Just don’t ask about the pool

We are totally all moved in now.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I am so funny.

Well, we did manage to finish unpacking the kitchen. We ate so much take-out that I started whining about how I was sure I was getting scurvy, or maybe rickets, I couldn’t be sure, and DAMMIT we needed to get back to eating like moderately healthful humans. So we put everything away in a flurry of negotiations (whose wine glasses get to go in the rack? do we keep both crockpots?) and then the kitchen was ready for use at last.

We celebrated this auspicious event with a trip to Kroger to spend what little money we haven’t already spent at Lowe’s, and just to give you an idea of how bad things had gotten, Chickadee got ALL EXCITED about having BANANAS. Yes.

So now things are good in the sense that there are assorted cereals for breakfast (and english muffins! and a place to toast them!) and sandwiches for lunch and tonight we grilled an enormous slab of salmon on the grill and ate it with jasmine rice and a big salad and I could’ve died happy after that, truly, but then before we put the kids to bed we sat out in the gazebo/casino and had ice cream bars. I think I can say that having the kitchen in order is the key to my heart.

Now Otto… dear, dear Otto. Keep in mind that this is a man who lived well into his 30s as a bachelor, and now he not only has a houseful of boxes, he has a houseful of CHILDREN strewing things about. And though Otto is trying to keep all of his important stuff (like tools) out in the garage and out of their reach, the garage is also full of boxes and other crap, and so I’m thinking he MUST be feeling the strain or at least a bit of claustrophobia at this point.

Otto is, however, being a remarkably good sport about everything.

Why, when we arrived at closing and our final walkthrough of the property revealed that the owners hadn’t finished opening the pool, he calmly dealt with the realtors while I sat in the corner and spit nails. We were assured that there was ONLY ONE treatment to go and the pool people would be there that very afternoon, so we went ahead and closed on the house, anyway.

Then when the pool people didn’t show up and didn’t return calls, Otto continued trying to reach them and assuring me that everything would be fine, and when the pool guy finally showed Otto went out to learn from the master and find out how to do everything.

Even once we found out that the pool was close to a thousand gallons of water short—with a water level too low to operate the filter, necessitating filling—and due to the water restrictions here in Drought Country it could only be filled between midnight and ten on Saturday mornings, he was unruffled. When I suggested, on Friday night, that he just get up early to fill it, he insisted on staying up late on Saturday to start filling it so that the kids could swim first thing on Saturday morning.

He stayed up several hours filling the pool and messing with the chemicals and doing who knows what all else, and finally came to bed very late. Being the supportive wife that I am, I was sleeping.

Early this morning Otto went out to skim the pool one last time before we let the kids swim. (The kids, meanwhile, were running around in their bathing suits already.) He discovered that the newly-filled pool was… at about the same water level at which he’d started.

Which explains the low water level. It wasn’t that they hadn’t finished filling it. It’s that the pool has a leak.

A high leak, yes, but a leak nonetheless.

This was the closest I saw Otto come to losing his shit over the current state of chaos. He can deal with the kids and the mess and the boxes and never-ending trips to buy “just one more thing,” but having stayed up half the night to inadvertently water the lawn and having to face two disappointed children was more than he could take. Especially since this is about problem number 47 created by the sellers of the house being, shall we say, less than wholly truthful about the state of the property.

Although—even then, he was grumpy for about an hour and then was fine. This is why I married him, because his picture appears in the dictionary next to “unflappable.”

In summary: Cooking is good. Having a pool we can’t actually use is bad. Otto is very patient and also cooks a mean salmon. And ice cream is good for just about whatever ails you.


  1. Stew


  2. Heather

    Ohhhh noooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing worse than a leaky pool.

    That settles it, you’ll have to move back to NH so you can come swim in our pool! :)
    Kaylee says Hi to Chickadee!

  3. Heather

    Yikes. I hope the previous owners moved very far away. I’d hate for them to run into ya’ll around town. At least, if I were you, I’d hate for them to run into me. Confuse, much? Anyway, back to the pool. That sucks. And the kitchen? That’s awesome.

  4. Suebob

    I suggest hiring an attorney.

  5. Lisa

    Attorney may be a good idea!

    And just to keep up the recent vein of my comments:

    Mmmmmmmmm cooking is gooooooood! :)

  6. Sheryl

    The sellers really need to be held accountable for that crap; take whatever recourse is necessary.

