Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's a Good Thing I'm Cute

So lately I've been obsessed with my backyard. Specifically my one corner where I put the kids' pool. Over the last several weekends I've been slogging away in the backyard trying to make it a little more functional, and a little more aesthetically pleasing to stare at whist I'm barbecuing.

Here, in all its glory, minus some grass seed (going down this weekend after the heat wave) is what I ended up with:

Ta da!
Click to enlarge.
















So, a brief explanation before I get to the reason for sharing this post. The pool sits where a shed used to sit (I moved it to the corner by the house & out of the way to free up backyard, but leaving behind a dirt pile). So I cut out a bit more, dropped a retaining wall down and a tarp and some anti-slip mats. Tossed some rock in the back (not pretty, just rocks) with a couple urns with tall grass in them (hard to see, but they're there). Put a small bush/tree thing and some wood chips beside the rocks (also hard to see the bush/tree) then some peas, some pumpkins, some peas, more wood chips and another one of those bush/tree things (I dig rectangles and symmetry). Add a box for toys, the pool, the pump, and voila! Oh yes, can't forget the GIANT tennis ball. Water logged 6 year old optional.

The pool is an 8 foot round, self inflating thingamabob. It comes with this shitty pump and some chemicals to keep it from getting algae and some chlorine to keep it from infecting the kids with bacteria or something. It holds 2300L of high quality H20 and takes a bugger of a long time to fill up - at least in the kids' minds it did.

That black contraption on the fence just by the skimmer? Oh yes, that's my "heater". We affectionately refer to it as "the contraption". It's a black garden hose with some plumbing parts chemically bonded to each end so they fit into the hose for the pool. I used "The fucking strongest adhesive we sell. Don't get it on your hands". This is precisely what the 15 year old at Rona said to me when I asked him for "Something like caulking that I can get wet that holds like a sonofabitch".

The water is supposed to snake its way through the black hose cable tied to a lattice piece also painted black, get heated by the sun, and output to the pool. A couple problems with this setup were clear from the first minute:

  1. The pump was screaming like its ass was on fire
  2. The water was not moving very quickly through anything and the pool was getting stagnant
  3. The filter in the pump works better if the water is moving through it at its designed speed
After a couple weeks what I appeared to have was a not-so-awesome looking 2300L of brownish water that was a fraction of a degree warmer than without the contraption. Plus, I'm not exactly sure the contraption's super caulking wasn't slowly leaking chemicals into the pool.

So, tonight I lay the contraption to rest and decided to check the water quality with the strips they give you. A bit too much chlorine (overcompensation is the likely culprit) and a little alkaline. Easy fix. Add more anti-algae stuff (couldn't hurt, right?), lay off the chlorine for a bit, and add more water. Wait a couple days and see what happens.

I put the hose in the pool and turn on the water. I had a few inches of wiggle room before I hit the "do not fill past this line" line. I left the hose to do its thing and went upstairs to read my daughter her book.

Lo and behold, I completely forgot about it.

When I did finally remember what I had done I ran outside and the pool was about to crest. Quite the meniscus on the damn thing even. It was awesome. I didn't take a picture, but I should have. It was a freaking thing of beauty. Could't help but think, "now what?"

Well, I'll tell you what. I decided to drain some water. There had to be a reason to not go beyond the "do not fill past this line" line. I then had a flash of brilliance. I would use one of the hoses from the pump to drain some water. Not wanting water to pour out of the spot where the hose used to be connected I did what any backyard level genius would do: I lifted the pump up above the water level. I was totally using science! [mumble] years of university have never felt so worth it.

So far so good.

Only, I needed another set of hands and my wife would most certainly not come out and help me. She already was ticked I forgot about leaving the hose on. So I did what any backyard level moron would do. I put the pump down.

On the edge of the pool.

Not so gently.

Well wouldn't you know it, the top of the pool caved quicker than it took me to yell out an expletive and a complete shit-ton of water poured out of the pool at breakneck speed (assuming the neck being broken was some sort of small rodent or large insect).

The mats were swept away. The "decorative" rocks that were holding the basketball net in place were washed halfway down my lawn, and was briefly standing in several inches of water, as the pool continued to pour out a steady stream beside me.

It took way longer than it should have to un-collapse the side of the pool, but when I did I took a look and the water was just slightly below the "do not fill past this line" line.

Genius.


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