Why am I even surprised?

By Mir
May 20, 2013

We knew, not even very far into it, that fixing the pool was yet another Curse Of Casa Mir project, doomed from the start. What could go wrong, would go wrong. Obviously.

Much went wrong. So much went wrong, they had to redo the liner entirely, which meant the first one was taken away and a second one installed last week. EVERYTHING IS FINE NOW, they assured us. LOOK THIS LINER IS PERFECT, NO PROBLEMS, PLEASE DO NOT PUNCH ME IN THE FACE, they said. (The “please do not punch me” part was possibly implied. I never threatened to hit anyone. Not out loud, anyway.) They came while Otto was teaching his summer class and took out the old liner and put the new one in and then scampered out of here as fast as they could, probably because they knew I am a woman on the edge and also Mr. Completely Unflappable was considerably flapped by this entire adventure.

Otto came home; we finished filling up the pool, and then commenced dumping all the chemistry in the world into the water, to the tune of several hundred dollars. (Why do I mention this? The liner itself was a 4-figure job, why split hairs about the cost of the chemistry? BECAUSE I AM BITTER, THAT’S WHY.) When you start from scratch, there’s a bunch of stuff that has to go into the water. The salt for the chlorinating system, plus stabilizers and pH balancers and I don’t even know what. All I know is that we dumped and stirred and then I said to Otto, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we went to turn it on and the filter doesn’t work, after all of this?”

Ahahahahahahaaaaaaa! You thought the filter turned out to be broken, but no, even though I clearly tempted fate, Otto threw the switch and the pool circulation burbled into life and everything was FINE. Hooray! Our long national nightmare was finally over!

Monkey promptly asked if he could go swimming. We pointed out that we’d just dumped a ton of chemicals in the pool and he’d have to wait a couple of days. He made a very sad face, because we are meanieheads.

So this all happened on Friday, and JUST IN TIME, too, because Otto was going out of town for the weekend. I was quite literally still pushing the big pool-broom thing around in the pool, helping the chemicals dissolve, when he left for the airport. “Have a good trip, honey!” I called. “I am SO GLAD we got this all fixed before you had to leave!”

[Insert the foreboding music of your choosing here.]

Ordinarily the way you keep your pool happy is to run the filter on a timer, but when you’ve just dumped in all your starter chemicals, you need to run the filter continuously for a couple of days. So Otto left and the filter ran overnight and when I got up on Saturday I heard a funny noise so I went outside to investigate. The funny noise turned out to be the sort of slurping/sucking noise that the skimmer basket makes when the water level is getting low.

I stood there, staring at the pool, trying to process this information. Because… we’d just FILLED the pool. THE DAY BEFORE. The water level couldn’t be low because if it was low that would have to mean we had a leak somewhere. In our brand new liner. And then I was going to have to throw up, kill people, and die.

I called Otto, who suggested I go check the filter and related mechanics under the deck to see if anything was obviously leaking over there, because maybe it wasn’t the liner at all. Probably it wasn’t the liner; maybe there was a leaky pipe or something. Well. Otto is smart, you know. Turns out that there’s a cap that goes on the outflow spout of the filter, and it was visibly leaking. I figured this out because the entire area under our porch was a swampland, and also because there was a steady drip of water from said cap.

Phew! Not the filter. Apparently the cap comes off for the winter, and Otto said maybe he just hadn’t tightened it down enough when he put it back on. I tested it, and couldn’t tighten it by hand, so I got some pliers out and tightened it, but it was still leaking, so Otto said maybe the cap was cracked and I should take it off and get a good look at it. By now I’d shut the filter down, so I got the cap off and examined it (while all the water ran out of the filter and pooled around my feet, yay), and it looked fine. No cracks.

But then I looked at the spout itself, and that was a definite, “Well THERE’S your problem” moment:

It seems that over the winter, something thirsty came and made a snack of this particular spigot. Om nom nom, tasty plastic. The cap was fine, but because the spout was now all uneven, it wasn’t sealing when screwed on.

