“I’ll take Mir and Otto’s Adventures in Home Ownership for $200, Alex.”
“And the answer is: No.”
“I’m… sorry? That’s the whole answer?”
“Yes. The answer is No.”
“Okay. Um… what is Can we ever do a single, simple project around here without it turning into a complete clusterfuck?”
“Correct! On the board!”
“Yeah, screw you, Alex. Screw you AND your stupid board.”
So, um, I’ve decided to believe that the universe decided I really needed a distraction right about now. It’s a gift, really. The gift of dumbfuckery, right here in our yard. WE ARE SO LUCKY, because trust me, it’s been a distraction. Yay?
Two weeks ago, I shared the somewhat eye-roll-inducing (I know, I KNOW) complaint that blowing our tax refund on a new pool liner wasn’t going quite as smoothly as planned. When we last left off, the good news was that we no longer had a hole in the wall upstairs, and said wall is now painted a lovely shade of Oops. The bad news, though, was that it cost an extra gazillion dollars to make needed repairs to the pool steps, part of what we needed done wasn’t done, and then thanks to impending rain we didn’t even have the stupid liner.
Well! Because we are us, things got even better.
So, okay, first Otto decided to be a problem solver, and he did some research and bought some stuff and we spent an afternoon sanding down and repainting the metal trim around the pool, ourselves. (I have since learned that that trim is called coping. Possibly because you repaint it while still believing that your pool is someday going to be functional again? This is how you cope?) With the coping all fixed up, the pool guys finally showed up to do the liner the next day.
I didn’t know this until I watched the liner being “installed,” but a pool liner is like… a giant shower curtain. I don’t know. It seemed like it should be thicker, or something. But it’s just this vinyl liner (duh, Mir) that fits inside the concrete and makes everything look pretty and keeps the water in and stuff. This somehow is installed by two guys who get down into the pool and wrestle it around for a while and then they set up an ENORMOUS (no, seriously, really big) vacuum sort of thing that sucks out any air between the liner and the concrete. This is to keep the liner where they put it until you can fill the pool and the water will hold it where it belongs. I found this all fascinating and I couldn’t wait to see the pool all filled up with water and vacuum-less, not the least of which because the vacuum is LOUD.
If you have well water, I guess when you need to fill a pool you can arrange to… buy a giant truckload of water. I have no idea how that works, actually. If you have city water (we do), you just stick a hose in the pool and turn it on. (You also call the water company, first, and hope that they will cut you a break on the water cost, but they will not only not do that, they’ll remind you that technically, watering restrictions are still in place, and therefore you can only fill the pool on Sundays. This will cause your mild-mannered husband to use some creative language when telling you about this exchange. So that’s fun.) If you have pretty good water pressure (we do) you can actually stick TWO hoses in the pool. On a weekday! LIKE A REBEL! WOOOOOO!!
So the pool guys got the liner in, set up the vacuum, and then when I asked if it was time to put the hoses in, they said, “Oh, hang on, we have to put the light back in, first.”
Well. Part of the work estimate (translation: not only did Otto discuss this with them, but we have written proof on the work order in the form of “remove and patch light”) was that they were not supposed to put the broken, ugly-ass underwater light fixture which the former owners had left here for us back, but just disappear it and make everything pretty. Had I not gone outside when I had, they would’ve cut a giant hole in our brand new liner, so it was VERY GOOD NEWS that I stopped them before they did that. But then they said they needed to “cover the fixture” under the liner, and—surprise!—they did not have the needed materials with them to do so.
They assured me this was not a problem. (As is so often the case here in the south, their assurances were very much of the “don’t worry your pretty little head, little lady” variety.) Go ahead and start filling the pool, they said. Call us tomorrow when the water is up to the shallow end, and we’ll come back and finish dealing with the light fixture, and remove the big vacuum, and then you can fill it the rest of the way.
I believed them, because (spoiler!) I am the slowest learner in the history of man- or womankind.