  7. Judy.

    I DO feel your pain about the leaky pool… trust me! Been there, done that. Finally our pool is almost completely empty waiting for a new liner. AND.. our daughter put her dog in the backyard while we were on vacation and the dog proceeded to shred what was left of the liner AND broke two of my rose plants. Anybody want a dog?

  8. Heidi

    Mmmm, ice cream. Last night we sat on the porch swing in the dark, surrounded by the light of the citronella candles, and ate vanilla ice cream with Bailey’s Irish Cream drizzled on top. Oh my. Or in Southernese: Oh mahy.

  9. Amy

    Ouch! We just had to replace a pool liner. The pool people put their children through college on us.

  10. Lucinda

    That sucks about the pool. I hope you all get it worked out soon.

    When I move, the kitchen is always the first room I unpack. It just must be done to maintain sanity because truly, you can only do take-out for so long before completely losing your mind. Glad you were able to eat real food!

  11. Angel

    Ohhhh do I understand about “failure to disclose”. Like how the pool was put in without a permit, which we only found out about last year (after 13 years). Which is why I GIVE UP on trying to fix the dern thing and we’re going to tear it out and build a porch.

    Dear, dear Otto. I don’t know what I’d do without my level-headed hubby. Salmon AND ice cream? Bliss.

  12. MomCat

    Mmmmmmmmm…ice cream! Wowwwwwwww…Otto is awesome!

  13. LadyBug Crossing

    I hate people who sell a pool (that comes with a house) that has issues that they don’t tell you about… that’s just nasty… Plain ol’ nasty… Hope you can get it fixed soon and that it doesn’t cost a gazillion dollars.

    Congrats on your orderly and functioning kitchen. We all need one of those.

  14. Kristen

    oh, dear.

    yep. what more can I say?

  15. Sara

    Leaky pool. Boo! Hiss! But…Ice cream in a gazebo! Yea!
    Sucky previous owners. Grrrr! But…Unflappable new husband! Woohoo!! I don’t know for certain, but it seems to balance out.

  16. Karen@FamilyBriefs

    That’s gotta suck!!!

    When we sold our house that was equipped with a pool, we DISCLOSED the fact that the pool had a slow leak and needed a new liner. As I recall, we even had the inspector include this in the report.

    Have you talked with your Realtor about this? Isn’t it against the law to not disclose something like that??? Seems they should be responsible for paying for that kind of repair (who knows if it’s just the liner or if there is damage to the pool bottom/sides from the leak) or it should have been part of the negotiations! It wouldn’t hurt to at least talk to your Realtor to see what can be done about it (and anything else you find that they didn’t disclose!)

  17. Rachel May

    WTG, Otto. I’m so very, totally impressed that he worked so hard to get the pool ready.

    And I’m totally pissed at the previous owners for not disclosing!!! Urrrgh.

  18. Bobbie

    Sorry you had to learn so quickly what all pool owners know…pools are money pits. Since buying our house we have had to replace our filter, heater, liner (plus the 35,000 gallons of water) and solar cover. My husband sometimes walks by the pool and just throws money in.

  19. Vodkarella

    Oy. We are house hunting for a place with a pool. Serious reconsideration now. Good on Otto for being so Ottoish. I’m not surprised though – you brag on that boy so much that we all think he can walk on water. Just not pool water.
    Best of luck with the pool etc.

  20. Brigitte

    I also thought there were disclosure LAWS. Too stressful, I will concentrate on the enormous, grilled slab o’ salmon, mmmmmmm.

  21. Terri

    Sounds like you need a Bruster’s run. ;)

  22. Juliness

    I feel your pain, my dear. “Phil” and I have taken to using the last name of the former owners of this house as The Ultimate Swear Word. It even replaces the f-word; for example “Oh, now THAT is *Smith’ed up!” Or, “We’ve been Smith’ed.”

    *Smith not being their actual name, of course.

    It is amazing all those not-so-little things that manage to escape seller memory during closings. Like ok, so it wasn’t 2 living room windows that were cracked, it was ALL OF THEM. And PS, most of the house’s windows are inoperable too, they don’t stay up unless you wedge a brick or piece of wood between them and the windowsill. Uggh.

    So sorry you have to deal with all this yucky stuff. Although grilled salmon, jasmine rice, fresh salad and ice cream go a LONG way to making it all better.

  23. Randi

    okay – this is coming from someone who knows. When we bought our house, we quickly (read: ewww) discovered that the downstairs toilet didn’t work. We eneded up taking the previous owners to small claims court – and WON!

