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Monday, December 17, 2007

What I do on rainy days Part II

In 2003, on a rainy day, I wrote a long and plenty-linked post about how to avoid a catastrophe in Iraq. This is what I did on rainy days prior to having kids. All the time in the world to research and write and sound earnest. Should I really bother linking back to it? Sad really.

Now to "these days" what I do on a rainy day.

Long long ago, when I was shorter and believed my Dad worked inside a giant broccoli (i.e. "the plant"), we used to make couch forts. We had a hide-a-bed, so not only could we stack the cushions Post-and-lintel-like , we could also get down deep inside the frame of the couch. I've always liked the couch fort, the tent, the odd confined spaces. So I jump at the chance I've got now, with two little ones in the house, on a rainy day to make a couch fort (or couch cubby as it's known in these parts). It's been good letting that inner-caveman out again.

I've got a couple different couch cubbies in my repertoire. The most simple is the low cubby. Just reach between the big cushion and the back cushion, brace the big cushion with your knee, and pull up. Do that for all three sections of the couch, and viola! instant cave.

For the big cubby you rotate the back cushions 90deg, which allows the big cushions to be near vertical.

Then there are other variations that combine the low and the big cubbies. We also have a reproduction Eero Aarnio bubble chair (a.k.a. "a room within a room" a.k.a. the cubby chair) that can be pushed up against the couch cubby to give it another dimension.

But by far, my bestest favoritest is the combined couch/fan cubby. We've been doing the fan cubby for a while now. It consists of putting the doona cover on the bed, then pushing the fan up to the opening. It inflates like a balloon. Throw a couple pillows inside, a few books and soft toys and it's an instant nice place to be on a hot day. Two big problems I have with the fan cubby:
1. It's on the bed, so off the ground, so little ones can fall off the side. They require close supervision, which is just an excuse for me to get inside the fan cubby myself.

2. The fan is right at the entry/exit, which puts it within reach of little fingers. This has always been a concern.

But both of these worries are answered in the couch/fan cubby (pictured). With the fan on 3(full blast) it can be set back a safe distance from the entrance. The couch cushions act like a duct that keeps the doona cover's mouth open, and channels the air in to keep the doona cover inflated.

One thing I did notice about the couch/fan cubby is that it gets pretty warm inside, so it's not as good as a straight fan cubby on a hot day.
A tip if you're considering building your own fan cubby; we have three doona covers. Only one of them works. One is a lightweight synthetic, too much air leaks through the fabric for the fan to keep it inflated. The other is almost a linen. It's too heavy. The third is a nice high thread count cotton. It's the same weight as your standard sheet. That's the one that works.

Can anyone with a paid subscription tell me if Encyclopedia Britannica Online has a citation for "Doona" or "Couch Fort"? I suspect not. I'm going to assume they have one for "Post and Lintel construction" because that's a phrase I learned in Mr. Call's class in high school, as in the essay question: "Compare and contrast civilizations which used Post and Lintel construction with those that didn't…).

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