Because life is a series of edits

When Renting Has Its Advantages

In Family, Places, Places & Spaces on March 27, 2008 at 7:34 am

Even if you don’t live in St. Louis, you still might have heard about all the rain the Midwest has received of late. Though we don’t live near any overflowing riverbanks, here’s a shot of our own little tragedy as a result of the rain: as of early this morning, Cair Paravel is no more.


The tree (a Chinese Elm) had grown at a 60-degree angle for many years. From what we can tell, all the water eroded the root system enough that the tree’s weight (it was big) just toppled it over. In fact, as we were piecing all this together, our 7-year-old showed us a picture she took of this crack in the ground at the base of the tree just yesterday that might have clued us in that it was going to go (so much for being parents aware of their children’s play environment).


Thankfully, the tree went down around 4:30 a.m. with no little people in or around the playhouse at the time. Something like that would have been a true tragedy, which we’re very grateful to God didn’t happen.


Despite clouds of sadness here at the Half Pint House, there do seem to be a few silver linings: from what our landlord and I could tell from our inspection this morning, the playhouse broke the fall and is (still) holding up the bulk of the weight of the tree, salvaging the garage and bringing some redemption to the ruins of its destruction (not to mention points for us with our landlord in building something in our backyard that saved his garage).


Will there be full restoration? Doubtful. But, at least the playhouse served a greater purpose than merely frustrating me for three solid days while building it last May. We may look into some kind of replacement in the future, but right now we’re at the mercy of the Triangle of Reality (time, money, quality – you pick two) and will be for a while.

I’m glad I don’t have to haggle with the insurance company or figure out how to get rid of the silly tree. Renting does have its advantages.

  1. That is too bad! (Great pictures though.)

    The playhouse broke “the fall” and “saved” the garage. Perhaps fodder for a future sermon illustra…I mean, a Sunday school lesson illustration.

  2. Oh! So sorry!

    And, yes, you’re right about renting having its advantages. Just beginning to *think* about everything that has to be done around here in order to get the house ready to sell, should that need arise after Clay graduates…

    On the other hand, we on our block are all mourning that one of neighbors has to move soon because she just found out her landlord is losing the house to foreclosure. Boo-hoo!

    Hey… do you think any of those Cair Paravel construction skills would aid in putting together a certain swingset that’s been sitting in a certain someone’s garage since last fall? (We may be just about the most pathetic people we know.) I’m sure we could work something out in trade…

  3. You’re killing me, Nick. Killing me.

    Sorry to hear about your neighbor, Renae. Thankfully, we’re pretty confident in our landlord’s ability to manage his properties (he and his family have been doing it for decades with good success). They’ve been nothing but great to us this past year and we’re glad to rent this house of theirs.

    Believe it or not, when we lived in Colorado I once (successfully) assembled the world’s largest swingset. I’m not sure I want to get into the business formally (or at all), but if Clay needs a hand this summer, have his people call my people and we’ll work something out. Remember: you get what you pay for.

  4. So sorry! Hope things work out for you.

  5. Bummers– big bummers.

    Speaking of haggling with insurance companies: I wonder if the playhouse would be covered under your renter’s insurance?

    Maybe Rich’ll buy you a new one– after all, yours saved a ton of costs for him by saving the garage. It might be worth the suggestion…

  6. Good thought on the insurance, Ed, but that would imply we had some (renter’s insurance, that is). You know me: I live on the edge.

  7. So sad about Cair Paravel! So glad everyone important is well–and the house, much less the garage.

  8. For those following the saga, the tree got removed today, but they didn’t take the playhouse. Sigh.

  9. Destruction of the Craig-made children’s playhouse by the hand of God. Why isn’t anyone addressing the obvious message here? Stay out of the workshop, mate, if you know what’s good for your kids. Sheesh.

  10. Sometimes it takes a prophet to get through to the people. Thanks for your words of warning, Skinner. Believe me, I’m happy to oblige.

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