When we were looking at the house we own right now, I remember looking out the back door when it was being shown to us and thinking how the above-ground pool in the back yard was NOT a selling point. All I could see was maintenance. Well, we ended up with it. It's been ok. We use it. I do maintain it. Mostly.
So, this weekend came the series of unfortunate events leading to the multiple project payload. You know what I'm talking about.
"Hmmmm, that hose is leaking. Well, to fix that I have to drain the pool down. Well, since I'm going to have to do that, I may as well replace the leaky inlet which I've been fighting. Oh, you know since I'm doing that, I really should replace the sand in the filter." This is where misery is born.
You see, you're supposed to replace that sand every few years. Well, it's been a few years since we moved in and the previous owner didn't exactly take care of the pool. The neighbors have told me stories involving tree-rats doing the bloated back-stroke and Swamp Thing colored water. I can only imagine what has gone through that filter.
The purchase of the supplies was much less painful than I expected. Therefore, I left the pool supply store much more optimistic than I had any right to be. I decided to start early in the morning on the project instead of working in 103F heat. I'm silly that way. Still, it was HOT.
The inlet replacement was pretty simple. Hoses took no time to attach. I'm cranking along, super-happy with myself. So, then I took the valve off of the filter and gazed into the abyss. I would spend the next few hours lounging down there with Faust wanting to go in halvsies on the deal he made just to end this thing.
There is 200 pounds of sand in that filter. That's dry weight. This sand is wet. Very wet. Let's top that with the fact that there is a PVC pipe that comes all the way to the opening of the filter, which is already small. I can barely fit my hand through. I started shoveling with the little plastic cup that I had. That lasted a very short time. I've learned some things in life. Don't ignore the voice telling you when you're doing something stupid. It's always right. Also, taking time to find a better solution always beats wasting a lot of time doing something and then trying to find a better solution.
I stopped pretty quick and headed to my parents' house to get their shop-vac. My thoughts were this: I would use their old shop-vac and if the vacuuming of sand burned it up, I would get them a brand new one. Better than buying a new one and finding out the hard way.
Back to the house with the sucker. Things went quite swimmingly until I got down to where the really wet stuff was. Sadly, I was just starting to get that loving feeling back. That's when the sand started actually filling up the hose. Luckily, I had buckets of water I had collected when I drained the pool. What's a good idea? Sucking some of that up to clean the hose. What's a bad idea? The one I just had. An even better idea would have been just wrapping tape on that stupid leaky hose that started all this.
So, now I have a very wet, very sand filled shop vac. I'm on the 4th or 5th emptying of the thing and it's getting messy. Oh, and really heavy. So, the decision has to be made to either empty it a lot or blow a gasket every time I empty it. I emptied it a lot. A whole lot. At this point I can't get the sand out of the bottom of the pool filter. The pipe goes down and fits to a bunch of spokes that I can't get the hose under. You know what did fit under it? My hand. My now very raw hand. Scraping a bunch of wet sand into a hose has what I will call an exfoliating affect.
Finished sucking! Now, haul the new sand to the back of the house. Fifty pound bags of sand. I'm reminded of hauling a bunch of cattle feed. Feel the burn.
So, the project is finally complete.