Novels - Short Stories - Journals

NEW POOL BUILD - **In progress**

Some background. Not much though. I get to it quickly.

July 2018 – Moved into new house

Had to tell POA that we were planning on building a pool so they would let me cut large trees from being close to the house. We are one of the few in the neighborhood that left most of our land untouched. Original forest, underbrush and all. I just don’t want large trees close to the house to minimize debris on the house including leaves, branches and TREES. We get enough wind that it’s a pain in the you know what to have to clean my roof all the time. The tree removal restriction rule in my POA has since been removed so I can take trees down that cast too much shadow on the pool but still have a lot of natural environment around us for privacy with so much youpon. Youpon is an evergreen that can grow fairly thick though we will need a fence anyway.

Here we go--

October 2020 – Researching what we want in a pool. Lots of pictures on internet. Watching videos and reviewing websites. Picking what we want with no budget and will downgrade from there.

Wants as of today.

No deep end

Sun deck/beach entry

Built in hot tub

Stools in pool at bar (pool edge)

Back of pool is bar table width, above ground so chairs outside pool can be set at bar level

Steps around each side of pool

November 2020 – Decided it is more cost effective to refinance house and save $350 per month before financing a pool.

March 2021

For years we have been researching like and dislikes about pools we use. Speaking with friends and asking about pool companies. Because I don’t want to be buried in debt, I wanted a large part of the cost to be in cash because we’ll being paying monthly on a loan PLUS monthly on the service. I’m leaving the pool maintenance to the experts. We have now saved what we think will be 25% in cash for the pool.

I have several wants and needs. Need a medium to large pool. Need a hot tub. Need an in-ground pool. Want a small water feature to drown out sound that comes outside of paradise, like other people’s music, chainsaws, barking dogs and airplanes. Want stools in the pool next to a small retaining wall where chairs can be placed for people that don’t want to be in the pool but do want to sit near it and share a table with the in-pool guests. Does that make sense?

I know what I don't want. No vinyl. Tears too easily No above ground pool. I worry about breaks and in my yard a person would need to climb a ladder and there would be no decking. No vegetation next to pool. I don’t want to spend time cleaning mulch from my pool because squirrels were playing in the plant beds or a neighborhood stray cat decided to cover his poo. Ant too close to the pool. Leaves. Nope. I’ll have enough of that from the large oaks and pine on my property.

I know what I want. What does my wife want and how much will what we agree on cost?

March 15

Looked A LOT of YouTube videos and created a playlist

March 16

Watched YouTube playlist with wife

March 17

Walked the yard discussing how and where we would install the fence. Where would it be privacy. Where would it be. Leaning to fencing the pool with wrought iron and adding a privacy fence down the sides of the yard which will also contain the dogs. We have a small side yard that gates the dogs but would like them in the pool area when we are not worry about them running after the birds , ducks, squirrels and the annoying neighbor’s beagle that runs loose and barks like he’s a big boy.

March 18

Researched pool companies. This is going to be a long process.

March 19

Decided find a cleaning service and see what they charge for salt vs chlorine, fiberglass vs gunite, do they include chemicals in base price. Lots of questions.

Just an aside… I'm still not over the price. Not that pool builders are ripping people off, just that it is much more than my car payment which I see as an investment to get to work. The pool we need to consider the loss to our future needs. We plan to be in our house for at least 10 more years and more likely 15. We will be 65 then. If we have grandkids around a lot then the pool and house get a lot more use than what we expect to be just the 2 of us in a four bedroom house. If we should downsize then, which at this writing I expect to do, was the pool worth 15 years of maintenance and repairs. Was it always affordable and was it used and appreciated enough to offset the expense that we won't take in to retirement. When I doubt spending money it is usually a good thing. It's not like land that I can resale if i lose my job. If I buy at pool, I need to pay for it and pay to maintain it.

Now I come across different surfaces to choose from. This is not so easy to decide either. I’m sure price will be a factor when it comes down to it, but we have also agreed to pay

March 20

I can tell my wife is leaning toward chlorine and kidney shaped pool. She likes the hot tub with the small waterfall. I’d like to know if it’s easy to convert from salt to chlorine in case we don’t like it.

March 21

Listening to a Podcast called The Pool Guy Podcast Show by David Van Brunt. Sifting the episodes related to researching pools. Many are about how to run a pool business, but this is the best podcast I have found regarding pool options, care and cost. Mr. Brunt owns a salt pool and said he likes it but it’s the same amount of money to maintain as a chlorine pool but less time spent maintaining… I don’t plan to take care of the pool myself so… don’t know. I want to ask a pool dealer. I should have started making calls but want a little more of an idea of what I want before I have anyone over.

Sunday afternoon in my neighborhood – the neighbor dog is loose and barking for hours. The owner doesn’t care what we think, and the county doesn’t seem too either. POA will hear from me next. Motorcycles racing up and down a street nearby. A vehicle blasting a genre of music I don’t care for and driving all around the neighborhood.  Do I hear a rooster? This is all in the front of the house. Sometimes I have that same music coming from the back of the house. This neighborhood is mostly upper middle class to wealthy with a few lower class that have large homes and several families living together to afford it. Do I want to spend 10’s of thousands on a pool? Having second thoughts but I love our home and we have invested a lot into it.

March 23

Spoke to our new neighbors today. The company he works for builds pools. We’ll call him Pool builder 4. I don’t know how many they build but they also clear trees and do really anything. Also, the owners of the company live in the neighborhood. It would be a lot better to have them do all the work than negotiate individually with a pool builder, tree remover/trimmer, landscaper, patio builder, outdoor shower builder. I bet they do gutters too, but I want the seamless gutters.

March 27

Visiting friends in San Antonio and learned they have a saltwater pool and really like it. I see that they have what looks like salt where their sauna water falls to the pool. Probably easy clean up. Said it has no been difficult to take care of themselves, but they have had to buy a new salt cell about every 2 years. Still, they say it’s worth having salt.

March 28

Our daughter announced she is pregnant. Not for anyone else to know until she goes to the doctor, but this makes us want to get the pool even more.

April 5

Narrowed down to three builders I will contact first.

Pool builder 1 – Online form. Not sure it is going through. The website hanging or it’s my connection. I was able to submit for the pricing guide. They have a pool building design tools on their site. Much more info than other sites.

This is the only company has pictures of their pools and the prices.

I heard of them from The Pool Podcast Guy. The owner had a four-part interview and he seemed very knowledgeable and said some things I say like, do I want to look at my pool and wish I would have added a feature? No. Then buy the feature.

April 6

Been 24 hours without a call from Pool builder 1. Going to call Pool builder 2.

Just used Pool builder 2 online contact form to request a consult.

Was considering Blue Science but old employees are saying bad things on Glassdoor.

April 9

Pool Builder 2 contacted me yesterday to set up an appointment for April 19. Well, that date reminds me of Waco and Oklahoma City tragedies. I hope this isn’t a sign. The man seemed genuinely nice though.

Still no call from Pool Builder 1 even after leaving a voicemail. I’m not liking the response time.

Just filled out a form with Pool Builder 3. Every time I’m about to contact a builder with amazing pictures, I see they are national and have horror stories on consumer reports or Yelp. I’d much rather use a local person. A small company with experience.

We need to have several trees removed. One large oak is dead. Two are just in a bad place and too much shade over the pool area. Two pines are close to the house that the POA didn’t let us remove but since the rules changed, we are going to remove now. They are over the pool and will have squirrels (tree rats) tearing up pinecones over the pool and many pine needles as well.

Julie is in agreement with a lot of what I would like to do. Mainly she is worried about money. My philosophy is ask for what we want then let the pool company tell us what is doable in our budget. Fact is we don’t have a budget. Depending on what we put down, we’ll need to pay the balance in a pool loan. We’ll use a pool maintenance person for the first year I suspect. I want to learn to do it myself to save some money.

Pool Builder 3 called me back in under two hours and will meet on April 16.

April 12

I’ve been narrowing down the pictures to use as examples and drew the dimensions out on an Excel spreadsheet with the pictures pasted in to act as visual aids. It may be a little overboard, but I have marked the electric and sprinkler lines too. I also found my plat survey that Pool Builder 2 asked for. I’m sure Pool Builder 3 will want them too, so I need to make copies. I’m looking for another pool company to call.

April 15

I have a contractor out for a bid to cut some trees that are either dying, dead or a bad idea to have over the pool. (This happens to be pool builder 4) I mentioned why we are taking trees out and he said he builds pools. I knew he did of course, but only one that I know of. He said he has built 40 or 50. Well, okay, what do we do from here. He can be my 3rd bid since builder 1 never contacted me. I told him I want salt water and he said people are going back to chlorine. I don’t want chlorine why would people want chlorine I asked and he said it’s just a personal choice. I talked to him a little about what I want to do with a pool and the landscaping and he said he can do it all. I knew they could. He finds the subs to do the work. He said he will have his guy come out and talk with me about what I want and they will get a 3-D drawing together.

April 16

11:00 AM – Pool Builder 3 is not here

11:00 AM – Pool Builder 3 is not here. I call their office and the lady calls right back that he was on a dig and lost track of time. He will be right there.

12:00 PM – Salesman from Pool Builder 3 arrives. He is very nice and seems knowledgeable. Defers to his dad some about the engineering. He has suggestions and immediately lets me know when I’m raising the price a lot. A lot is included and some things either don’t cost to add or they are minimal, like steps are nothing to add. Showed me a pool design recently of a sloped yard similar to what we are asking. He took his measurements and my email and said he’d contact me in a6:00 AM – My back hurts bout a week and a half (26th?).

Standard freeform pool from them now is a $54900
Width/Length - 17x33 water to water
Depth – 3.5 – 6
Spa included (pool heater)
400 Sq ft of decking
Color LED’s

He handed me a packet of literature including Saltwater info, variable speed pump, wifi controls, color led package. I’m not liking the price right now, but at least it’s coming with the bells and whistles. I knew landscaping would be extra.

