Not sure what I did, but somehow I messed up the site and new posts are not showing up. This was supposed to hit yesterday. Apologies, because it is big news!
Well, I guess it is time to spill the big news of 2019: we put in a pool. It’s a real nice above-ground model that we think adds a lot to the first view you get when you drive onto our property…
I’m kidding. We really did put in a pool, that was no joke. But it is not an above ground one. Although I saw an ad just after we signed the contract with our pool guys that offered an above ground pool package that was normally over $5000 for $999. That’s quite a deal!
Enough jokes. How did we end up with a pool? Now that’s a funny story, too. Sixteen years ago when we were shopping for our first home, S had a strict no water on the property policy. When she worked in the ER as a resident she saw kids who were drowning victims and it really affected her. If we could see water from the house, whether it was a pool, retaining pond, or neighborhood lake, she turned around and walked out.
She obviously got over that some since we owned a lake house for six years. But that’s a little different as the expectation is that everyone is on high alert at a lake, our kids were not toddlers when we bought it, etc.
Anyway, when we moved a year ago we started looking at the amount of land we have and wondering how we could use it. The bulk of our land is in front of our house. We have 200+ feet between our front door and the main street we face. It’s not ideal land, as there is a gully that collects water about 40 feet from the house, with either side of the yard sloping into it. Although we’ve added a few trees, it is also pretty wide-open so whatever you do out there will lack privacy.
Behind the house we have about 70 feet until we hit the property line. Much of that was filled with old apple trees, remnants from a small orchard that originally grew in this area. A pool was the first and obvious choice for that area, but we had that no water policy that got in the way of that.
We had other things to do anyway, like furnish the house, make some upgrades to the interior, etc. so we put the land use ideas on the back burner.
Until late January when S looked at me one night and said, “I think we should look into putting a pool in.”
I looked at her like she was crazy and said, “No.”
“Because it’s expensive, it’s a hassle to maintain, and you’ve never wanted to have water in our yard.”
Solid comeback, I thought.
But she explained how with the girls getting older, it’s harder to keep them from drifting off into their rooms and devices when they are home. We had promised that moving closer to their school friends would give them more chances to entertain, and this would help with that; our home would now be a place where their friends wanted to go to, at least in the summer.
I shook my head and went back to reading or watching basketball or whatever I was doing. S didn’t say anything else.
Because she knew what she had done. She was now in my head. And she knows I don’t like spontaneity but rather want to think things over multiple ways over time before I come to a conclusion. Whether I liked it or not, I started thinking about her arguments in my idle moments.
Sure enough, a couple weeks later, I said to her, “So this pool idea…” We talked it through a little more and soon after I messaged a few friends who had put in pools in recent years to get feedback on their contractors. Within a week or so I had appointments set up with two pool companies plus landscapers to come take a look at our land and talk through ideas.
The first pool quote was the cheaper of the two. That company also couldn’t even think about starting until August at the very earliest. The second company was pricier, but they were scheduling jobs in April. I told that guy to get me something to sign ASAP. He happened to grow up right down the street from us, and when I was ready to give him his deposit check, he sent his dad who still lives there over to collect it. That was a nice touch.
The day before we left for spring break he came back and laid out the location of the pool with twine and spray paint for the city permits. When the girls got home from school that day, they could look out and imagine where it would be.
We broke ground on April 30. Originally he said three weeks for the entire project. We figured there would be at least a week’s worth of delays, but that still had us done by the beginning of the summer. The first few weeks went great, right on schedule. We were on the verge of pouring concrete in mid-May and then the Spring 2019 Deluge hit: constant rains made us lose an entire week. They poured the deck just before we left for San Diego, and our hopes were that when we got home we would arrive to a filled pool that was ready to use.
But it kept raining and they were only able to lay the pool floor base while we were away.
There were more weather delays, a materials SNAFU that caused another week’s delay, but they finally put the liner in and filled the pool last Wednesday. As the final two water trucks arrived, another huge storm moved in. Fortunately it came late enough in the day that the pool was basically done. Thursday they finished putting the cover on and dumped some chemicals into the water. Friday they fired up the pump and heater, gave me the quick, basic tutorial on what to do, and dropped the green flag to use it.
Today landscapers are back for their third time, doing their (hopefully) final day of work. Our yard is a complete mess. Our very narrow street has been a disaster between large trucks with trailers and contractor pickups taking up space and mud, gravel, and construction remnants everywhere. The two houses nearest us have had parts of their yards torn up by all the traffic. I’m sure everyone who lives down the block hates us. It will likely been months before the remainder of our backyard isn’t a big mud pit.
It’s been a pain, there have been numerous annoying moments along the way, we broke our budget (shocking), but we have a pool and the girls seem happy. As I wrap this up I’m sitting on our back porch while M and L swim with friends. That was the goal, which makes all the trouble and expense worth it.