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I really should be cleaning, but I am not.  Instead I spent most of the night modifying and installing a baby gate to keep my little monkey from climbing up the stairs all the live-long day.  It was a project that really should have taken no more than fifteen minutes, but apparently there is some kind of international agreement in place that limits the width of all baby gates to two inches less than the narrowest point in our hallway.

Sorry, that isn’t entirely true.  After digging through three big box stores in search of a sturdy way of heading off our toddler before she can play Sir Edmund Hillary again, we found exactly one setup that was wide enough to fit from wall-to-wall.  The only problem was that it cost as much as my car and required the purchase of two additional units to extend it past the nominal width of 32 inches.

And of course, they wouldn’t carry those extensions in store.  Why the hell would they?  That would be convenient.  I don’t want to inspire legal action by naming the idiot store that carries such a gating product without the parts to make it useful for anything wider than a supermodel’s hips, but it also sells car parts and Mastercraft tools.  And its name rhymes with Canadian Tire.

We settled on the cheapest model that we could find because I knew that I would have to do some drilling and some screwing to make it work for me.  (That may stand as the greatest statement I have ever written on this blog, and I refuse to censor it.)  I took another trip out to the Home Depot to get some cheap pieces of pine and rubber chair feet, but by dinner time I was well on my way to creating an extension piece that  would, in theory, hold back the tide of baby-climbing for at least the next few months.

Being a conscientious father and woodworker, I also made sure that there were no sharp edges, splinters, exposed screws, or pinch points in my construction.  And I glued all my pieces together.  And I use three times as many screws as necessary.  And I used multiple industrial zip ties to hold the extension to the gate.  As a Stirling, I follow the “Build-It-Like-It-May-One-Day-Be-Required-To-Hold-Up-The-Weight-Of-Several-Elephants-Even-If-Elephants-Are-A-Highly-Unlikely-Possibility” rule.  Such a rule has, in the past, been applied to such marvelous Stirling constructions as the industrial-level (rated to 1500 pounds per level) shelves in my garage, my father’s 700 pound workbench, and the chaise lounge that requires a small team of oxen to move it across the deck.

Abby has now been blocked from the stairs, my need to assert my power over pine boards has be sated, and the house remains in a state of deep, profound disorganization, with no clean end in sight.

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