April 17 – Anxious

6::45 AM – I’m anxious to have the next pool company here so I can compare their prices and standard equipment offer. The company I’ll speak with Monday has more years in business, also has a good reputation and builds pools in my community. Any pool company has a negative review, but I’m finding very few with the next company.

April 19

The next pool salesman came. He is with Pool Builder 2. Seem like a very nice man except he had habit of not letting me tell him what I want. The person from Pool Builder 3 stayed quiet until I asked him a question. He gave me a short answer and I moved on. This person stopped me immediately and went on and on about how I shouldn’t this or that and how many years he has been doing this and when I clarified what he was suggesting, he would tell me it’s personal preference. So okay, fine, so I can do this, but you don’t recommend and it’s personal preference. Alright, he has some valid reasons. On to the next two feet of perimeter of the pool and he stops me again about the issue with that. Then we talk for several minutes about his family and his business and blah blah blah. Building report perhaps? I say a few times, “Okay, so back to the pool…” and I get a few words out of my mouth and he has another exception. I’m getting this feeling he build so many pools because the talks the customer in to the easiest, fastest design for him so this crew can spend as least time as possible at the job sight before moving on to the next. Mind you, this company has the highest ratings. I don’t doubt they do good work. I just think they are catering to people that want the basics. I want something functional for an adult pool part. I want a small bar and some stools that face the television. He’s telling me we should put the stools in the shallow end but he can put them in the deep end. If you are going to push, personal preference, don’t tell me I should put the stools in the shallow end. My wife asks for a bench at a certain part of the pool and that is $400 extra. The first guy told us benches come with the cost of the pool. Add as many as you like. Stools of course are more. He second guy tells good info about the bar stools and how they prevent the vacuum from tangling in the stools. But this seems like common knowledge. Also, the second guy wants to put 3 to 4 foot steps leading down to the pool. I told him I want to take advantage of the slope to have the bar at the pool. It’s just a two foot bar. The first guy says I’ll see if I can work that out and explains that wen the pool is above the ground like that it can get expensive. This second guy does tell me the same thing but is forgetting I asked because these steps the is talking about take up the slope. And I ask where are people going to put a lounge chair if not where he wants the steps. He says I’ll need eight feet. Okay so I’m back to not having steps there. Fill it in with the dirt from the pool to level it out have short steps around the spa and other side of the pool leading from the outdoor shower. He looks puzzled. Then we had this whole where to put the spa conversation. I said want it so we can watch tv on the patio. He puts it on the other side of he pool so we can see the spillway. He touts that his company will pay for 50ft of the plumbing and gas line to the spa where other companies pay 35ft. Well, at his $10 a foot and the first guys $6 per foot the charge is going to be about… zero. So who cares. Even if it was 10 feet It’s only $100 dollars. We’re talking about a $50,000 pool! That is less that 1% of the cost.

I may have been visibly frustrated so I’m glad I was able to break away to get my daughter from the bus stop. I come back and he and my wife are talking and he says, “What do you think?” as if I didn’t just step away for a few minutes. I say, “I don’t know what you have been discussing.” I look to my wife and say, “What do you want to do? Where do you want the hot tub?” She is as confused now as I am. I do explain the price to move the spa is irrelevant. Where do we want it is all that matters. My wife says she has a hard time visualizing things and do they make a 3d design (like most companies do). He does not. His partner does but he does like ten pools a year. He visits 300 homes and does about 30 pools a years so he is really busy. Especially since Covid. Okay, so we’re not getting to really tell you what I want without you telling me we should do the deign you probably have on your computer already for a home you did just like this so you can do the least amount of work AND you only have a 2d design because your partner does that and you don’t have time to learn the program. Get your !@#$%^& to do the design. By him lunch. Send your 2D PDF’s to someone in India and have them back the next day. You have been in business 36 years for crying out loud. Evolve. I explain later that this bothers me that may not be using the latest tech in pools.

When I said I wanted to have a saltwater pool he said it’s actually chlorine but blah blah blah. I know and I get irritated that anyone not wanting to supply a saltwater system informs you it’s actually chlorine. He has a thirteen point waiver we will need to sign because of all the destruction salt does to furniture, patio, equipment etc. He’ll be glad to do it because he makes more money on a saltwater pool but he doesn’t want to get sued because the salt ruined everything. Oh lord. It’s not just that he is telling us there are 13 reasons why, but the way he delivers this message like I’m going to have so much regrets. He does tell me way salt is not as necessary anymore if you don’t want a lot of chlorine because they install a UV light and something else that is part of their 3 part system to keep the chlorine low. And part of this three part system is adding SALT?!

So, a refresher, a saltwater pool is in fact salt water that generates chlroine. The salt goes through a chloring generator that then pumps the now chlorinated water into the pool which now makes it a very low salt, low chlorination pool. Yes, the parts need to be cleaned, but there are indicators for this and same as any pool, you check the levels for chemicals and adjust. What it comes down to is there is a couple thousand more to start your pool and a couple thousand every few years on the salt generator replacement. Longer if you can keep it clean. Less maintenance on a salt pool, no keeping chlorine and all those other chemicals around all the time. I still have not asked around to see if a salt pool or chlorinated pool is cheaper for a pool service or if it matters at all to them.

So now I am questioning saltwater pool and my wife is leaning away from it. But I think mostly for her is she doesn’t mind a chlorinated pool but I don’t think she has swam in a salt pool.

April 23 – Waiting for Pool builder 1 and Pool builder 2 to get back to me and pool builder 3 next week sometime.

April 24 – Talked to someone that said he has friends that regretted getting saltwater pool

The is concerning but it’s not like I decided to build yet. He said it wasn’t the saltwater that was the regret, it was that they bought a pool. Said when the kids grew up and moved out they don’t use the pool much but they need to keep up on the maintenance. I don’t see that being a problem for me and Julie even when our daughter moves out. If the kids stay near us, we’ll have grandkids. I will use the pool for exercise. Having a spa will be a bonus. The only thing with that is salt water stops generating at 60 degrees, so we may be forced to run the heater more than we planned. It doesn’t stay cold long here in Texas, but I want to get the most out of my pool, too. Chlorine, I’m told, doesn’t matter what temperature it is because it’s already in the pool.

May 6

Have not heard from Pool builder 2 or 3. Pool builder 4 has said he was coming out to take my trees down this week and talk about other jobs I want done around the house but I have not heard from him. Has me a little concerned. I’m giving him some leeway because I put it off on him too long and he got another job. But he said he would be out this week. There is always tomorrow (Friday).

May 17

Still no word from the pool builders except builder #4. I suppose I scared them into trying something challenging. If pool builder 4 is a bit pricey then I’ll check up on the others. When I was talking to the tree guy (pool builder #4) he brought it up again and said he’ll put me in touch with his pool guy this week. There is a lot of rain all week though so we’ll see. He told me they have dug a hole for a pool in the neighborhood and I can come take a look at the process. This is good because both my wife and I are a little leery of them not advertising as a pool building company. Then I’m looking on next door and another company name is mentioned by a guy he partners with. They build homes. I went to their website and there are several pools being advertised as ones they have completed. Now we’re feeling better again. We are going to take him up on his offer to look at the hole in the ground and hopefully see the property owner while I’m there. It always comes down to trust first and money second.

June 3

This process is taking a while. Not sure how I feel about pool builder two and three not calling me back. There is a severe gunite shortage so maybe they are not able to take on more clients, but anyway, pool builder 4 is a good start. This is the tree remover that has a “pool guy”. I’m no longer worried on weather he is a capable of doing the job.

There has been a lot of rain here and for a month not a lot of work is being done. The ground is saturated and minor flooding a lot. This builder even has a pool hole dug in the neighborhood that they need to redo because we keep getting these sudden downpours. It’s been miserable.

Pool builder 4 came out after a week of rain and let us tell him our ideas and he also let us know in a nice way what would be the challenges and cost runups. He does have a 3D program to give us an idea what it will look like. He asked if I was going with salt. I said no and his reaction looked a little like relief so I don’t know. Our friend said she has no problems with damages and all the things some people are saying.

He lives in the neighborhood so went home and messaged me to come over and take a look at his pool. I saw some things he did that I really like and one thing I forgot which is I want my patio posts wrapped and capped like a small table for drinks. He told me to start texting him pictures of things I would like in a pool.

June 4

I sent him a few pictures this morning. He responded a minute later with a work in progress picture and It looks really nice. You can tell in the picture it wasn’t some stock mockup of something he has had laying around just to send me so he can say he is already working on it. I didn’t expect him to be working on it already but probably all the rain is helping me because today is another day construction workers cannot work outside.

Cost: oh boy. This is of course the one thing that grinds me. Inflation and sourcing is an issue. Gunite, wood, rebar, etc. all up considerably in 2021. Prices go up with scarcity, so here we are again when I thankfully have a good job, but things are getting expensive so I’m hesitant to spend money hoping prices come down. But you know what doesn’t come down? Ever? Time. So we are going to do what we can to make this happen.

I’m looking at pool loans and there are not a lot of choices that run the payback period out far enough where it’s not ridiculous each month. I really don’t see the justification of paying $800 per month for a pool for 10 years. I do want to get rid of some cash we have because inflation stealing our cash right now so we are going to run that down a bit to keep the loan cost down. We have very good credit so hoping to keep the interest rate under 6%. Seems high because interest rates are so low right now, but this is a vanity loan as I call them and there is a price to pay for that.

I need to download the footage from June 3 because I would like to get a timelapse of the pool build and to put even us figuring it out would be nice because no one does that.

