Friday, February 17, 2012

The Hole: A Pond Story-Part One

I need to get the blog caught up with all the events of last fall.  The Hole excerpts were originally shared with a group of friends in a private forum.  Why private?  When at the mercy of contractors, you don't want to be posting stuff like this publicly!  Edited to remove an obscenity or two or six.  

First a before picture!  This is the whole area before we ripped out the rotten fence and expanded it out and put in the new patio.  It was...bad.  I especially miss the chairs along the fence to try and stop the Belgium from running a trench.  The pond was to be the final step of this fix.

Originally shared Sept 12, 2011 in private with friends that resisted the urge to commit me.  Kujos to them!
Once upon a time a demented woman decided a pond would be cool.  After doing much research, she decided she was ready to go.  Not wanting to move a semi full of dirt herself, she began to research pond workers.  She soon discovered that Chicago's 12% unemployment rate is not compromised of a single pond worker.  Pond workers don't want jobs unless they cost 30K+.

The woman was not so demented that she was going to spend 30K, 20K, 10K or even 5K on a hole in the ground lined with plastic where she is doing all the plumbing, hiring her own electrical and doing all the waterfall and landscaping.  Ah ha, she said, I'll do it myself!  Yeah, still kind of demented.  <--and rather stupido to boot!

Step one:  Dig a trench for a concrete collar.  Crazy accomplished this after approximately 18 hours of digging.  Of course it isn't quite done.  Crazy's dog keeps trench hopping and missing and damaging trench sides, and then there is the concrete fence posts to contend with.  Crazy discovered not one but two solid concrete buried old fence posts that fell smack center in the collar that now have to be removed.  That should take a few days. 

Step Two:  Line trench with bender board forms and put in 3/8" rebar.  After two days and a lot of driving, looking for bender board, I decided to table this and go to step three.

Step three:  Find someone to dump concrete in the trench.  FAIL.  No one wants the job for less than 2K.  "Lady it costs me 2K just to drive off the lot."  Crazy decides she is not paying fricken 2K to have someone hold a concrete hose for an hour.  Crazy decides to do this herself.  This means lifting either 92.7 80 pound bags into a concrete mixer, mixing  it with water and then loading it in a wheelbarrow to dump in a trench OR doing the same with 183 40 pound bags.  Crazy decided mental preparation was needed for this step.  So she proceeded to step four.

 Step 4:  Dig hole for skimmer.  How hard could it be, it is a hole that is only about 32 inches wide and 30 inches deep.  It took crazy nine hours to get close.  Hauling dirt out of the bottom of a hole like that rather sucks when your back hurts and your arms seem to have shrunk.  The realization that you have to go even deeper to accommodate the plumbing that some (content removed) sadist decided went on the bottom?  Well that makes one skoot right on over to step five. 

Step five:  Shop for pond (content removed) stuff.  How hard can it be?  Online clicking and then check delivery.  The click click went fine.  Accomplished after much research and gotten for a song.  The delivery however...  Turns out the postal service is freaked to deliver to crazy people's houses.  This was determined after observing the condition of the skimmer box, which seems to have been dropped from a low flying plane on to the porch.  All sides were ripped and/or crushed and the bottom was completely open.  This would not have been major, since skimmers are hardy.  Unfortunately all small pond components got packed in the skimmer box.  The result?  Step five was completed after the photographing of the sixteen different components of the box from multiple angles to show damage and document missing items, then shrinking said photos and emailing.

End chapter one.

Stay tune for chapter two when I might actually get to dig again.  Unless I am in jail for murdering the patio guys that showed up today unannounced to fix a low spot in the new patio and proceeded to rip out the wrong blocks.

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