Friday, September 03, 2010

My Week as an Inexperienced Pool Maintenance Laborer

This week I undertook a job that I thought I'd never attempt to do; I became a Pool Maintenance Temp, sans any experience whatsover beyond that pool chemical thingy for a hot tub.

We moved into this great cottage-type house that has a 20 x 17 pool that needed attention badly. The only thing bold enough to swim in that sucker were the local frogs and a few leaves falling from the trees. Not even the giant winged, man-eating cockroaches Palmetto bugs would come near it.

Of course, the pool became a priority before getting the house in order because we do have four children that just have to have a pool before they just die! Every... Single... Day..... I had to hear them ask 4-50 times (depending on amount of homework involved), "Mom... when DO we get to swim in the pool?"

After awhile, the becomes about the same as hearing the constant scrapings of fingernails on a chalkboard. Therefore, I have accustomed to grinding my teeth every night as I sleep. I must have the flattest molars on the block now - but at least I have a pool!

We were originally going to have a local guy/business clean, paint, and fill the pool. All that came to a screeching halt when he quoted me something like... $1200 freaking dollars, to just paint the pool.

I don't THINK so! Some of us mom's still realize there's an economic meltdown still occuring and $1200 is NOT in the budget for pool paint this month!

Since we are renting at the moment, I didn't think the *owners* would fair too well with the price since I had just talked them into replacing the pump/filter motor after it going ka-puts after 10 agonizing years of filter crap out of that thing.

So the hubs and I got talking and convinced ourselves we could do this all ourselves. I admit that I was really intimidated because, see... I have this older brother who is just too damn smart about, well... everything! He's my expert in the pool department since he's had one that he fixed (including putting in the $5000 freaking liner himself!), and maintained all by himself without the help of any pool company around.

So of course, I just had to run all this by him. He floored me when he said, "Since it was a gunite pool, it need to be resurface and that'll cost you about 4-5 thousand dollars."

I fell over dead after that phone call.

So what does an pool-stupid, mom-of-four to do? She hits Google and starts researching:

*How to fix your severely neglected pool that MUST be in working order by the last holiday of the summer season, be-FORE my kids pack and move back to Florida and move into my former neighbors house who HAS a pool?*

Google returned these results:

*Dear pool-stupid, mom-of-four: It's the same as cleaning the kids bathtub and painting the floor. You ARE pool-stupid! Sincerely..... Google*

Well that was simple! All we had to do was drain it, acid wash it (like the kids bathtub), give a good soap scrubbing with a pressure washer (same as the kids bathtub), then paint it!

As you can see, we all got involved in the beginning process of draining the pool.

At one point, I thought about turning the pool into a crappy skateboard park instead. Then I remembered about Julian's concussion he got from skateboarding last year that resulted in my ending my relationship with my iPhone.

Now all that was left was the simple process of prepping the pool for painting; the most important part of the project. Simple, yeah... YEAH! Tell THAT to each and every single muscle and red blood cell in my body right now. If it weren't for my new, trusty French Press giving me ample supply of caffeine right now, this pool-stupid, mom-of-four would be in a serious coma instead of writing.

The hubs and I managed to get through the process without killing one another or losing all of our lungs to the giant toxic gas-filled clouds smoke coming from the muriatic acid being sprayed all over a well worn pool.

At one point, the hubs forgot that once the acid "smoke" got in the air, it would settle on his head. Which in turn has a little party with the sweat pouring off his forehead and eventually starts streaming past the *gas mask* into his eyes, nose, and mouth.

I've never seen a man rip stuff off his head as fast as he did. I was running to get pitchers of water to pour over his head before he could look up and I might, quite possibly, just happen to notice that his whole nose might have been burned completely off his face.

Luckily that didn't happen, but we did quite a bit of gagging after that. I'm still thanking God that our lungs remained fully intact after that little project.

Washing went well, painting was just plain hot. Luckily we used an acrylic enamel pool paint that you could use if the pool was damp. I was sweating so many sweatballs that at one point I thought we would have to use the wet/dry vacuum to suck what was accumulating at the basin of the pool.

Thank God for a couple of box lunches at our new local Japanese restaurant, Naruto Cafe to get us through this endeavor. The best Teryaki Salmon boxed lunch I've ever had!

So the pool is finished; just waiting for the hubs to bring home the new drain cover and we are good to go on filling the sucker up with 15,300 +/- gallons of clear cold water that I can put the kids in once they start those "after-school temper tantrums".

THAT'S the real reason I got the pool project going.

I'm exhausted from all this, but I don't regret one second of doing this. Just remember, when some snazzy/arrogant pool person/company tells you "YOU can't do THAT!"; make sure you take two chlorine tabs and stuff them up their nose and say "YES I CAN!"

Next on my list of to-do's before getting the house in order: buying LOT'S of cheap, made-in-China junk reduced priced pool paraphernalia!

By the way... those of you in Florida that may need pool liner for that inground pool you have; I have a little advice for you. Do NOT pay 4-5 grand for that liner. My new pool guy told me that a distributor in Montgomery, AL gets them for around $700 and sells to companies in Florida for a little more. In turn they charge YOU that 4-5 grand for putting it in. He said none of you should be paying more than about $2000 to put that liner in. Just passing on some info that might save you BIG bucks in the future.

My brother Bob should be passed out on the floor right about now.