June 6

Our pool builder texted that he had two more renderings of pool designs and asked to see us this week. We are leaving town on Thursday so we agreed on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30PM

June 9

Our pool builder called and asked for another hour because he was working on a pool pour in our neighborhood that he had invited us to see. This is the one delayed by all the rain. He came at 6PM. We hooked up the computer to the TV and he showed us three designs. They all would have worked but there were two we liked better and closer to our original design. We are now sold on the tanning ledge with bubblers. Thinking of kids and hearing the tanning ledge is nice for sitting in the water on a chair. Also keeping the spa on the opposite side of the pool will keep the kids separate from the adults when wanted. He showed us how it might look at night. Really more of a space layout session and some perks to help him price it out. Now our task is to pick the plaster and some other items that will make it expensive or reasonable or cheap.

We are going to let him know which one to price in a few days after thinking on it some more.

June 18

Back from a vacation and let the builder know we are ready to meet and talk about numbers. He suggested Monday at 4:30.

June 21

Again with the rain. He called at 3:30 and asked if we can meet tomorrow. We have had rain so much this year it’s depressing. So we will try again tomorrow.

June 22

The pool builder came over. My wife had to go to work after he was two minutes into his pitch. The price quoted was not a shock only because we have heard recently how expensive the pool prices are at this time. Instead of telling myself we can’t afford a pool, I am justifying the expense and the risk. I don’t feel good about myself for that.

I do see that we can pay for the pool, but we will need to manage our finances closely. For the past few years we have just spent money, unlike when we were younger and we knew where every penny went and who was spending on what and why. I expect we would stay home more. We already talked about taking less vacations and shorter vacations. Maybe some staycations. So, it really comes down to if we want to make things a little tight and spend a lot of our cash (which I have no problem due to the high inflation at this time). There are a few minor upgrades I want. Pipe size, rebar size. I want to be comfortable the pool will last long after I’m gone and the pump won’t need to be changed too often. Another consideration is we should get gutters around the house and definitely along the back so water doesn’t run toward the pool. I don’t want to give exact dollar numbers out because they won’t mean anything in a few years. I can tell you the two companies I interviewed before this one told me their minimum and it was 20% higher than a few years prior. Now, the pool I’m being quoted on is not the minimum pool, so I have no way to compare. They are all different. However, in the last six months, many items are up between 5 and 20 percent. So there is an additional cost in the last few months. The Fed said interest rates are going to stay at zero through the year, so the economy is going to keep going and inflation with it. I think the time to do this is now and if we don’t we just won’t be able to afford it in a few years.

Our daughter is having a baby. We have a barely teen daughter. Our family and friends would love to have a pool when they come over and we will have a spa, so it won’t be a few months a year it’s being used. Plus, I like to take a super cold dip in the water every once in a while. No promises.

Today is Wednesday. I hope that Thursday we can decide what we want to do. Need to sell my wife on the financing and give her a chance to talk me out of it. Then I’ll put in for the loan and see if that doesn’t change our minds. Monthly payment might be the same as both our cars combined.

I just noticed at the beginning of the journal my “wants”. They sure did change. I went from wants to the same items being don’t want to want again.

This pool design has:

No deep end. It will be four feet on the ends and about 5.5 in the middle.
It is a freeform pool. I like this for the wooded area we live.
14 foot sun deck with 2 bubblers. It will be 6 inch below water level. Will have an umbrella hole
Umbrella hole in the fireplace/sitting area
Umbrella hole near hot tub and where ever we want them really.
Total pool length is 38 x 16.5 so without the sun deck it’s 24 x 16
Built in Spa with waterfall
All cool decking including current patio area plus 800 sq ft of decking around pool.
Four holes for stools in the water. These are removable so the Polaris doesn’t get tangled.
Fire place area
Bench running entire back side of pool
May have steps on each side but could be a ground slope as we are making the pool level with the house and not steps down to the pool but rather steps away from the pool. The dirt from the excavation can be used to do this and will save on dumping fees. No retaining wall needed because there will be a lot of dirt so the slope is gradual.

I will be time lapsing the build. Builder was interested in this.

June 24

I’ve been crunching numbers all day. I need to keep my payment under $600 per month because I plan on a $100 per month maintenance/heat/water increase at least. I don’t want to be working for my pool. Or take an extra job for a pool. I looked at a few pool lenders and I found one I like. I’ll apply tomorrow after speaking to my wife about the terms.

June 25

Well, this has been harder than I thought. I need the monthly payment under $600 which will draw the loan out several years. The interest rate is not great so the interest after the loan is paid makes our pool about 80% more than the quoted cost. I plan to pay more each month and pay it off early, but I don’t want to have the obligation of a high monthly payment should our work situation change or any surprises we may have.

My wife is seeing the total cost and it’s turning her off. As an alternative to having low interest, I’m seeing the monthly payment and it’s turning me off.

We wrestled with this all Thursday and Friday. Finally, we agreed to be sure to pay extra incomed earned to the pool since this will be our highest interest loan. Compromise. I send in the application and the agent tries to reach me late Friday. I leave him a voicemail.

June 25

Telephone tag with the agent. Finally, he catches me while mowing the lawn. He has options. First, he wants to know if my wife or I are military. No. He asks if any family members are military. My wife’s brothers and father is military. This is good, he says because our credit is so good that we can get the lowest interest. Great! The loan is for 9 years. So the payment makes it impossible for me to accept. What else do you have that keeps the payment under $600?

He has a few options and I still want the lowest payment terms. There are no penalties for paying early. Early payments are applied to the principle. Why not drag this out as far as possible and pay more when we can? I tell him I’ll think about the options. One includes a payment slightly over $600 but lower interest and shorter loan time. He has not heard of our pool builder so he will need to vet them. Fine.

Again, my wife wavers on the cost of the interest. We talk about benefits. I’m trying not to talk her into it, but I’m not worried about it. We’ll have a pool and spa in our back yard that will get heavy usage for the next 20 years. She agrees to the 20 year loan. Yay!

June 26

This morning would have been a good morning to jump in the pool. It’s hot. It’s humid.

June 27

Sunday evening I reply to the loan agent that we want to move forward with the loan. I message my builder and let him know we are going to give it one more day to think about but he should expect to register with the loan company as they don’t have him on file. (Actually we are going forward)


The builder responds that is great and want to know who it is so he can start the process hopefully on the website.

Things are looking good. We are excited. We are picturing our new pool and reminding ourselves that until the financing is secure, we are not getting a new pool. But he already told us Saturday that we qualify.

June 28

The loan agent starts processing the loan and asks for my builder’s information. I provide this and wait.

A few hours later the agent calls and asks if I’ve been looking for loans elsewhere. That’s not good. I tell him I have not. He says the loan isn’t the problem. The problem is the builder is not a pool company. I respond they have built several pools but it’s not their only business. It’s not his decision. No point arguing but he thanked me for the details I gave him. He tried the military discount, 9 year option again. Again, too high a payment. He suggested I try a cash out loan from my bank if I have equity in my home. I have lots of equity in my home and my bank is not doing equity loans because of the market situation. This happened to me years ago when I have extra cash but not enough or a big investment. I couldn’t get a land loan. Now I can ‘t get a pool loan. Same situation. Ability to pay a monthly amount but the banks do have the ability to give a loan?

So I move on.

I tried three major banks and none are offering equity loans at this time. Pool loan creditors are offering shorter term loans. My credit union is offering a terrible interest short term loan. Personal loans are not being offered. Not because of me but because of I don’t know. Congress is flooding the system with cash and I can’t get my hands on any. Doesn’t make sense. Anyway, I’m about to call my builder and tell him looks like this is going to be a while because he doesn’t document his pool building history on social media and his business has only been licensed for about 18 months. So my choice is the builder gets accredited with the loan agent company somehow or I have to move on to another pool builder with years of experience and history that I don’t necessarily want to do business with.

I messaged my builder the setbacks I’m having and he said he is working with another guy at the loan company and will let me know what happens.

June 29

Middle of the day today and have not had an update.

June 30

Builder messaged me that he got a voicemail from the lender saying they would give us the funds. I messaged him back that they will, but at a very high monthly payment. I need the 20 year loan.

He replied that he is in contact with the loan company's operations manager and will get back to me after the weekend.

July 6

Builder told me he talked to the lender and got the director of operations involved and they will have the loan officer call me.

July 7

The loan officer called and said he just got an email that the builder is set up with a client they do business with and will offer the same terms if I want to proceed. I told him yes, I do want to proceed. FINALLY!

I messaged my builder with the good news. He is resending me the draw schedule.

Builder sent the new draw schedule and contract for me to sign. It is for the full amount when I wanted to pay about 15% in cash so I could keep my payment reasonable. I wrote him back asking if that will be a problem or if I have to take out the full loan amount.

Builder responded that it should not be a problem but I can ask the builder to be sure. Builder will write a contract with the lender and a contract with me.

I email the lending loan officer asking if this is fine.

July 8

Loan officer replies that taking a partial loan is fine.

I sent an email to builder asking for him to send me a contract for the lender and another contract with the balance for me to sign. Getting close. My wife and aren’t telling anyone.

I received two contracts from the builder saying one contract is for me with the cash as a down payment and one for the lender for the actual loan amount. Unfortunately, they are the same. Both are the contract for me. I emailed the builder letting him know.

July 9

Builder sent me the correct contract and let me know to sign and send to the lender. I did so and asked the lender if anything else was needed. He replied that’s it and now is just waiting on the approval.

I sent the contract between the builder and I that includes the cash amount back to the builder, signed. The cash portion will be as a down payment in its entirety!

I’m not moving the money from my savings to my checking until official approval because from buying homes I’ve been told don’t pay big debts or move money around or it looks bad. The money needs to be in an account for a while on a home loan so it doesn’t look gifted I’m told. So, maybe the same rules apply. I’m not taking any chances.

Receive an email notice of a credit inquiry on me.

Builder told me he is ordering items and to let him now our schedule so we can go to the showroom together. He responded with a thanks for the business and answered some questions I had about waterline tile, coping, plaster, etc.

