
Even with delivery and setting it up for us, the local hardware store came in over $300 UNDER Lowe's! I am beginning to think this whole concept of 'local is more expensive' is just an urban legend. Because in almost two months of only shopping locally, 4 out of 5 times, local has been cheaper. And the few times it hasn't been cheaper, it has still been worth the extra cost because of the personal service I have received, ease of using the stores (much easier to get in and out of small stores w/ children), and general satisfaction.
One of the benches I saw at the hardware store was exactly what I would like to have for the screened porch (remember my inspiration picture?). A very simple wooden bench with straight lines. The best part is that the seat lifts up to reveal a big storage area, which would be great to store all the outdoor toys in. I hope the hubby gets it for me with the money that we didn't use on the playfort.
In fact, I just realized that I never did post after pictures of the porch. Well, it still has a ways to go before it is really cute (hopefully I can make more headway on it next week). But, it is very usable now. In fact, I am typing this from my porch. It is an absolutely exquisite day. I am sitting at the table on the porch, which is covered in one of my favorite vintage tablecloths. The older two boys are playing down in the yard below me, filthy, but happy as can be. Fresh air and sunshine...just the thing for growing little boys!