Monday, 22 June 2009

Pool of tears

I gotta tell ya, I'm a woman on the edge. I can feel it. I'm like a pressure cooker and am about to blow. I cannot deal with anymore stuff going wrong. What is it about this year? So far in the space of the last two months we've had:

- our kettle died - new one needed
- our microwave died - new one needed
- our washingmachine died (but could at least be fixed instead of replaced)
- our dishwasher has begun leaking (this problem has so far been ignored)
- our roof started leaking requiring us to rethatch it for a cool £13 000
- the three year old decided that the rotary washing line made an excellent swing and has broken it. New one needed, not yet bought.
- the kids needed new beds as trying to squeeze a five year old into a cot bed just wasn't working. So new ones had to be bought
- the phone died and had to be replaced
- the printer cartridges for the printer I have (which isn't THAT old) are no longer being made. This means I will very soon need a new printer
- my computer is so old and slow that it gasps along at a 1995 pace. I'm ignoring this because I cannot afford a new one
- but topping the list of things that have gone wrong is the swimming pool.

If you ever buy a house, no matter how lovely the house is, DO NOT BUY IT IF IT HAS A SWIMMING POOL. Not unless you or your partner are a swimming pool engineer.

Our pool was built in the early 80s. Everything about it needed to be overhauled (including the fence around it). We have until now ignored this because pools are expensive. VERY.

But given the forecasts for a hot summer, we thought it was high time we fixed it. So we got a man what does to come and fix it. And he did. And I paid him £1200 of your British Pounds for the priviledge. For one glorious (yet rain filled) week the pool worked (we didn't go in it because of the rain and cool temperatures so the fact that it worked sort of passed us by).

This weekend I had to backwash the pool. I followed the instructions given to me. Except, one of the vital instructions (which was told to husband, not me) was that the backwash hose must be kept straight with no kinks in it. Unbeknownst to me, husband had mown the lawn and had curled the hose up. Husband hadn't passed either of these facts onto me. So I backwashed the pool and low and behold, the fitting holding the hose in burst. Costly mistake number 1.

Then I attempted to empty the leaf basket, as per the instructions. I did this but noticed as I was doing it that it meant plenty of air was getting into the system. The man wot fixes pools had managed to get all the air out. But I didn't know how else to empty the basket without opening it and letting air in.

Anyway, I then tried to manually vacuum the pool. This worked for about 1 minute before the suction went - exactly as it had done before I paid £1200 to have it fixed. I guessed it must be air in the system. Husband came and helped to bleed the system. It still wouldn't suck. So I resorted to the automatic cleaner instead.

The automatic cleaner got stuck, so while I attempted to move it to the shallow end, a pipe came undone. So I had to turn the cleaner off to get it back on. Once reattached, I went back into the shed of evil (as I've now come to call it) and turned it all back on again. But apparently I turned something on in the wrong order. I still don't know quite what.

In a split second, the filter lid cracked open and sprayed water everywhere. I hit the 'TURN EVERYTHING OFF AND PANIC SWITCH' and ran to call husband for help. (You might be wondering right now why he isn't in charge of the pool as this is obviously a boy job. Good question. One I have asked myself many, many times. Answer is still awaited). Husband took one look at the cracked lid and proceeded to have a strop. Rightly so. I had in the space of 20 minutes managed to break three things that before I got there were all working well.

He stropped. I wept. I stropped. We all ignored the pool. We didn't have a happy father's day.

This morning I called the pool man. I explained, rather embarrassed, about the littany of disasters that had taken place. I could hear him rolling his eyes down the phone.

Now here's the really, really good bit. Our type of filter no longer exists. It is obsolete. The chances of finding a spare part for the bit that has cracked is roughly equivalent to our chances of winning the lotto, which would incidentally solve all of our problems.

The man said he would call around and hunt for the proverbial needle in the haystack, but we'd probably need to buy a new filter. Filters are not cheap. They are vast pieces of machinery that probably easily cost the same as a pleasant weekend mini break to Paris, including a champagne dinner.

But without one, the pool cannot function. At all. So we can either pay for this new piece of kit or just ignore the pool altogether and laugh off the £1200 already invested in it. I'm all for filling it in or turning it into a fish pond or emptying it out and making it a skate boarding pit.

I have no money left. Nothing. Not a penny. The tax man will be expecting a small cheque from me by the end of this week and he might just have to have a tear filled telephone call from me instead.


I don't like being a grown up.


Home Office Mum said...

Since posting this, I've had several other lovely things happen:

- I spoke to the pool man. He said no-one has the spare part. We have to buy a new filter. That's not the worst of it. Because the filter will be different, it will require all the pipework to be changed again, despite it all having been put in one week ago. This will cost me somewhere around the £500 mark (but probably more).

- I forgot that I was meant to be parent helper at the pre-school today - so caught up in the pool drama was I - and I now feel utterly shit about letting them down

- My aged pc that really ought to be replaced but can't due to pool et al just decided to prove its age by crashing midway through a newsletter I was writing for a client and which obviously I hadn't saved so I now need to start again.

I had declared that this week would be alcohol and chocolate free but I fear this resolution might not last.

nappy valley girl said...

Oh dear. What a terrible tale and what a sh*te week you have had.

It does sound like a real drain on your resources; maybe fill it in and get a big paddling pool instead?

katyboo1 said...

Turn it into an Italian Sunken Garden a la Blue Peter and never speak of it again.

If I were you I would be having wine/chocolate spritzers with a side loading of gin by now.

Poor you.xx

Home Office Mum said...

Thanks Nappy Valley and Katyboo. I am so very sorely tempted to do as you suggest - paddling pool or sunken garden sound far more appealing. I am attempting to don my sunny disposition today and will hopefully feel less overwhelmed by it all.

Helen said...

Oh dear, and I thought I had it bad... Pools are a royal pain in the you know where - I got home yesterday to the symphony of the shot ball bearings in our filter! At least it is working. I never learnt how to backwash either, but we do have a pool boy come in twice a week (the advantages of living in a third world economy) and I limit myself to adding chlorine and turning the filter on when I feel the water needs it! Can't you find a second hand filter like the one you have? That might be cheaper and you wouldn't have to change the pipework. Sorry about all the other probs too - I know how you feel!! I also ignored the dishwasher when it began to leak and after observing it and cleaning up afterwards a couple of times, I realized that certain pieces of cutlery or plates were causing it to leak - problem solved!!

BoozleBox said...

Lord - there's nothing one can possibly say to that whole experience except *enter expletive of your choice*. If it's any consolation my house seems to eat money too. I'm so sick of replacing things around the house because they fail. Why can't you buy something and it just keeps working for God's sake? Hope things get better soon :-)

Home Office Mum said...

Thanks Helen and Boozlebox. Things are looking slightly sunnier a few days in but I still think we'll be eating dry bread and spit for some time to come. Sigh.

bevchen said...

Oh my God, what an awful, awful time you've been having. Hope things have started to improve!

Anonymous said...

Oh no, what a nightmare. This run of expensive bad luck and broken down things can't possibly last forever. The upward turn has to start soon, maybe with a lottery win on Saturday, possibly!

Welsh Girl said...

I say turn it into one of those freshwater pond things that you can swim in. They don't need filters, they look pretty and you don't have to clean them (I think). All this to happen after the lottery win of course. I'm sorry life is being so mean. It must mean that good things are coming your way.....