July 12

The bank sent me a pdf of the loan using PandaDoc as signature verification. The loan officer company sent me a document to sign as well so they can get paid… and I have to pay them before I get the loan.  The loan officer sent me an email to let me know he sent the email. What the loan officer does, besides make sure you get the email he sent by emailing you, is look for a bank that will meet my terms. I need to pay them $1500 for that service and credit checks and kinda acting like a title company is how I see it. They make sure my builder is legit among other things. Probably worth the price.

NOTE: I still don’t have my approval from the bank. This is just me signing the contracts that I promise to pay or they will put the dirt back in the hole. Actually, I think they put a lien on my property so I can ‘t get more credit. I did read it (mostly). It’s definitely not the consequences of South Park’s Apple Centipede.

Once I sign the bank contract, the contract is sent to my wife. She called me to be sure this was legit. She signed. She hesitated at the loan officer’s request for 1500.00 and I basically bribed her into signing by telling her the loan doesn’t process until she signs that over to the loan company. She signs and I immediately get a notification that we’re set.

July 13 AM

I have an email that our loan is approved! Now they want their money. They send a follow up email with a link that lets me pay by debit or credit. Too much credit for now. I pay debit. I get the confirmation. Done!

Moments later I receive a request to review the loan company. Too soon. I want to know my builder is getting the money. Although at this point they will get a decent review. Could have been better except the loan officer did send me away because he wasn’t sure he could get the builder approved and it was going to take a while if he could. The company is in Canada, so they are not as greedy as American bankers I suppose. It took the builder calling them and running it up the chain of command as I wrote earlier.

I let my builder know the good news. He says he will follow up with them.

…Later that day…
Builder lets me know he has the all clear to start digging. And to let him know our schedule so we can start the project.

A little back and forth and we decide we haven’t decided on a time.

June 13

A little more back and forth on the meet time. The issue is my wife’s and my schedule and not his.

I put in my request with the Property Owners Association. (POA) We have an acre and a neighborhood lake so this make is a POA as apposed to an HOA.

July 14

Builder texts to verify the pool depth is 4 feet to 5.5 “deep end”. I ask if this means we’ll be in 3.5 to 5 feet of water and he replies that is accurate. I confirm. This is not only the trend, but we really don’t dive much and the deep it goes the deeper out pockets need to be.

We finally decide on a meet time for the showroom. This coming Saturday morning. 9 AM on the 17th before we leave town.

He says great for him. Now he needs to book the time.

I verify the list of selections:

Waterline Tile
Kook decking
Spa wall tile/stone
Wall tile/stone
Pool and Spa Plaster

He replies we will pick all these items from the showroom and he will bring the plaster samples. He has priced us at Category 1 so we will stick to it because my wife says so. Also, he is not calling it a showroom. I am because the other builders called it that. I do picture it looking like that section of Home Depot or Lowes where it’s quiet and there is always a salesperson waiting for you to look at flooring, blinds or appliances. I’ve done this showroom bit when shopping for cabinets and flooring and appliances. It’s basically a private shopping spree because you have no idea what things cost. Only that you are not going out of your budget. Seems a way for people to make a lot of money if you pick cheaper items than you are budgeted for.

July 15

I receive an email from the POA. Seems my official plat with labeled dimensions and distances with the blue blob where the pool will be wasn’t good enough for them. I did give them the pool construction type. It’s what they asked. Now I need to return to them a materials list along with a plat showing specifically where the pool will be and the distance from the property line and all that. I suppose this is what they meant, but this is a new HOA than I’m used to and I’m thinking I shouldn’t have asked. Just kidding. Always do the right thing. You might build it wrong or get fined or whatever they might do to punish you. It’s easier to keep them on your good side and your neighbors happy.

Speaking of neighbors, I need to ask again if it’s still okay to use my neighbor’s property for access. They have been so generous, and I know their culvert is going to get wrecked. I’ll deal with that if so.

I email my apologies because I’m bothering him late again and admit my ignorance to the builder. He immediately replies that he is not home, but he does have the on his computer, so as soon as he is home, he will send the info for me to submit.

July 16

I received the detailed plat and the equipment list from the builder. The plat looks great, but the equipment list is short and doesn’t include everything on the contract he gave me. The POA had sent me an example equipment list so I added a few things.

From builder:
2 VSP pumps

What I gave the POA based on the example provided.
2 VSP pumps 
2 skimmers

The example also had more details like size and speed where relevant. I told him I won’t have the pool colors until I go to the showroom tomorrow.

It just seems like too much info for the POA to have. The pool is in my back yard. I understand wanting dimensions so people respect property lines and drainage, but what I use to run my pool shouldn’t matter to them unless they think I’m not going to filter it. Which it then becomes a pond. The worst is that they want the colors. None of their business. It’s my back yard. No one sees it.

Anyway, now I can’t get them all they need until after the weekend since I’m sure they won’t be working on Saturday.

The builder asked me to bring the deposit check. I meant to offer that I would, so I felt bad that he had to ask.

July 17

We met with the builder this morning. Since Julie and I already narrowed our choices, it didn’t take long. We made a big change on our waterline tile. We had in mind a matt finish rustic gray/blue tile and found one similar, but once we saw everything together, we went with a glossy, rustic much bluer tile. I think the darker color will contrast better with the coping and Kool decking. Kool decking is a light tan or brown and the coping is a white or silver travertine. Kinda gray. Then we picked stone for the spa wall that had mostly gray, but with some tans. Everything has each other’s colors, but with a lot of variation except the Kool decking which is a solid tan or light brown.

The builder said he will schedule the shotcrete/gunite which could be about 2 to 3 weeks away because of the shortage. He will dig two or three days before that.

We feel a little bad for our dogs who, when it’s time to play in the back yard, go crazy and bolt out the door. It’s pretty funny. Now they are going to have to navigate the pool in their excitement.

Of course, now we are talking about pool accessories, like chairs and umbrellas. We need to remind ourselves to slow down and budget because the pool is a big chunk of the monthly expenses.

June 18

I sent a reminder to my builder that the POA wants a full plat with the pool design.

June 19

Builder sends me a zoomed out picture that shows the pool and the house. He tells me if he zooms out further, the measurement numbers are not visible. If he has to do the entire plat, then he has to draw out the pool design by hand.

June 20

The POA responds they need a full plat I tell my builder.

Within five minutes, my builder responds with an attachment telling me to send it. I guess he rushed the plat with the pool included because he dropped the pool in my front yard! I had a good laugh at this.

He wrote back verifying I don’t want it in my front yard (sarcasm) with the corrected location. I’m passing this back to the POA even thought the equipment is not on this one. The zoomed in copy (we’ll call it) does have the equipment pad. Also there is a rendering of the equipment.

About 20 minutes later:

“Thank you for submitting your completed pool request; it has been sent to your Association’s Committee for review.

The committee has up to 30 days… to review your request, as stated in the CC&Rs for your community. I will contact you as soon as I receive their decision.”

Finally! Well, we still that the Architectural Control Committee, but the association filters all the junk requests, so it’s almost a rubber stamp from here. Fingers crossed I didn’t upset them too much last year when I complained about a few things.

July 21

The Neighborhood ACC approved already! My next question was to the builder. I had not heard if the County needed to approve. He replied that he needed me to pull the plat from the septic installer. I wrote back telling him the septic heads are very far from the pool and he replied that if they are far away, then we are good.

July 25

We have rose bushes outside out windows that I want bordered with the brick we have left over and the pool decking to go around that. Now I’m having second thoughts because they constantly lose their little petals, and it will be more cleaning. I’m looking to keep the maintenance low. Apparently, this was a good idea to have them bricked in because when I said I changed my mind, my wife and daughter immediately shut down my new plan.

Tonight, my builder texted “Hey Ron, just wanted to touch base. We are looking at maybe end of next week early the following to get your pool dug/rebar/shotcrete.”

That’s about the timing he expected with the shotcrete shortage. That date puts us around the end of the first week in August. We’re hoping for early the following week because we have family out that weekend and will just be messy if they are here.

I received my ring camera this weekend, but don’t have the solar for it yet. That is on back order. I also need a place to put it. There is not good angle and I didn’t want to put up a temporary pole but I may need to.

July 28

I have way too much water running off the back of my house when it rains and each pool builder commented that I would need gutters on the back of the house to keep water from running into the pool even if they slightly slope the decking. So today I received my quote on the gutters. It’s a lot of money but not a bad price.

August 2

We accepted the quote and need to pick our colors. The gutters will be seamless aluminum 5” gutters instead of 6” gutters. Hopefully that is enough. They don’t think the top level of the house needs gutters. We went around the entire house because we need them in the front at the entrance and I just want the water to run away from the house better. The gutter man is from the same company building the pool.

We picked let our daughter match the colors to the eves of the house because she is good at that.

August 5

Builder texts me that the gutters will be installed on Saturday. I transfer the money from savings to checking.

August 6

The money is not in my checking account and I need to pay for the gutters on Saturday. I message the bank that the transfer is not showing although the transactions logs show I did transfer the money. I hear nothing from the bank all day.

I leave early for work because I won’t be able to do this on Saturday and I don’t want to tell them not to cash the check until the money is there. That would be embarrassing. And if they do cash the check at my bank, well that would not be good. Anyway, I go to the bank and tell them what happened and they move the money for me.

August 7

Gutter guys arrive. I walk around the house with them discussing where they are putting the gutters and I need to ask them to turn the gutters to the sides of the house where I have a choice and not the front. Also, not to put the drains where it will be on the decking except for one that we can’t avoid. He reminds me that the pool builder is putting in a channel drain between the house and the pool.

The gutter guys leave. They says nothing. I walk around the house and it looks great. I don’t see any mess the left behind. I contact my pool guy who set up the gutter guys and he says they have called him. I ask who I pay and pool builder says he will collect the check tomorrow.