Two hoses and half a day later, the deep end was full and the pool guys came back. They brought a piece of sheet metal and stuck it down behind the liner WITH DUCT TAPE. Yes. I was all, “Oh, haha, that’s not really how you attach that, right?” And they were all “What?”
Then they turned the hoses back on and took away the vacuum.
Otto came home later that night and took one look at the bulging rectangular sheet metal plate that was clearly visible through the liner—even the broken light fixture hadn’t looked that bad—and called the pool guys. They told us to turn off the water and that they’d come back and have a look “as soon as possible.”
Things get fuzzy for me, here, because there were a few other non-pool things going on (HAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA) and also, I began to basically not care if it was perfect as long as it was DONE, but a couple of days later a few pool guys sauntered in and poked around and announced that in order to fix it, they would need to drain most of the (freshly added) water back out of the pool.
Not gonna lie, here—by this time, I barely managed to sputter, “Are you KIDDING ME? We are PAYING for this water!” before informing Otto that he had to take over on dealing with them because I was fantasizing about punching people. (And really, yeah, we ARE paying for the water, and WHY is this so complicated, but I was not mad at the pool guys so much as I was just mad at the world. Sorry, pool guys! It’s not you, it’s me! Well, it’s also you. But I am particularly unstable right now, so sorry about that, anyway.) They assured us that they would reimburse us for the water because this was their error.
The pool guys put a small pump in the pool to drain water, then said they’d be back in a day. Or maybe two. They weren’t sure. Otto made some stern eyebrows and an hour later another pool guy showed up with a much bigger pump and a giant earring and said he was going to “take care of everything.” He promptly pumped several thousand gallons of water into the dog run (pool liner installation: now with bonus swamp land and muddy dog!) and then futzed around with the light fixture and the metal plate and eventually it didn’t look so awful anymore. (Some bolts had been sticking out, I guess? He cut them, the plate could then go flush to the wall, he added some thin foam, it no longer looks like an accident.)
He put the hoses back in the pool. “Just fill it up, you’re all set!” he said. He left.
We ran the hoses for the rest of that day. We turned them off before we went to bed. Otto got up early the next morning, turned them back on, and went to the office. I wandered outside a few hours later and looked around and then my face melted off and I called Otto to screech with my skeletal face-hole that POOL! LINER! BORKED! HOLY SHIT!
Remember the giant vacuum thing? That holds the liner in place? Well, they didn’t bring that back when they pumped all of that water out to fix the light. It seems that earring pool guy removed too much water, or forgot to bring the vacuum, or maybe he just knew I thought his earring was ridiculous. I DO NOT KNOW. All I know is that this liner, this stupid giant shower curtain that costs a gazillion dollars, is custom-made to fit the pool, right? BECAUSE IT’S A LINER. But because it’s vinyl, it’s kind of flimsy, and it has some stretch, and if you don’t put it down in the pool exactly the way it’s supposed to go, it will look like it was installed by drunk beavers because it will get flattened to the concrete by the water but will be all weird and stretched on one side and all wrinkled and smashed-looking on the other.
GUESS what happened. Never saw that coming, right?
Otto has been in touch with Head Pool Guy about this, and Head Pool Guy is SO apologetic, really. He is just SO VERY SORRY. This is NOT USUAL, you understand. And they will fix it just as soon as they can. (When is that? I’m not sure. NOT YET. And it’s supposed to rain all week. Again.) They will need to take ALL of the water out of the pool, this time, I think, then reseat the liner, then refill the pool (with the giant vacuum running). This is all assuming that the liner doesn’t RIP, which I am not convinced it won’t, because really, you are not supposed to be messing with it as much as this one has been messed with.
So that’s… that. And it’s annoying, and expensive, and disruptive, and really kind of enraging because c’mon, a pool liner is not supposed to take THREE FREAKING WEEKS to install correctly. Why is this so complicated?
A) Because it’s us!
B) Because it is!
C) Because I needed a distraction?
D) All of the above.