My husband will tell you I have a love affair with Craigslist. I love a good deal. We bought our wobbly first pier from Craigslist. Our second large purchase was a humungous water trampoline. My intent was pure. A platform for my 3 kids to do tricks and jump off of.
My mom had a water swim deck when I was a kid that we swam off of and still do to this day. It was the basic Wisconsin variety, 4 huge barrels and a wooden platform covered in green outdoor carpet. It had a ladder to help you maneuver out of the water. Parts of it have been replaced over the years, but it still gets a lot of use on good ol’ Lake Burnita. Now it’s the grandkids who do cannonball contests (with an odd uncle every once in a while) while the aunts lay in their floaties with their drinks judging the contests. Extra points for big splashes.
I started looking at water trampolines online. I quickly found out they were super expensive, over $1,000.00 and up to $3,000.00. My frugal self started combing Craigslist ads. Still expensive, but prices were looking better and better. I found one after a few weeks of searching, 45 miles away and $250. It was enormous but I knew my kids were going to love it. 2 ladders, lots of room for 3 kids to play King of the Raft.
The elderly owner of the trampoline said his grandkids had loved it and was glad another family would love it as much as he did. We deflated it and put it in the back of the minivan. The purchase was COMPLETE!!! We got the trampoline home, inflated it and showed the kids. They were beyond excited to put it in the following weekend when their friends would be there.
We had friends coming for the weekend with their family. This would be THE perfect time to bust out a new toy. We inflated it with the shop vac and the kids could barely contain their excitement. The neighbor heard their enthusiasm and came over to inspect. Turns out in the State of Wisconsin, anything that large had to be taken in or out every day or needed a permit. That was the first sign things weren’t going as planned. Oh well. We decided to take it down to the water anyway. Our friend and my husband carried it down our rickety stairs, over the collapsed boathouse and lifted it over the railing. The kids were giddy in anticipation. During the long drop over the boathouse, the water trampoline hit a piece of rebar and ripped the whole side and landed with a sad plop on the concrete. All 5 kids promptly started crying on the dock.
We took them for ice cream instead.