August 8

Heavy rain comes through and we get the first test of the gutters. I am very pleased. Now I hope they don’t fill with crap over the years. That is the reason we didn’t have gutters in the first place.

Pool builder texts me that he expects to dig Tuesday or Wednesday and shot date is Thursday or Friday!

I happen to be working from home Tuesday and Wednesday.

I run my camera out and find that I can use a closet rod I pulled from our closet this weekend to mount the Ring camera for the timelaps. The rod fits perfectly into the umbrella holes in a outside bar table we have. I don’t even need to move the bar table. So I will have two angles on the pool.

August 9

The original money I tried to transfer is in the checking now. Silly bank.

I get a message from the builder that they are digging the pool tomorrow!

I run outside with a can of red paint and run the sprinklers for a minute each because I can’t find 4 or the 6 heads I’m worried about. I put a big red X over them and message him that I would like to save the heads because they are all useful after the build. This is a big deal because moving the sprinklers is on me. The installer asked if I ever planned on installing a pool and he did a really good job of predicting where he should put the heads. He was a licensed installer and irrigation specialist and a bunch of other certifications that Texas requires for a legal install unless the homeowner is the installer. This is all published online. Another person I almost went with for the price had no certifications and was operating illegally. Paying for experience is almost always worth it.

I remembered I was going to send the builder pictures of my septic line that I took before it was buried. This was another thing my builder told me to do for all the walls in the house, the septic and the irrigation. It has come in handy several times. I had the pictures saved to Amazon Photos . The line runs in front of where the pad will be on the side of the house then far from where they will be digging. I see the septic was only buried about 18 inches by the looks of the pictures. We’re in Southeast Texas so it doesn’t need to be too deep but we did have a deep freeze this Winter. Anyway, that’s another story.

I sent the builder the pics and he appreciated it and said even if they do hit a line they will fix it immediately.

A side note… In the middle of the day, my wife called to tell me she thinks she has Covid. She was on her way to the hospital she works at because she had taken a home test and it was positive. So I thought I should come home from work just in case and test myself. Also, our daughter had a cold this past week and my wife thought she, herself, had allergies. She gets them a lot. So I took our daughter out of school and had her test and I am negative, but our daughter is also positive. So we will all be home for the dig!

Day before the dig:


August 10

Dig is done. There were some concerns before though. The surveyor outlined the pool and spa on the grass with white pain. He put the spa where it was supposed to be but we felt it was too far from the house and too close the trampoline. We moved it more to the East of the pool instead of the Southeast. It changes the waterfall view so it can’t be seen as well from the house, but this was never a thing for us. We want convenience. Since the pool will be the same level as our patio, they are going to use all the dirt to pack around the top part of the pool and allow for a gradual slope to the back of the yard.

Another concern was when they were done it looked like we were going to have a smaller sun deck and no bench. I message the builder and he said that was only cut out so the bobcat can get out of the hole and the bench and everything will come together better when they rebar on Thursday.

The pool dig is going to be one foot smaller all the way around because of the thickness of the shotcrete. This gives us a little more decking to walk and sit, but we think it’s still too close the roses outside the windows. Also, they drop their leaves constantly and they have thorns.  We’re going to pull them and fill the space with decking.

Builder said they still need the plumber for Thursday if they are going to shotcrete on Friday.

I always thought they put walls up on the inside of the pool then sprayed and packed the backside of the walls with aggregate as they filled with water. He said, no, they actually spray the shot directly on to the clay. Eight inches will be on the bottom and 12 inch thick for the walls.

We are excited. The dogs are confused. Tomorrow rebar and hopefully plumbing. Friday hopefully shotcrete.

*Shotcrete is mixed at the source and sprayed on at the site.
*Gunite is mixed at the site from the nozzle.

After the dig:

August 11

Someone showed up with pool parts. This is a good sign. They put boxes under my back patio.

August 12

10:00AM and I haven’t seen anyone. I called my builder and he tells me he is on the phone with the shotcrete people and they won’t have anything for Friday. It will be next week. So, they are going to rebar right before that. I may be staying home Monday, but even if they rebar Monday, I’m going to miss seeing the shot on Tuesday or any other day next week.

August 15

I dug out two sprinkers that will be covered in concrete decking. I needed to cap them so I unscrewed the sprinkler and took it to the local hardware store. The employee assisting me told me I should take out the casing as well and cap that to be sure there is less point where the sprinkler could fail under the concrete. This is why I talk to people that know more than I do about these things. He knew the two sizes I needed and this made it easier since they pieces are in many bins.

I went home and dug a little further to realize these sprinklers are off the main line and I’ll need to cap them where they are. I’m not digging a trench for 3 or 4 feet. The problem now is that the caps are threaded on the outside for the main line, but I need them threaded on the inside for this offshoot.

I went back to the store and swapped them out. Since I have two other sprinkler heads in the back of my yard that may be covered deep under soil to accommodate for the slope on the backside of the pool, I may need to either cap those or get an extender to reach the surface if that is possible.

I also moved the three rose bushes from below the dining room windows and replanted them between the rose bushes under the master bedroom windows.

Since it’s Sunday, I emailed my builder that I have capped the two sprinklers and added that the other sprinklers are useful to me so I want to be sure they are not covered in decking. Also asked him if they do hit a sprinkler line, will it be repaired promptly like he said he would the septic line? These are things I should have asked about in the contract.

August 17

I have not heard from the builder and he is usually quick to respond. I messaged my pool builder asking if there is any status on the pool. I wonder if the loan company is asking for verification or anything. When we built our home, we were notified of withdrawals and have nothing from this loan company to indicate the pool builder has taken any money. I expect I’ll need to start paying on any withdrawn amount.

August 18

Pool builder responded that he will update me ASAP on the gunite situation. He said the supplier is having issues with all the rain. Yes, we are getting heavy storms at least one a day. The digout for the spa is filled with water. I hope this doesn’t cause the clay to slide. Need to keep the dogs off the spa ledge and humans too.

August 22

I haven’t heard anything from my pool builder. I texted him.

August 23

Been 24 hours and I have not heard from my builder. I texted him again.

He responded with a long message basically saying the shotcrete pump is down so the company is behind. He put me on the list for both shotcrete and gunite and they will do whichever is available first. He expects 1-2 weeks! He apologized but said he has everything ready to go otherwise. Meaning rebar and labor I figure.

August 26

Builder messaged me with an update that we are looking at end of next week or the beginning of the following week. So at least another 7 to 10 days. Dig was completed August 9, so we are looking at almost one month waiting on shotcrete or gunite. Also, I’m hearing the chlorine shortage is pretty bad. I messaged my builder today and ask him if I should stock up on anything while I have some lead time. He said he is not actually having any problems but is ordering the 25lb buckets instead of the 50lb buckets. The price is up though. Supply and demand. A factory literally burned to the ground and coupled with Covid lockdowns, there is a shortage. People were writing about it online and one person complained that the price doubling was going to allow only rich people to own pools. I calculate the cost of chorine will be $20 per month for me. I’m middle class and paying for the pool is going to be noticeable in my spending money, but an extra $20 per month is not going to force me to sell the Bentley. …That’s a joke.

August 29

Received our first bucket of 3” chlorine tabs I’ll put aside.

September 1

Someone walked in the back yard today and scared the crap out of my wife. Turns out they were taking pictures of the pool because all the rain gave the gunite/shotcrete concern for a cave so they can insure the shotcrete/gunite install. There has been another big storm that cause some of the clay to fall off the side of the pool and a little erosion on the splash pad and spa area.

September 3

The gunite company has 3 pools to do this week that they will need to try to do next week, because issues.

September 6

Another big rain. 1.5” in a little over an hour. The water had evaporated but it has even more water in it now. Threw in a mosquito disk to control the larvae. I sent a picture to my builder and he said he would be by today to take a look.

September 8

Good news! Rebar is going in tomorrow (Thursday). I asked if that mean we are shooting Friday or Saturday he said, “That’s the plan!”

September 9

Rebar is installed! Should be shooting the gunite tomorrow or Saturday. I’ll find out which day very soon.

September 10

I haven’t heard anything. Frustrating. There is a large tropical storm coming Sunday. Builder said should be shooting tomorrow (Saturday) or Monday.

September 11 (Midday)

Builder stopped by to look at the pool. Tells me because the tropical storm is coming, the shotcrete/gunite company is spraying a shell on the pools today they have scheduled so they don’t cave in from the rain. Explains that he can’t push too hard on the company because they have no shortage of customers and if he upsets them, they can just push is back.

When I leave for work in the morning I pass buy two concrete companies across the highway from each other. They always have a line of concrete trucks. They are very busy.

September 11 (Saturday 7:00PM)

I message my builder the guys aren’t here yet. Do they work Sundays? The storm is set to arrive Sunday afternoon and rain a lot for several days.

 Builder responds they should work on Sundays (assuming the consequences of caved in pools and how long it will be before they can work again with the tropical storm coming) He is going to contact them and let me know.

September 12

Rained almost two inches last night. Builder came by with a sump pump and is letting it run 24/7.

September 13

The rain caused some of the pool shape to chipped away and erosion through the pool.

September 15

Gunite day is Saturday the 18th!

September 16 (early afternoon)

Pool builder let me know he is coming over to pump the rest of the water out so they can hopefully shotcrete the pool Friday.

September 16 (evening)

Update: The pool will be shot on Saturday. This is good because I want to be there so I can watch and film with the GoPro. It takes better timelapse shots than the Ring camera.

September 17 (evening)

I message my builder to verify I’m still on the schedule for tomorrow. More rain is coming so I’m not surprised if it gets pushed back again.

Answer: So far yes! Looks like no rain until noon.

Saturday 18

Finally! The workers showed up about 6:45AM. They brought a laser level and made slight adjustments to what is basically a wood banding shaping the pool. They starting shooting the gunite about 7AM. There were very heavy storms surrounding us but we had a slight sprinkle.

