My not-too-shabby mini golf course

About 10 days ago I told my wife, Sandy, that I’m ready to begin my new project.
Whenever I say the word “project” it usually causes Sandy to give me a pained look. She now considers me marginally adept at building simple shelving units — the kind you tuck away in the garage out of sight from the general public. But now I was determined to build a miniature golf course in our basement.
She said she didn’t want it to look … well … how can I say this delicately? … shabby.
I told her not to worry. I would do a good job.
She asked me to divulge my plans. “Did you jot it all down on paper?” she asked.
I pointed to my head. “Don’t worry,” I said. “It’s all up here.”
She didn’t say it, but I knew what she was thinking.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” said the expression on her face.
I’ve always enjoyed miniature golf. It’s a simple game, and the options are endless. On one hole, you might have undulating straightaways to navigate. On another there may be a tunnel going through a windmill guarded by a swinging pendulum. On another, a water hazard. On yet another, a tiny escalator. The possibilities are as limitless as the imagination.
I told her the course is for our six grandkids. Some grandpas are content to buy a ping-pong table, others go for a foosball game, and still others simply throw a bunch of toys in a box and tell the kiddies to play downstairs. I decided I was going to do something different, and someday when I’m old and wrinkled and sitting in my wheelchair at the nursing home, one of my grandkids will visit me, smile and say, “Grandpa, do you remember when you made that mini golf course in your basement?”
Then I’ll smile, too.
Now 10 days after my announcement to Sandy, I’m to the point where the course is playable. It’s not finished yet — I have another 12 feet of plywood to buy for the last straightaway. But I’ve laid out the course for two holes (I’m planning on four altogether), tacked on the green turf carpet and constructed several obstacles.
The project has not been without surprises. For one, I was surprised at the high cost of plywood and fake grassy turf. But I’m trying very hard to keep the costs down while building something that doesn’t look … well … shabby.
One of the brainstorms I’ve had was to add versatility. So the obstacles, ramps, tunnels and contraptions I’ve made can be put down and taken up liberally, and the look of the course can be changed repeatedly into something new and different.
I’m anxious for the unveiling.
Sandy’s going to be surprised.
Which is a good thing.

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