As most parents of young toddlers do, Kris and I decided to install a baby gate at the base of our stairs. Simple, right?
Step 1: Go to store and pick out gate. Choose expandable, compression-style one. Pay $39.99 + tax
Step 2: Take gate home and attempt to install it, only to realize that even at its widest setting, it's still too narrow for our landing at the base of the stairs. Oh, and compression-style won't work since our banister is too narrow.
Step 3: Return baby gate to store. Receive $39.99 + tax.
Step 4: Measure landing. Make note that baby gate must be at least 48 inches wide. Not 46.
Step 5: Take husband and baby to Babies R Us, which is 25 minutes away, but has a much better selection of baby gates. Pick out extra-wide gate that anchors to the wall and has a lovely walk-through feature. Pay $79.99 + tax
Step 6: Husband attempts to install new fancy gate, only to realize it still won't work with our funky banister.
Step 7: Make 25 minute drive back to BRU to return gate. Receive $79.99 + tax
Step 8: Complain to good friend Jes about baby gate woes. Receive sympathy.
Step 9: Get a phone call from Jes. Her mom owns a kids' consignment store and just received a unique roll-out style gate that is designed for extra-wide landings and funky banisters. Thank Jes profusely and offer to buy gate. Pay $55
Step 10: Ask husband to install new (used) baby gate.
Step 11: Wait 5 days. Ask husband again to install new (used) baby gate. While waiting, invent new ways to keep baby away from stairs by piling pillows and laundry baskets on landing.
Step 12: Decide to install baby gate yourself while baby is sleeping and husband is out camping. Measure. Drill holes. Measure again. Install gate successfully. Sit back and drink a beer while admiring your handiwork.
Step 13: Use gate successfully for two weeks. Notice it's slowly beginning to pull free from the wall.
Step 14: Screw gate back into wall using drywall anchors so that it's more secure.
Step 15: Continue to use baby gate. Learn to save precious seconds every day by stepping over baby gate instead of unhooking it, as designed.
Step 16: Step over baby gate too carelessly one evening, trip, and tear the entire gate out of wall. Endure laughter from husband, who watched the whole thing.
Step 17: Turn baby gate installation duties over to husband, who devises clever new anchor system that's sure to keep the gate secure.
Step 18: While moving coat rack out of the way for husband to complete his install, drop base of coat rack on pinky toe, breaking it (the toe, not the coat rack).
Step 19: Spout expletives. Place bag of ice on toe.
Step 20: After 3 trips to Home Depot ($27) and lots of measuring and drilling, husband's install appears successful.
Step 21: Once again, someone steps over baby gate, trips, and the whole thing rips from wall. Husband spouts expletives.
Step 22: Husband tries yet again to re-anchor gate to wall. Drills. Spouts even more expletives as he accidentally drills through PVC pipe which, come to find out later, drains our washing machine.
Step 23: Call a professional.
Step 24: Go to laundromat.
Step 25: Professional cuts hole in drywall, patches PVC pipe, installs a 2x4 inside the wall on which we can anchor the baby gate, patches the drywall, retextures and paints the wall, and installs the baby gate.
Step 26: Pay professional $100. Consider it a bargain.