Took lots of video and pictures of the process. As they pump and the gunite is getting near height, the person holding the hose constantly stick a tape measure to the bottom. As the sides are built they will scrape off the excess and smooth the sides. They had some issues as the pump stopped at random times. I counted three truck of gunite. I forgot to ask how many yards. They have made an incredible mess between concrete on my driveway the grass in their path destroyed and soda cans, water bottles, food wrappers and banana peels. The grass I can expect, but they should be tarping or putting protective boards under the concrete mixing area and apparently they need to be explicitly asked not to throw their trash in the yard.

We left for a birthday dinner about 5PM and saw where the roads had some minor flooding. We got really luck on the rain missing us. We returned home to them still working at 7PM. I’m sure they continued to have pump issues. It took them until 9:45PM working under lights until finally they finished for the day.

Sunday 19

Daylight now and the trash is ridiculous. My wife put a garbage can near the pool with “Trash please” and Basura please” written on it.

For the most part, the same guys returned about 7AM and got started right away. They brought in another truck and again had issues with the pump. They finished pumping around noon. On other areas of the pool, guys were shaping and leveling. Very detailed on the leveling taking a plenty of measurements. They finished about 2PM.

I walked the yard, happy with how the pool was coming but disappointed with the trash left behind. They did fill the garbage can my wife left them. The patio is covered with concrete dust. I have an eight foot table I made when the house was being build that I need to clean up or the dust may harden on it. I don’t know how the dust reacts to humidity.

The driveway is covered with dust and concrete mix. They swept but not well. There are concrete rocks and chips in the grass. But the worst is instead of dumping the excess concrete around the pool area like my builder instructed them, they dumped ten wheelbarrow piles in the wooded property next to me!

So, I called my builder to let him know and he wasn’t surprised. Told me they were supposed to put any excess around the pool because they’ll use it later. He will send his crew out tomorrow to clean it up.

I wet the pool for the first time. Will be 18 days of watering the pool at least twice a day.

Monday 20

Pool builder came buy and wet the pool this morning.

I came home this evening and discovered the builders cleanup crew had not shown up. I brought the blower out and dusted the drive off, the patio and picked up some trash. After blowing the driveway I discovered the brick inlay in my driveway had spills of concrete on it. The worst of all places.

I called my builder and started to tell him. He said he noticed and his guys will be here tomorrow or the next day to not only work on that but clean up what they dumped on the neighbors undeveloped property. He’ll come by after and see how they did.

He explained that he can’t get on to the guys too much because they are in demand and if the crew doesn’t like working for him they won’t work for him. So his hand are basically tied. What the crew is good at is the most important thing. They build a good pool. The concrete is perfectly level and shaped well. This makes tiling and plaster much easier. Builder said other crews don’t do as well and the tiling is more difficult.

Sept 21 AM

Got up at 4AM today. Couldn’t sleep so I watered the pool. Not going to update every day on that but this will be my mornings and evenings for the next at least two weeks.

Sept 21 PM

The piles of concrete were moved. Nothing more.

Sept 22.

Lots of rain last night. So glad I cleaned up some of the concrete. The builder himself came by today and did some cleanup. He said the brick inlay on the driveway is not cleaning up and he will buff it. I’m thinking it will take some muriatic acid.

Oct. 5

Been watering the pool at least twice a day. A couple mornings we got a break due to rainstorms. The pool started to stench and a frog took a swim in there so asked the builder if he could pump the pool. I tried myself but his pump is caked in concrete (no surprise.)

He said the guys will return to start the plumbing on Wednesday (tomorrow).

I came home today and the pool is pumped. Shortly after one of the guys dropped off several large boxes. All Hayward products: Heater, controller, filter and a box full of boxes.

I have to say the 18 day wait has softened my excitement. It’s a mess outside, but having the boxes show up today and knowing work will continue tomorrow has me excited again

Oct 6

No plumbers

Oct 7

No plumbers

Oct 9

I took the day off work today to do some yard work before my daughter’s baby shower tomorrow. Pool guys came to dig for the plumbers at almost noon. I was able point out where my sprinklers are septic are. They carefully dug around the septic hose and did miss the sprinklers but broke the pipe and electrical for the actuator. Connected the wires right away. They were going to work Saturday to lay the pipe and fix the electrical wire for the sprinkler. I actually didn’t know what it was but my builder knew. Also said if they break the septic he’ll come right away and fix it.

I said during the bid that I had gas stubbed near the spa. They couldn’t find it. I looked on the plans for the house and didn’t see it. I called the pool builder and he said he never saw it. I asked what it would take to run a line from the tank on the complete opposite the house and he said he wouldn’t charge extra, meaning he would just add the price of the line.

I called my home builder and he said we never ran a line there! Ugh. So they ended up having to squeeze their trench digger into the dog yard and that thing must have barely made it. They did great.

They will be in Monday and I’m hoping the rain expected in the morning won’t hit us too hard and put them back another day.

I asked about adding decking around the pool and he said let’s get the plumbing done and we’ll get a better idea what it’s going to look like before I make that decision.

Also, I just texted him to see if he can split the gas line for a future kitchen or fireplace since we are digging around there anyway. That was suggested to me during my daughters babyshower.

Oct 10 evening

I flushed the master bath toilet and the tub gurgled.

Rained an inch in about an hour last night so we have a moat around the pool of all places. Pool builder left his pump so this morning I rigged it in a low spot to drain what I could. Builder is thankful.

Oct 11 morning

I flushed the master bath toilet and the tub AND my sink gurgled. My wife was working at the time. I left for work and received a call from her telling me she flushed and the sink and tub gurgled. A quick Google search told me the septic tank is filling. I called my pool builder and told him I think the electrical wire may be something for the septic. Possible something happened during the baby shower, but the problem started after the guys were digging. Builder thinks it’s the sprinkler, but he knows the owner at the septic company I use and will call him.

Oct 11 Afternoon

Septic company calls me and says the issue could be plumbing and they will have to charge us because I’m not on the Silver plan. I say, fine I’ll call a plumber.

I get home and see if I can start the septic sprinklers automatically, because I recall Sunday when I watered the yard with the lawn sprinklers, I forgot to NOT run the broken sprinkler line by that wire (in the plumbing trench) and it was running. The septic sprinkler never engages. As a matter of fact. Everything stinks now. My wife held the sprinkler lever down and got a good plumb of noxious gas in her face. I call the septic company (after hours now) and leave a message. An hour later I call back and leave a message. A few minutes later a Septic person calls back. I explain why I called them off and she says, well then we’ll send someone to look at it for free in the morning. We are careful to not run washer, dishwasher and we skip our showers. House stinks.

Meanwhile, the pool builder is going to meet with me Tuesday to see where I want the gas line for the future kitchen or fireplace.

Oct 12 Morning

Septic guy came over discovered the electric wire was to the alarm and pump and not the sprinkler. Seems like a bad idea to run both lines to the same electrical outlet. The he proceeded to scold my wife for letting the pool builder dig without having the septic company out to mark the line. She retorted with we hired a pool company to do that for us. He apologized and scolded the pool company. He rigged up the line temporarily to drain the septic and will be back in the morning for a permanent fix.

Meanwhile, the plumbing is being laid around all this. Gates left open and more trash left in the yard. Plastic plumbing wrap, foil from lunches, soda cans and water bottles. These guys have no idea how they are trashing the neighborhood and the reputation they have. They must not care because there are trash cans in plain site.

Pool builder assures he is paying for everything and apologizes for the issues.

In the picture below, the yellow highlight is the gas line. The purple tube is the septic. The green highlight is the repaired septic alarm and pump wires. There is a broken sprinkler in there I need to address that has been buried. They may need to dig that back up because it runs to the back yard.

Oct 12 Afternoon

Lots of plumbing being laid. They are up against the rain every day and working in the rain. Today is a great day and they get a lot done. Septic guys are out this afternoon (original guy and the owner) and it is fixed.

To get the smell out of the house, I run water down every drain that gurgled so the traps are clean.

My wife has a good question. Should we call the gas company before they tap into the propane tank? Builder responds the line will be laid out for them, but the gas company connects at both ends. Pool builder doesn’t touch it.

Pool build comes over to discuss the gas line. I don’t know exactly where I want it so he suggests bringing it up by the pool area so it can be extended where myself or a future homeowner would like it.

Oct 13

More plumbing. Today the lines have been pressure tested.

Oct 14

Plumbers showed up but must have decided it’s too wet to work and went home.

Oct 15

The gas line has been connected and the plumbing and gas line buried. The next week is cooling off and no rain expected so should get a lot done if we are on the schedule.

Oct 16

Dirt is covering the plumbing and it doesn’t appear the sprinkler line was repaired. I inform builder

Oct 20

I message builder for progress. He responds that the tile guy will be here tomorrow.
I tested the sprinkler line and there is no pressure on the zone with the broken line. The dirt has covered the plumbing. He responded that he noticed the mud.

Oct 21 Morning

The tile guy cut out early and let the builder know he is coming back tonight when the sun is going down because there is so much sun on the pool that he is unable to see his laser.

Oct 21 Evening

Tile guy is in the back with the laser doing his thing.

Oct 22

Builder sends me a picture of the tile progress. Looks good.

Oct 23 and 24

Tile guys here all weekend. Saturday the got drenched with rain. When it cleared up they were back to work. I accepted a water from me. Wouldn’t come inside. He did have cover but the wind was blowing so hard I asked him and he said No thank you and talked on his phone. His partner had taken the truck somewhere. To lunch, to the bathroom. Who knows.

Oct 29

Tile work not completed and no one showed up today. Builder said will definitely be there Monday because he has to be finished by Tuesday. This worked out for us because we have company staying this weekend, so no tile saw running all weekend is good. Some of these delays have actually worked out for us.

