This was all actually the over the two days before my first post, but I’ve put off writing this for a couple reasons. First of all, I was really embarrassed by my behavior as a mother and wife. I did say, however, that you’d get the dirty of it. I’m going to try to focus on the logistics and the funny of it, though. Second, I didn’t take pics of every single step. I’m 99.9% sure that you can manage with what’s here assuming there aren’t 100,000 other tutorials on the web. I only posted it because if you are preparing to start a Summer Escapes pool set up, that quick set pool just may not be so quick, and you need to know that story, too.
Step One: Choose a site. This is tricky. The manual instructs you to just set the liner up on the grass. It says a level site, but there is no instruction for leveling a site, and there should be no more than 1-2 inches of water on any side without the center of the pool beginning to fill. Can you imagine having to readjust your site over and over after it starts filling? Surely it must not be too picky a thing or there would be more instruction than that. Right? Wrong. If you go this route you will need to completely pick up the liner as you move it (never drag it). And as I found out you may just tote the thing for miles before you ever find such a level spot. I imagined some magical world where somewhere in my fifteen and a half acre plot there would be ten stinkin level feet. Oh, how wrong I was. There are plenty of other specifications too…such as distance between the pool and buildings and power supplies. In my case there was also a husband who didn’t want it anywhere I said, but couldn’t zero in a spot himself. If that’s your case, too…hang in there. It will get way worse than him just not wanting to talk about anymore. Then it will get way better.
Step Two: Level the ground!!! Don’t waste your time trying to find the perfect level spot. Meet the distance between stuff requirements and level the perfect spot. I started out all wrong, trying to graze the topsoil off of the high side. Fact of the matter is that’s kinda like trimming bangs…a little off this side, than that side. Oops.. a little deep, more off the first side. I would’ve had an in-ground pool by the time I was done!!! My husband rescued me from myself and rototilled the area a couple feet larger than we needed, and we used a rake the drag the clumps out. Of course, first I had to throw an epic tantrum…my three year old daughter would’ve been taking notes if she could write. My husband didn’t want to do it right then, for good reason (turns out) and couldn’t tell me enough that I was going about it all wrong. While I was bent on surprising my oldest when he returned from an over night school thing, he was thinking that it would be cold the whole next week (guess I should occasionally watch the news…It was 85+ degrees the whole week leading up to this, but sure enough…) So, if you’re following my exact steps make sure your in-laws are there, have a huge fit, admit you do actually need his help, then remove the sod (not advocating fit throwing, but we were actually doing now). It took about three rounds of tilling/raking sod, until by the third pass the clumps were too small to be caught by the rake and I got on all fours and just picked the last of them out.
Just take a sake for a funny tidbit…I had helped send my oldest sons class off for the school thing and was still sporting my “visitor” badge during all this. Right in the heat of it all my husband bent down to my youngest son and said calmly, “Don’t worry. She’s only visiting.” My boy was confused but I couldn’t help coming out of my anger and laughing! It sounded like, “Don’t worry. This mean ol’ blank will leave and Mommy will come home soon…” I came back right then. I love humor.
Back to work… the sod was out…now we actually had to level it! I had only the night before decided to try my hand at blogging, so the practice of snapping photos of everything hadn’t rooted yet. This is when I started.
My husband has a pretty substantial collection of junk, and sometimes it comes in handy. He walked up to the scrap pile and found a short piece of rebar that he’d apparently used for a hitch pin sometime or another (based on the way it was bent), and some other piece of something that had a hole the rebar would fit through, and attached it to a 6 foot length of 4×4(Our pool is 10 foot, so that gave us an extra foot all the way around. He drove the rebar in the ground where we (yes, we’re working together now-even got the in-laws involved) wanted the center to be, then slid the hole of the miscellaneous metal thing over it. If you don’t have a huge pile of junk you’ve griped about for years, you might have to buy something for this. I would suggest drilling a hole in your board and still trying to find a rod of some kind that is (or can be) bent to keep the board from popping up and off of it. The pictures show the contraption but we had to flip the board over to get it to “ride” good. It really didn’t pop up much after that unless it hit a huge clod we missed, so if you can’t bend your rod don’t worry. We attached some doubled up twine (any rope will do-the twine was a little flimsy, just what I saw first) to a bent nail on the opposite end and starting walking in circles. You could duck tape a level to it, but it would’ve took me time to find the tape, and by this time we had my oldest back home (no, it wasn’t done, but it was close enough that he was excited) and the kids were ready to pull. We just checked it occasionally.
So round and round they went, all the while we stopped to pick up extra little bits of sod and anything else that would get caught up against the board until we were satisfied with the way the level read all the way around. Then we all lined up and started walking. We probably walked two miles within a ten foot round area. The area became more and more packed down until finally….We were ready to put up the pool!!!!!!!
Step Three: Breathe, you’re just about done! I didn’t take pics (I’ll do better I promise!) but it was super simple. The uprights join together with tees then have a pin that holds them in place. Weave the pieces through the straps in the side first, then the rail pieces through the top sleeves. Snap it all together (you should probable at least glance at your instructions…thoroughly) and Voila!! Just add water! A little bit at least.
After the first three or four inches (yay…the center was starting to fill before the second inch) I took the polar plunge. Well, me and all my kids. I tried several tactics to get the wrinkles out until I finally kicked the kids out and got down on all fours again. I planted my feet as best I could and shoved with my hands out from the center toward the sides. You know, you can in fact drown in four inches of water!! At least a few times my hands slid out and I went face down!! Just be careful and do this yourself…your kids will want to help but not this time. The wrinkles came out and our smooth bottomed pool was ready to finish filling!!!!
Make sure you use something (chlorine tablet) to control the algae as the filter will not keep the bottom clean. I also invested ($15) in the same high fashion branding of water hose attachment for cleaning the bottom. Did I mention I got this 10 foot round by 3 foot deep pool on clearance last fall for around $35? Considering it didn’t end up costing me my marriage after all I think I got a pretty good deal.
Quick Note: A few months back when we decided to get the inter-web we set a few ground rules, one of which being that we would never openly share pics of our kids.
UPDATE: Last night was Friday and we actually swam in the pool!! My husband was right…it was too cold all week…but it was already there and set up yesterday when it warmed up so I’m glad after all that we got it done last weekend. It was so sweet after they came in to see my oldest son and daughter snuggled on the couch waiting for dinner! Gotta love the exhaustion it will bring to your kids (…they’re just too tired to fight!)!