How many trips to the home improvement store does it take to complete a project?
It really depends on the job being done.
Take, for instance, the small job my husband and I did last week. The plunger that enables us to backwash our pool had gotten stuck and we were literally shoving water down the drain each night the pump ran. Now, we’d replaced the o-rings before so we knew exactly how big a pain in the a** it would be.
But we were off and the weather was cool and it was wasting water therefore we decided to do it. Off to the pool store we went and purchased a small package containing all the o-rings God and man made for the plunger. Next, we went outside and stared at the pool equipment before deciding the next day would be better for working on the pool.
The next day came all too soon and we went back outside. Now, anyone can look up online and see how the replacement of the rings is supposed to go. Unscrew a couple of screws then twist and turn the plunger until presto the thing come out and you can replace the rings. What the helpful b@stards don’t tell you it that the rings become swollen/deformed/stretched/possessed by the devil, so the handy-dandy lying fathead method of twisting and turning gets you a snapped off handle and a trip to the garage to look for something to grab ahold of the stupid stick.
Been there, done that.
Never plan on taking that trip again.
So instead of following the bogus advice, we started out with the hard way. For those whose every action is surrounded by rainbows, cotton candy and unicorns, the hard way involves grunting, swearing, bargaining with God and a few dirty looks as to who actually thought a pool was such a good idea anyway.
Here’s how it went:
“We have to pull the filter back then to the side.” Said filter is its own quantum singularity, possessing more mass than is possible for its size. “Yeah. Um, you push; I’ll pull.” Picture a tangle of arms and legs as my husband and I both try find a grip on the filter from hell. “On the count of three. One. Two. Three.” Veins pop. Muscles protest. My spine threatens mutiny. But the filter moves back half an inch and water gushes out where the filter connects to the backwash assembly. (Now for all of you who know a bit about pools, we did not open the filters plug because we didn’t want to lose all the sand we’d put in last year) So there:P
“THis is good. It’ll be lighter.”
Lighter being subjective in the universe.
After ten minutes, the water has stopped draining and we’re ready to try again. Now our sneakers are squelching in the mud and every push/pull shoves us deeper into the muck. But it’s chlorinated muck, so it’s clean. Also relative in the universe. After a half hour and a completely useless dolly whose wheels sunk up to their axles into the mud, we have it in place.
Now the games begin. It starts with a useless head lamp–because you can’t look down the hole while shining the light down because there’s not enough room. Using our fingers and an Xacto knife, we find the ring and try to cut the o-ring while it’s snug in it’s groove. After a few minutes, my husband goes to the garage to forage for a piece of metal to hook the ring. Miracle of miracles, he manages it on the first time then snips it with the scissors. Now he has to go back to the garage to get a pair of needle-nose pliers to grab the clipped o-ring. Returning, he grabs hold of the end and pulls while I spin the plunger. Out it comes. Yippee!
And, to add a cherry to the day, we can now remove the plunger assembly just like directed on the internet. Life is good. The new o-rings were added, the thing greased and quick as you please, everything goes back together.
All that’s left is shoving the filter back in place. The awkward shifting is accomplished with the help of ropes to give us more leverage and soon we’re tightening the connections and turning on the pump.Water sprays from the expected plunger assembly until my husband tightens the compression joints. But then leaks start at the dead salt cell.
No amount of tightening stops the flood. So off goes the pump.
“What do you want to do?”
Since shooting myself or the equipment is out of the question, I opt for plan be. “Screw it. Let’s take out the cell. We’re not using it anyway.”
“Okay.” Hubby returns from a trip to the garage with a hacksaw. “Where?”
“Here.” I indicate a spot passed the salt cell’s sensors.He saws through the pipes then off we go to the home improvement store.
Trip#1–a length of two-inch pipe, two elbows, two connectors, cleaner for the pipe, and special cement for poolshome again, measure and cut (this time with a saw’s all for squarer cuts). Then a dry fit to make sure everything works. Dismantling everything, I open the cleaner, but it isn’t cleaner–it’s cement. Sh!t. A quick trip to the garage unearths a bottle with a bit of cleaner still inside. Score. Outside, we clean the ends then open the special cement for pools.
“Uh, is it supposed to look like set Jell-o?”
“No, it’s supposed to look like snot. See?” Hubby opens up the cement I accidentally purchased and shows off the appropriate consistency.
Trip#2-exchange Jell-o cement for snot-like cement. I tell the lady at the counter that I plan to open the tin to make sure it’s good. Knock yourself out.
Walking passed the joints to get to the cement, I remark, “You know, since we’re here we should get the pieces to repair that other part that is leaking.”
“Since we’re here.”
Except here doesn’t have a piece that will reduce a 2 inch pipe to 1 and 1/2″ pipe. “We’ll hit the other home improvement store across the road on the way home.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Out we go with our tin of snotty cement.
No reducer at the next store, but the gray cells in my head are clicking to life and there’s these things called bushings… If I insert one into a connector, I get a reducer. Don’t judge me, at least I got it.
I pick up a connector and a bushing and off we go.We assemble the pieces with the nice new glue then put them into place. Next we take off the joint that was leaking. And I measure from the old piece for the new piece when I realize that I need one more connector.
Trip#3-(because the side trip to the second home improvement store doesn’t count. My husband called it.) We pick up a connector, then look for Goop to clean our hands–which no one carries–but we did find handwipes for plumbers which did a fantastic job of cleaning the dirty grease off.
Home again and I measure the size based on the piece we’d taken off. yeah. After assembling it I go to put it in place and realize the stupidity of my actions. But was I going to make another trip to the hardware store? Not if I could help it. So with a little jostling, swearing and bargaining with God, I managed to get it on with enough overlap to get a good seal and let it sit overnight. The next day, I turned on the pump. No leaks!
So it only took three trips to fix the pump. That’s a record I hope never to break.