I keep expecting a bill from the loan company. I asked my builder if he has taken any draws and he has taken two. I told him I have not been billed so I hope nothing is wrong. I worry he will go to take his last draw and since I haven’t paid anything on the drawn amount (like when you build a house on a construction loan) that he won’t get the money.

I call the loan officer and he says to call the loan company. He gives me the number and they have no record of me! I’m worried my credit is getting flagged. The agent tells me he thinks the loan officer gave me the wrong company. That they work with a lot of lenders.

I call back the loan officer and he says he’ll get right back to me. About an hour later he calls and simultaneously sends an email apologizing for the bad information. He gives me the actual loan company, which sounds familiar this time, and says they don’t require a payment until the construction job is complete! Whoo hoo! I joke with the builder that he can finish around 2025 or so.

While the tile is being laid, the builder starts putting the dirt where the decking will extend. We like the layout but the amount of decking is nagging us. We really want more around the pool entry and the spa near the house. My wife imagines the long chairs by the spa or the entry and she suggests the grill up nearer the house and the back door. I’m all for that.

Oct 31

Builder came by so can show him what we wanted for the decking.

November 1

Concrete guy came and took measurements.

Nov 4 Morning

We got the quote. Remember this is going to add the Kool Decking too, so he comes back with the square footage almost doubling and a quote for the additional concrete and Kool Decking that equals almost 8% of the total cost of the pool! Plus he may need to bring in a few loads of dirt.

I do the math and it’s not a bad price, but damn. Back to the drawing board.

Nov 4 Evening

My wife and I take another look and we kept the extra new decking along the house on both sides of the pool, extending the decking along the entry out to 10 feet and circling around back to about 4 feet in the back and completely cutting off the extra decking space in the back. I really liked that, but I don’t think it will be of much benefit. I really pictured it as a smoking area for the guests, but they’ll figure something out.

I find a printout of the original plan and use a pencil to shade in what we want. I take a picture of the picture and text it to him.

Nov 5

Builder sends a guy to pick up 95% of the trash. Looks a lot better in the back now.

He also send the new quote which is affordable. We accept, but I want a picture. It’s late Friday and he’s not home but will send a picture this weekend. He does and it looks good. We're happy. Adding my at the grill was a nice touch.

Nov 8

I start cleaning of the items we keep on the patio. If I had known how messy the concrete shot would be, I would have cleaned everything off beforehand. Everything is dusted with concrete and I’m not sure a power washer will remove it. We have the outdoor shower I would have covered. I wouldn’t call it ruined, but it doesn’t look new anymore. I’m not sure I can clean it well enough without scratching it up.

I realize with the new decking that I have at least two more sprinkler heads I need to cap. One is buried. I ask the builder when he will be back to see how much time I have. He will be back in two days because things are wet again from a quick burst of rain the other day. It doesn’t take much here in Texas.

Nov 9

While looking for a sprinkler head by the spa I found that it was gone? I spent several minutes digging for it when I realized there was a sprinkler head on the patio which was probably the one I was digging for. I turned on the sprinklers to help locate the sprinkler head and water gushed from an area there was no sprinkler. So the line is busted. I don’t know the layout of the sprinkler lines so I’ve turned them all on and checked for water. There is another busted near the pool entry. Luckily I have lots of pictures and video.

Nov 10

Builder came to take a look. What the plumbers did when they trenched for their lines, is break the sprinkler pipe and covered them with dirt without capping the breaks or testing the sprinklers or asking if I need them. My builder is going to take care of it.

Nov 11

I took lots of pictures when they dug so I found the sprinkler line breaks. I took pictures from when the sprinklers where installed but only where they flagged the location of the sprinklers. I remember them being laid and buried before I could get pictures because I was away from the house. Always easier when you have pictures.

I don’t want to wait and there is no rain in the forecast this week, so I dug and easily found the breaks. I could not find the line to my back yard which is broken. I dug deep enough to hit the line so it must not be a strait pipe.

Nov 14

I followed up with my builder since I sent him several pictures of the breaks with the line circled. Then I sent pics of the work I did to find them. I really shouldn’t need to do that but I’m impatient.

Nov 16

Builder says his concrete crew is finishing up another job and will work my pool next. Builder will be over today to look at the sprinklers.

Nov 19

The guys are digging and trying to find the sprinklers. The dirt work is coming along. Might need some more dirt because the slope is too steep in the back of the pool. Builders says once he puts the forms in we’ll know better how much dirt is needed.

Other things to consider. Since we have a lot of vegetation on the side of the yard, we do not have a fence. We all agree it’s going to be better to remove the vegetation and replace it with a fence. Money, money. I’ll want an iron gate in the front and wooden privacy fence on the side. It will also give us a little more security on the side of the house.

Nov 20

The guys are back and have found the lines. The one that is not straight ran very close to the pool. They capped or tied them up as needed. Tested and another break but quickly fixed. All good on the sprinklers now.

I’m putting together my timelapse. The video isn’t always great and I don’t always have the full video because I am managing several cameras on one phone that don’t run in the background unless the they are tripped by movement. Anyway. It’s still nice to have.

Nov 21

Rain today. This is good because it helps pack the soil

Nov 22

No work today because the ground is too wet to set the forms for the concrete.

Nov 23

Forms are being installed today. Also the ground gutter between the house and the pool. Maybe some dirt this afternoon for the slope. We're getting close to Thanksgiving so they may take a few days off.

My wife noticed some coping on the backside of the pool has more of a cream color as apposed to the mostly gray color. I hadn't noticed but now it's hard to unsee. I'm sure all the stone came from the same rock, but there was a cream vein going through it and although there is some gray in the tile, it's mostly cream. I'm wavering on giving it a pass because there is cream in other mostly gray tile around the pool, but these four tiles have a gray tile between which makes them stand out.

Nov 24

Forms are complete. More dirt came in improve the slope. Started on the rebar. The decking seemed a little short on the right side of the pool. We agreed they should move the forms out a little more. It wasn't much when I look back but it's acceptable. Builder said he wants to wait on the tile concern until after the decking is complete, and Pebble Tec as well, I'm sure, to see if the color blends better. I'm leaning more toward not bothering me, but my wife is not swayed.

Dec 3

Builder came over today. There has not been any progress. Rain, rain, rain. He said he wants the clay to be dry because the decking is not very thick and there will be hairline cracks is just a few years if we pour wet. He said the rain is good though because it’s helping to compact the dirt which is clay. He did point out where the dirt had settled. So here we are. More rain in the forecast every few days.

He said he will try to find some tile.

We talked details about building a fence on one side of the pool. I won’t leave details here, but to say building a fence was something we expected to do.

Dec 7

Builder looked at several places for matching tiles and found enough to replace the four.

Dec 13

Tile replaced. Builder said the tile we ordered was the last pallet and good coping is very hard to come by now. We had the last pallet of our style., but it’s looks great and blends much better than the cream color.

Dec 14

Agreed to quote on fence. Now for more POA approval

Dec 15

Finished rebar and poured the decking! Plaster, water, Kool Deck, underbrush mulching, fence. Still a ways to go.

Dec 16

Pool has been a mess with water, leaves, concrete. Today guys came and did a cleanout and it looks much better, including cleaning the pile of concrete near the spa. Schedule is plaster/pebble next, but we are getting rain tomorrow.

Dec 18

Lots of rain and wind. Pool will need a little cleaning again. But Sunday through next Monday there is not rain in the forecast so if they don’t have pools ahead of mine, the weather will be from high fifties to low eighties, so I expect this would be a good week for them to finish up.

The drains are backing up. The gutters are spilling over because they are draining into the drain they put under the concrete. There are four drains, partially closed with concrete, connecting to one long tube with the exit being on the spa side. Right now, the drain is plugged with dirt but once the water was heavy enough it pushed out some where and the water drained quickly. Water is still overflowing the gutters, but this is a lot of rain and a good test for the drainage.

Dec 21

Plaster day! The guys came around noon and finished around 5. They mix a slurry right at the truck and the excess they put in a big box they make near the pool so they can haul away the excess. It looks like blue clay when applied. The process reminds me of the shotcrete application. The color is pretty flat. No depth and without the variations we saw in the showroom. Reason being is after it dries a day, it gets an acid wash. I don’t know the details but it’s happening tomorrow. The acid wash exposes the pebbles.

Dec 22

Acid wash took about 2 or 3 hours and it did expose the pebbles and glass. Looks great. Filling with water now!

Dec 23

Filled all night and into the morning. It took 20 hours to fill. The spa took just under an hour. The color is beautiful. I have a small skimmer and I’m fighting the oak leaves because they can leave a stain on the pool bottom. The pumps won’t be running until tomorrow morning when the guy that starts those up stops by.

Monday they will start on the chemicals, but I need to brush the pool every day for a month. The weather just warmed up to the low 80’s so the algae are happy. It’s warmer than normal or it wouldn’t be as big a deal.

I really wanted the robot cleaner, but they are expensive. My builder today told me that is what he buys his customers! I’m so glad. It has no hose, will alert you when it’s full and holds more leaves than a vacuum. We’ll have stools, so the robot shouldn’t get stuck between, but a vacuum with a hose will for sure. The robot will climb the sides of the pool. He will provide the net and brush to clean the pool.

We will need to brush the sides of the pool for about 30 days. Pumps today. Chemicals start on Monday. Kool Deck hopefully next week. Things have gone fast lately, but slowing down just a bit for the holidays.

There are still little details I see like the foam gab where the spa meets the edge of the coping and the builder says all that will be taken care of in the final details, but fine to keep bringing things up because anything is going to be easier to fix sooner than later. 

Dec 24

The startup guy stopped by and checked a few things. He started the pump and it will run all weekend.

Dec 25

Seems the pool is losing water too fast. I put about 45 minutes of water in the pool and clean the basket. Clean leaves from the pool.

Dec 26

Going to bed and the pool is making a loud almost grinding noise. I cleaned both baskets of leaves.

