Monday, June 07, 2010

In which Milli has yet another harebrained scheme...

Sooner or later, John is going to slap tape over my mouth when I start a conversation with, "I was thinking..."
The road to hell is paved with "I was thinkings," some days.
But I had this idea, because a friend of mine has had this back yard pool for quite some time, and when I asked her about it she said that they're really a lot nicer than you would think. And if you do it right, it will last a long time - like hers is on its 7th summer. And we had this pretty flat spot up by the house. And this will be our first summer since Rowan started going to school that he won't be starting the school year in July...
Pool. On sale at Target for $350. It would pay for itself in one summer with $ saved from joining the Y, and we would actually go swimming more than once or twice.

Turns out that "pretty flat" itsn't really flat enough. We needed a nice level spot so that the weight of the water wouldn't buckle the frame. I looked on several websites, and some gardening sites said that you could use a flat shovel to tear up grass and level ground for a pool. So, that's how we started.

This is John, kicking at the shovel to get it into the ground.

Turns out our soil is HARD and is mostly CLAY. We could have kept using shovels, and we also could have kept working for about a month to get all that yard up. You see that one little stripe of dirt there? That is 90 minutes of work. I was dirtier than I have been in a long time, and the road to swimming was looking very long indeed. But I remembered some tool that I'd seen on a website. It was called a sod cutter. I went in and searched, and it wasn't something I dreamed up. It was real, and it was for rent at the home depot.

Sod cutter. $65 for 4 hours. Money well spent.

The sod cutter was very cool. It sheared off tree roots. It cut the grass up to 2 inches deep and then we could just roll it up like carpet. Rowan was highly impressed.

After all the grass was up (and the cable/internet/phone line was cut, whoops!) John had the idea of running the cutter all over the ground again to make it easier for us to dig. So he drove it around a bunch and we congratulated ourselves on using the sod cutter to the fullness of our 4 hour allotment and went into the house to rest up for the next day.

Hard packed clay with tracks from the sod cutter all over it.

Tired John, post shower, wondering what I've gotten him in to.

Turns out that we should have rolled up that dirt right when John cut it, because when we went out there with shovels and tried to hack at it, it was HARD and really wasn't going to move anywhere without a huge fight. We tried to do things with shovels, but nothing was happening, and it was getting hotter so we went to hide in the house in the a/c and formulated our next plan of attack.

Phase two: the tiller. $26 for four hours. This project was racking up the bucks.

It's always like that, isn't it? You start out simple, but then have to do more things along the way and it ends up being even more than a pain than you thought it would be. At least, that's how it is for me. John tries to shoot down my pie in the sky ideas, but then I accuse him of being a pessimist. Sometimes he goes along with it anyway, like here, because he knows it would be fun to have a pool, too.
So anyway, the big idea was to rent a tiller and bust up the soil so we could rake it where we needed it to be and then stomp it down again. He also brought home this rolly thing to roll it out, but I didn't get pictures of that because by then it was raining on us.
Oh yes. It started raining at the end of the day on Monday, and rained and rained and rained. And then we had pop up thundershowers that kept rewetting the ground. The ground that wasn't so solid because we had just tilled it.
And then there was that event with the dog, who when presented with a large circle of mud in which to dig, took us up on the offer that we didn't know we were making. Which led to the mess of mud and dog wee all over the floor in the living room (that was FUN, let me tell you!) which then led to me blocking the doggy door and making all dog visits to the back yard be supervised pee pee only visits until that big patch of diggable dirt was covered by a pool.
The party doesn't stop here, you know.
But FINALLY, on Saturday the ground was dry enough to put down the ground cloth and build the pool. Actually, we tried to smooth it out a bit, pick up any rocks, get any remaining roots, and then John went inside to get a drink while I was unfolding the ground cloth and BIG FAT RAINDROPS starting coming out of the sky! I screamed, "NOOOOOOOOO!" and ran around putting the cover down anyway. God heard my cry, though, and it only did those few drops and the cloud blew away.
Thank you, God. I owe you one.
So then we layed out the pieces of the pool.

Pool, ready for assembly.

We are experienced babyhandlers, and as such we know all about putting things together that have the little pegs that have to line up with the little holes. Working together we had the pool assembled in less than an hour. Yes, after all that work, the actual pool construction was really very easy to do.

Pool, fresh up. No water.

John checks the legs to make sure they're straight.
Yes, it is near our deck but that gap is pretty intimidating.
There will be no jumping from the deck, at least not at this point.
We had to coax Niall off the ladder.

We started filling the pool on Saturday afternoon, turned the water off overnight, and then back on again Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon we had this.

And yes, it was a lot harder getting the ground ready than I thought it would be. But it was sooo worth it. We are going to have a fantastic summer. We should have gone out there a few times while it was filling to check the legs, because a couple of them aren't straight up and down anymore, but it seems okay. I'm so glad we did this, and John still seems to like me. It must be love.


Anonymous said...

It looks great and the kids look like they are having a blast!!! ENJOY!!!!!

Alisa said...

I love your storytelling talent! (It sounds like something I would talk Scott into.) And the pool looks great, Milli. I can tell that it's going to be worth it by the looks on Rowan's and Niall's faces. (I don't know if Pixie is quite sure about it yet.)

Sarah said...

My first thought is if Niall and/or Rowan are anything like their dad or uncles, there may not be jumping from the deck but there may be a bicycle ramp or zip line in your future!!!

Looks so fun and I can tell the kids are already loving it! Good decision!

Good Remedy said...

Oh! What fun! When my older kids were that age, we had a pool just like that. I loved it! The kiddos loved it. That was a great summer. :-) Hope yours is too.

Drea said...

Looks like they're having a ton of fun!!

sdcarroway said...

How fun! Enjoy!

CandCFamily said...

Looks great!