I'm so excited for Thanksgiving. We have family coming in and food being prepared. One of my jobs is getting the playground ready. The sea change has happened. My boys are officially no longer going to play on the playground. I know it happened a long time ago, but this week it was clear things had to change. 

The rungs to the ladders were broken. The platform was filled with sticks and debris. The slide was covered with slime ( a mixture of mildew, dirt and even some emerging lichen). The cover was torn and shredded. It had been too long since it was regularly used. I bought new ladders, a new cover, and swept the fort clean. The slide was a different story. The outside was not much of a problem, but I got soaked and filthy scrubbing it clean. The inside required a whole new method. 

We bought mildew cleaner and I started at the top. The spray covered well and dissolved most of the grime and the the rest came off easily with my scrubbing sponge. The first two feet I did kneeling on the platform. Then I laid down and reached further in and got nearly to the first joint. Several times I dropped the sponge. Then I would have to get up, climb down, get the sponge, climb back up and then crawl back into the tunnel. Eventually, I was upside down with my feet hooked over the edge reaching as far into the tunnel as possible. When I had sprayed and scrubbed all I could I had to shimmy back up the slide using my feet as hands and pulling against gravity.

I went to the bottom and started to scrubb. I reached the point where I had to go in the tube and realized I had done this all wrong. I should have started in this position and scrubbed from the middle down. Instead, my feet were in the water, the bottom of the slide was covered with the slime from the top,  the cleaning fluid smelled terribly and I was covered with it all. The fort is now ready for my grand nephew who will be the perfect age this year to play on it, which makes it all worthwhile. 

The process of cleaning an old mess is difficult. It's hard to know how to get a good handle on it. I replaced the wooden rungs with aluminum ones because the old ones kept rotting out. I did not want to go back to the old way. The last few weeks indicate that we are in a cultural shift that means that we have to put our world back in order, and it can't go back to the old way, but must get better. The way men treat women has to change in a deep and profound way. I imagine it will be messy, but it will be worth it, if we can be the generation to pass on a world where protecting individual dignity is not the exception, but the norm.