Otto suggested I try to buy a washer for the lid, in the hopes that it could sort of seal up the rough edges there, plus I should put some teflon tape on there, too. So off I went to the hardware store, where there was no washer or gasket or anything the size I needed, so I actually buy a small sheet of rubber to MAKE MY OWN GASKET because I could totally handle this and fix it my own damn self. After everything we’ve been through, the pool is going to WORK, because I SAID SO.

So I cut out a circle and put it in the lid and I carefully applied the tape to the spigot and finally I screwed the lid onto the spout and yeah, that didn’t work at all. What I didn’t know at the time was that the chewing was actually worse on the underside, and the threads are all stripped beyond repair. Because OF COURSE THEY ARE. At that point I didn’t know what else to do, so I threw the hose in the pool to at least refill it to the proper level in preparation for someone else smarter than me fixing it.

Otto came home last night and confirmed that yes, it’s completely borked. The difference between him and me, though, is that I would like to burn this house down and start over again (SOMEPLACE WITHOUT A POOL, thanks), but he thinks he can essentially built a larger spout around the one that’s now unsealable, so he’s going to work on that later today. He was under the porch tinkering with the spout and the lid and I was standing there being useless, so I started kind of wandering around, checking my plants, and then I happened to look at the pool, and I did that thing you see in movies where everything kind of slows down and you blink a LOT because what you’re seeing doesn’t make any sense, and you think maybe you are imagining it.

Blink. Blink blink blink. It was dark out, by then, and we had the lights on out back and a couple of flashlights, so maybe it was a trick of the light (or lack thereof). Blink blink.

Nope, not an illusion. The water level in the pool was down again.

We have not been running the filter, because of the aforementioned borked spigot. The water has just been sitting there.

But we’re losing water.

Which means there’s a hole in the brand new liner… somewhere.

I think Otto is coming around to my idea of burning everything down and starting over.


  1. deva

    Oh my goodness. I have no words beyond I am sorry. This sounds like more than a nightmare and like you need a margarita or four.

  2. The Other Leanne

    Yes, gas-can-and-matches-time.

  3. Liz


  4. Amanda

    Holy hell. I mean hilarious (to a complete outsider who doesn’t have to write the checks or deal with the pool guys), but seriously…holy hell.

    I will never ever own a pool. Which is an easy promise to make when you live in Minnesota.

  5. Jen

    Kill it! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!

  6. Brooke

    Be sure it looks like an “accident”. ;) heeheeheehee

  7. Jean

    OMG, I think it is time for both of you to officially go ballistic on the pool company. It is time, they need to fix this and fix it right. Pure and total insanity. Perhaps you should mention the word lawyer a few times.

    I have learned that at some point you kind of need to lose it with people, then they actually fix the problem. I am so so so sorry!!!

  8. Sherri

    Oh no!!! What is wrong with the pool universe and its curse in your area?

  9. Kim

    So much suckage! But better than last year’s suckage. So there’s that.

  10. Sharon

    Honestly, in spite of evidence to the contrary this seems impossible! Why are all the pool gods conspiring against a nice family in Georgia? There is absolutely nothing I can offer to do that would help but I sure wish there was ~

  11. Lisa Kay

    Ho. Lee. Crap.
    This could be made this into a really hilarious movie! I’m thinking Steve Carrell as Otto and Tina Fey as you, because they are a hilarious comedy duo, as evidenced in “Date Night”, and maybe Steve Buschemi as The Head Pool Guy? Oh, this could be a HUGE money maker! Then you’d recap all your Summer of 2013 Pool Investment!
    I’m grabbing my popcorn and waiting for the next installment of As the Pool Leaks!

    • Mandy

      Tina Fey as Mir: awesome!

  12. Lynda M O

    I’m putting the Firestarter materiels in the trunk of my car and starting out for GA in the morning. I need a good fire once or twice a lifetime and hey, if we get all the pictures and valuables out first no one need know we did it on purpose. right ?~!

    Un believable to the nth degree.

  13. RuthWells

    There is only one solution that I can see. Come to Philadelphia and eat lots of chocolate and drink lots of wine.

  14. Beth

    A truckload of nice topsoil and another of plants and…voila…mega veggie garden?? You could recoup your pool repair investment plus the dirt and plant investment in, oh…three or four lifetimes, probably.