    My advice: first approach the realtor and tell them that they did not disclose everything in the house, as it was obvious that the old owners knew about the pool leak – second, get documentation from anyone/everyone you can about the pool, third, take pics.

    Generally the threat to the realtor that you’re heading to the lawyer (even though you can go to small claims court w/o having to pay for a lawyer) when it’s a disclosure matter, makes them ready to strike a deal.

    If not, definitely head to small claims court! No lawyer necessary and you can include the small fee (it’s like 50 bucks around here) in your settlement.

  24. StephLove

    So sorry about the pool. How did the kids take it? Like many others, I suggest taking some kind of legal action. It sounds like it might cost a pretty penny to fix.

  25. Cele

    I’m with Randi, bitch now, bitch often, threaten now, and take action.

    for the rest I wish you joy and happiness in massive quantities.

  26. ChristieNY

    Heart is broken over the non-disclosure. :(

    Otto rocks. Let him channel his frustrations into fighting to get compensated for this.

    Hoping things are smooth sailing (swimming?) soon, and lots of hugs for you and your happily-fed family of four!

  27. tammy

    Oh man. I think you need to pitch a fit. Possibly with a catapult, so it hits them square in the head.

  28. Chris

    Awww, poor Otto. He does seem like a good sport though. I would have been fuming and trying to locate the bad sellers. Good Luck with the pool thing and on finishing up your unpacking. Do you like it so far? Was it a huge adjustment for the kids?

  29. nan

    Well crap! Never mind, I happen to know that the place your previous owners are moving into has a huge infestation of fleas about to hatch out of the carpets. And, a ghoul that bangs on the insides of walls, and termites. Oh, and mildew, which in the next few months will spread all over the house. So never fear, karma is a wonderful thing.

  30. Leandra

    Oh, I’m so sorry. We had all kinds of problems with our pool, too. In the first two years we had to put in a new filter and a new pump ($1200 total) and we had put up a $2500 safety fence so I could sleep at night. And we had a small leak!

    Also, the people who sold us our last house got a blockage in the drain line from the washing machine and instead of fixing it, they just knocked a hole in the line. Sooooo, for a year we had water gathering under our house every time we did a load of laundry. We didn’t find out about it until an exterminator said, “Hey, did you know you have a lot of water under your house.” Take them to court. We didn’t and I’ve regretted it ever since.

  31. Ruth

    Otto is a winner and a role model.

    The previous owners deserve to work as slaves for you until their dishonesty debt is paid.

  32. Daisy

    Disclosure. Honesty. What a concept. They owe you, big time. It would be worth the time in court to get them to pay.

  33. Amy-Go

    Sic your Realtor on them. If the pool being in good working order was part of your contract then the sellers are absolutely liable. They can be sued for the pool repair and your court costs. A good Realtor will make them see that paying for the repair will actually be cheaper for them. Buttheads.

    I think you need Pie. I’ll tell Julie to send you one. ;)

  34. Ladanea

    Ice cream! Yum! And add another ditto on going to the realtor and taking them to small claims court if they don’t fix it. Or big claims court, even. And! I will say this just once (semi-new reader here – love your blog!) but I want one just like this awesome Otto fellow. And friends like Amy-Go who send over pies. Even among the suckiness there are beautiful things. :)

  35. Patricia

    I so hate being the one negative voice, but while I do hope you have the proof that they failed to disclose, there is this lovely loophole that states, ‘you can not disclose what you do not know.’ It seems that less than honest people might use that as the out and say “it didn’t leak last year and this year we were selling when we opened the pool, so the pool company was supposed to finish the process and we never knew.”
    When we bought the last house, we feared water for the first year, 16 days in the drain plug went on the dishwasher and it rained in my basement (not the previous owner’s fault), BUT a month later, the roof leaked. Our roofer said that there was damage that was attempted to be covered; but that didn’t hold up to his “I didn’t put the roof on; it is OLD; and it didn’t leak for me.”
    So, I’ll cross my fingers for proof and a good fight.

  36. carrien

    My husbands grandparents ended up being sued recently over a property line discrepancy going back several generations regarding a house they sold 30 years ago for something that existed when they had already purchased it. The current owners somehow managed to make a lawsuit stick, so I have hope that you can get some money from your less than honest sellers.

  37. Aimee

    Well, I already knew that Otto was the bomb, but this solidifies it.

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