Dec 27

I got up early for work and saw in the window of the equipment there are leaves and no water running through. The sound is pretty bad, continuing to groan and grind a little. The spa gurgled and one of the intakes in the pool is sucking air. We ran water in the pool for about an hour. I let the builder know.

The chemical guy came to start up the pool. I watched him test the bubblers and the lights. The builder looked at the pool and said we have a leak in the pump. He said it looks to be a manufacturer issue and since it’s Hayward, they will replace it fast. I’m hoping they have one available.

The pool is pumping very slow now. My guess is to keep the water flowing but not lose a bunch of water.

Dec 28

Chemical guy did not come by today. I thought he would be by for 3 straight days. There is a bit of plaster lose in the spa. I worry it will get in the drain. I don’t know what it will do and don’t have anything to vacuum it out.

Dec 29

The chemical guy came again. Everything is looking good as far as balance

Dec 31

We are about to get our first freeze. The pool has a temperature sensor that runs when the temperature is below 38 to keep it from freezing. Also there is a float that will run when the water gets low so I don’t have to keep filling it. It’s not hooked up yet. Builder says the plaster pieces are not a problem and normal and will filter out as we brush and clean the pool.

Jan 3

Gas is now connected to the spa. They don’t convert natural gas heaters to propane even though it looks easy they say. It’s just not something they are allowed to do. It wasn’t cheap by the way. I paid for this out of pocket. Not part the pool build.

I let my builder know about the conversion asking him if the plumbers already converted the heater and he replied that they had already converted it.

The freeze was last night and everything is fine. Hopefully later this week when it warms back up to the 60’s we get the decking. There is a small window before rain though so may be a little longer.

The last few days I’ve been brushing the sides of the pool and cleaning the leaves out. We’ve had a lot of wind to bring the leaves down finally.

Since my wife has picked up a few shifts at work, we’ve moved our pool equipment training date to Jan 6.

Jan 6

No training today. The heater leak has still not been addressed by the manufacturer. I’m asked to continue brushing the pool and cleaning out the leaves. I notice all the “dust” settles to the middle of the pool, so it’s a reach for the brush but I can get it. Probably best to brush the pool when the pump is circulating water so the dirt can make it to the filter before settling to the bottom again.

Jan 10

We received over 2 inches. The overflow hole allowed for the water to leave the pool without spilling over. I’m worried about the chemical levels in the pool now.

Builder said he will be stopping by to test the chemicals and he has emailed the manufacturer about the water heater.

Jan 11

Builder said pool looks great and the heater will be addressed this week. Once it warms up again he will apply the Kool decking. Temps can it 80 but dropped to the 30’s the same night. Other days it’s warm and raining. Typical East Texas Winter. Can’t have a consistent warm, dry stretch.

Let him know one of the bubbler lights is missing a cover in the deck area. He said the electricians didn’t install it properly and they are waiting for a replacement part. It’s not a difficult fix though.

Jan 14

It’s Friday afternoon and I haven’t heard about the heater issue. Telling my wife I’m going to message the builder and she tells me they were out on Wednesday. She’s been working a lot. I went out to the heater and there are no signs of a leak. Message the builder and he confirmed they fixed it but are waiting a week to be sure there are no signs of the leak.

January 18

The decking has been prepped for the paint. It was cleaned and the texture applied. There will be rain tomorrow and since the we have a warm day they are going to try to apply paint. Hoping they can get it down before the rain or it’s going to be a while. Temperature isn’t supposed to hit 55 for a several days. We’ll see

January 19 Afternoon

They applied the paint. It is heavy in some parts and light in others. One very noticeable area is along the edge of the old patio. Looks like they applied with a brush where everywhere else they applied with a roller. Also, it didn’t dry fast enough for the rain because around the spa area it looks like it was painted then washed away. The rain came down really hard, so I don’t think it had a chance. I’m not even going to continue scrutinizing. Hopefully that was a first coat because it can’t be the final product. I’m sure the builder will make it right and won’t be happy with it himself. He hasn’t said anything to me. I’ll give it a night and I’ll mention it tomorrow.

January 19 Evening

My wife said she saw the builder stop by earlier and take a look. Says he looked mad. Was shaking his head.

January 20

Spoke with builder. He saw the spa area. I mentioned the darker lines along the patio cover and he said they are going to redo everything. They will try tomorrow. I don’t see that happening. It’s going to drop from about 70 degrees today to 27 tonight.

January 21

The didn’t come today. Builder told me to didn’t get warm enough soon enough. It’s going to be in the 30’s at night for the next week at least. 50’s during the day. We’re stuck for a while. Hopefully he can clear the shrub and build the fence in the meantime. Though it’s been raining a lot too.

Feb 4

It’s cold. Nothing on the pool actually being done. The anti freeze controls work. It runs slowly once the temperature drops to 38 degrees. Got down to 26 last night and no issues.

Feb 5

I had to ask if the heater turns on when the anti-freeze feature engages. The heater does not turn on. It’s the circulation of the water that keeps it from freezing. I’m sure if it got cold enough that would change, but we are in a part of te country where that is not likely. Happens, but rare.

Lots of good weather coming. Temps will be in the 60’s during the day. Builder says we may be able to finish the decking, but the dirt work may need to wait because it’s taking so long to dry out. In the meantime, we’ll get the app set up so we can finish with the pool itself.

Feb 7

I have a list of items I sent the builder since he indicated the decking was the last thing to do. There is quite a lot to do actually and the pool has a lot of sand in it.

Dirt work we talked about but also leveling out the yard from the equipment

Driveway brick is still stained

Need some umbrella holes

Is the light fixed?

Pool needs Caulking

The robot?

The channel gutter has leaves in it due to a missing drain cap that I’m worried about clogging the drain.

Feb 8

Builder came over and installed the Robot and ran it. Told me to continue running it as much as possible. It runs for 3 hours at a time. He said the sand is the pebble tech. There is a lot of it and the robot is picking a lot of it up. Been tired of cleaning leaves from the bottom of the pool with the brush and net. Robot is a big help.

Light fixed today. Everything I’m assure is being addressed.

Feb 10

Pool lights are on! Got our pool equipment lesson today. He’s going to label the parts, but said with the phone app should not need to touch anything. The tabs go into a tub at the pool equipment. So the little polar bear tab floater is not necessary. Suggested I sample the water as soon as possible. I’ll need acid for sure, but he left me with a bottle of the that, a 25 pound tub of tabs and another tub of some chemicals. I know they are very expensive right now due to the shortage and didn’t expect that. They have gone up about 400% in the last year due to a plant fire and general shortages created from Covid lockdowns.

Feb 11

Just enjoying playing with the lights today. My wife and I put painter tape down at 4 spots we want umbrellas. It’s hard to judge because we are in February and the sun is very low. I had taken pictures  every half hour this summer but its still not easy when we have a pool in place of the yard sitting 3 feet higher. We’ll be close though. One umbrella will be placed for privacy on the spa from the neighbors second story windows, so not all has to do with shade. I set the pool lights to run for a few hours each night. Can’t wait for our first spa day and when the weather warms of course. Really want the dirt work and grass installed, but that will be the last if the project.

Feb 12

Brought water to the pool store to test. Builder said I would need acid. Muriatic acid that is. I needed two gallons. The pool guy told me to spread one gallon in the deep end today and another gallon tomorrow. I asked if I should come in next week with a sample and he said not necessary. Maybe in two weeks? He said that would be fine just to be sure we’re good.

Feb 13

First night in the spa! We’ll call the pool COMPLETE on this day. But there are peripheral items to complete. Landscaping, painting, umbrella holders, etc.

We are heating the spa with propane. The outside temperature is in the 40’s. Pool water is a little warmer. We used 10% of our tank! We’ll be more selective and look into a spa cover or solar spa cover if they work.

The Hayward app is working well.

Feb 17

Umbrella holders installed today. We selected a few places we though people would sit in and round the pool. There are two umbrella holders in the sun deck and five umbrella holders around the pool. Now a lot of cleanup to be completed by the builder.

March 2

Signed off on the final installment for the pool. Anything else is cash. Cleanup is as done as it’s going to be. Grass isn’t installed because it keeps raining.

March 10

Mosquitoes are breeding in the umbrella holder holes. I asked the builder about this and he has them.


March 13

Been wet so builder is not able to bring in dirt yet to shape the slope and put the grass down.

The pool need more acid.

March 14

Builder squeezed in a day to get the dirt down. I marked my sprinklers I need exposed so I can water the grass that will be installed tomorrow.

March 15

Still too wet. Need to wait another day.

March 17

Grass installed. Three sprinker heads are buried under the grass. I need it watered, so I dug them out. The middle sprinkler is so deep I had to cap it and let the other outside sprinklers do the job of watering the center. My wife has asked about a box of rock for the spa that was leftover.

March 18

Builder brought the rock and brought a drain cover for one of the deck drains that was missing.

From here a bit of landscaping corrections that are around the pool but not pool related. Now just waiting for the weather so we can use the actual pool. Water temperature is 57 degrees.

May 1

Been adding a lot of acid just as I was told I would need to. Pool has been easy to take care of. The only issue is we have a lot of pollen this year so it’s been more work than usual I’m told.

July 14

Been getting a lot of use out of the pool. Heating the spa uses less than a percent of our propane tank. Pool has been perfect chemistry most weeks. Been testing almost every week and never longer that 2 weeks. A bit of acid early on but not much lately. Had to add a scoop or two of shock after a decent rain or lots of people in the pool. I need to remember to be better at adding tabs which is the chlorine.

Some things we have found in the filter: Spiders, three inch piece of plaster, lots of June bugs, frogs, a three foot snake-alive!, mole, the missing cornhole bag, flying ants (we should have removed that damn tree)

Overall. It was stressful, but not more than can be expected.

Timelapse of the pool build. I'll update the finished timelapse at a later date.

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