  15. Rachel

    Well, at least the hole in the ground (where the pool is) is big enough to bury a few bodies in when you fill the pool with dirt… No one will ever connect missing pool repair guys with a homeowner that just used their services, and then mysteriously decided to fill in her pool, right?

  16. Tanis Miller

    You have now terrified me of going near our pool. And I’m about a week away from having it filled.

    I think I’ll wait until Bruce gets home. In three weeks.


  17. Brenda

    Ridiculous. That’s the only thing I can say. Because wow.

  18. Brigitte

    I’m sure there are people up north with plenty of contractor problems, but I’m really starting to wonder about the ones in Georgia!

  19. Michele

    Well, crapapalooza in a bucket! The suckage is astounding, but I must say, it makes me very, very happy I don’t own a pool. Not only that, but it makes me want to set fire to the unused spa (seven years unused) sitting in the backyard in a fit of solidarity. Sounds like a job for denial and pixie dust.

  20. Shannon

    OMG! I don’t know how you’re even remaining sane. I’d have lost it by now! As an adult, I’ve never owned a pool because of all the problems we had at the one at my parent’s growing up. I think pools are like boats. The only days you really love them are the day you buy them and the day you get rid of them.

  21. Lucinda

    Wow. Just wow.

  22. Chris

    Wow. I like the movie idea because it seems to unbelievable to be true. You are making us non-pool owners feel better if that is any consolation.

  23. Mary K. in Rockport

    I just can’t believe it.

  24. meghann @ midgetinvasion

    . . .and people thought I was crazy when I was so adamant about buying a house that did not have a pool. I grew up in a house with a pool, so I knew. My mom ended up just filling the dang thing in.

  25. Leila

    The only problem with this plan, is that you’ve told the Internet, which means you can no longer claim it was an accident and get the insurance to pay out…

    Otherwise, I’d say it was time to start house-shopping for homes without pools.

  26. Kim

    2014! 2014! 2014!

  27. Aimee

    You know, I used to think I wanted a pool some day. Now, not so much. Sorry :(

  28. Wendy

    My daughter and son-in-law are house hunting and I got to go with them last night. The last house we looked at had a pool with a liner and you immediately came to mind. Of course, with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, my daughter doesn’t WANT a pool, but here in So. Cal., it’s sometimes hard to avoid them!

  29. Tracy B

    And ALL of this is why I don’t have a pool…but I want one….but then I don’t. The more I read about yours, I don’t….but in a few weeks when it’s 100 degrees, I will. I just can’t make up my mind.

  30. Jan

    How do you feel about a small skateboard park in your back yard?

  31. Jeanie

    Oh, no! I’m so sorry. Sounds like something that would happen to me.

  32. Jessica (the celt)

    I hate to say it, Mir, but…you have my luck. *cringes* I keep wondering what I did in a past life to deserve the jinx-like life I’ve lived this time around.

    FYI, now that I’ve said that, our bathroom is going to flood, the neighbors are all going to throw blowout parties (we live in an apartment), the balcony/deck thing is going to fall off, and all of our computers are going to catch on fire.

  33. Liza

    I am so sorry, my friend.

    And, thank you for convincing me never, ever, ever, to buy a house with a pool.

  34. mamaspeak

    I believe you are due reimbursement for 2nd round of water & pool chemicals. Just saying….

  35. s

    I would totally watch a Casa Mir show on HGTV or DIY….would be entertaining and perhaps give you a few dollars in royalties to stop the leakage ..pun intended.

  36. Arnebya

    If it weren’t for that pesky thing of insurance and its not paying when one burns one’s own house down, also jail, I’d be so with you.

  37. Amy-Go

    Time to go medieval on the pool company. All that stored-up frustration, worry, distress and bitterness from the past year? Finally has a purpose. Aim it at the pool people and let ‘er rip!

  38. Sandra

    At this point I’d be writing a unfavorable yelp review and writing a complaint to the BBB on the pool company. This is ridiculous. And yes, I agree with the woman who said mention the word Lawyer. You might want to send an email to the owner documenting everything that has happened up to this point.

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