Well, not so much. It was an $80 gate which ended up costing closer to $150. It said it was a simple install, but it took us 5 days.
We have several extra pieces of wood attached to stuff and a banister with countless extraneous holes drilled in it, as well as several pieces of shrapnel embedded in it.
We have a 3-year old who knows a couple extra swear words.
But we do, luckily and finally, have a baby gate.
Now, normally, the way this works is this: you buy a gate and read the instructions and install it with the supplied hardware and you're good to go. With us, however, we had problems from the very beginning. We started down the path of failure by purchasing a gate that was not wide enough for our opening, necessitating a return trip and ordering a 2nd gate online. Once it arrived, we meticulously read the instructions and discussed our plan of action (i.e. that we would install it while the kiddos napped one afternoon) and amassed the requisite tools: tape measure, tape, pencil, drill and screw-driver.
Essentially, the first step for us was: mount the brackets directly into the banister on one side and into a stud on the opposite wall, being sure that the gate would not be more than 3 inches off the ground. Well, we busted out our stud-finder (insert husband-jokes here; and try to be creative as I've made probably every single stud-finding husband-related joke in the universe) and realized that it didn't work. I told Justin it had never worked (keep the jokes rolling, here, folks) but he said it just needed a battery. So, off to the grocery store I went in search of a 9v battery.
Nope, it wasn't the battery.
Off to the hardware store I went, in search of a stud finder.
Lo and behold, there is no stud directly across from the banister. Womp, womp. Back to the drawing board...
We determined that it would probably be okay to find a board that we could anchor into a stud and then mount the gate to THAT. So, I went back to the hardware store to procure a board and screws that were long enough to go through the board into the stud and make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. By this point, the kids had woken up and were VERY interested in what we were doing.
So, our next step was to drill holes through our board and into the stud, then use screws to attach it. Well, we ended up stripping the screws to the point where we needed pliers to back the last one out and start all over. (Who knew brass wasn't a good material to make screws out of? I mean... why sell brass screws if they're wussy screws?) Yikes... back to the hardware store I go for new screws and, while I'm at it, a new screw driver in case that was the problem to begin with.
At this point, we are thoroughly sick of this project and we've only just attached our anchor board to the wall and measured for the holes on the banister for mounting the hinges.
Next, we have to attach the hinges to the banister, so we measure the holes based on the instructions and start drilling. Since Justin was sick of this (and we're on day 2 of the project) and I happen to enjoy my power drill, I volunteered to make the holes. The top one went fine, but the bottom hole did not. In fact, as I was backing the drill out of the hole to clear the sawdust off the bit and start in again, I realized that the drill bit that came out was significantly shorter than the drill bit that went in.
The bit broke off inside the banister.
So now we need to build off our earlier solution and create a piece of solid wood to mount to the banister to bridge the gap between the top and the bottom. Back to the hardware store. We purchased some wood, some stain, some sand paper and more freaking screws so that when we mount the gate's hinges, the whole 2-inch screw will be sunk into the solid wood that we need to mount to the banister. At this point, we've got the holes all measured and drilled and things are going well. I went to change a few diapers and came back to find Justin pouting in a corner and Jack dancing around singing an expletive-laced song about broken tools. Confused (since things seemed to have been fine - with a new drill bit and steel - not brass - screws) I asked what had happened only to be told that Justin, in his studly manliness, had torqued the head of the top screw off. With an inch of it embedded in the banister already. Leaving a small amount poking out of the wood. Not enough to get ahold of with pliers and not enough to keep the thing secure.
Sigh. We can't win. We have no idea how to get the screw out... it seems that it's just plain stuck there until we take the whole contraption down. (...at which time I'm sure there will be yet another post about our continued epic failure.)
Oh, and did I mention that this is a rental house? Because it is. Otherwise, I would have given up long ago and built a brick freaking wall at the top of these stairs.
Isn't this awesome? So, at the conclusion of the 4th day, we figured we'd won a small victory in that we were finally able to assemble the gate itself and begin looking at the hardware to hang it.
Turns out, that part wasn't too horribly difficult and by the end of day 5,
So, that's what 34 years of combined education, 3 college degrees and 5 years as a nuclear engineer will get you: a total inability to function when faced with a 10-step instruction manual for a product made in Indonesia. Now, I have no idea what made that banister so absurdly difficult to work with. Maybe it had a metal core that we didn't realize was inside. What I do know is that it will survive a nuclear holocaust.
At least our stairs are