A tired marineIt’s Monday morning and my eyes feel like two pee holes in the snow. My body aches in places I didn’t know existed and my hands feel like two thick hunks of pork shoulder. If left alone for five minutes I would be sound asleep – even if I were standing up. Why all the pain and suffering? Well this weekend was the second weekend in a row for working on outside projects around the house.
Last Weekend
Last weekend I did the initial mow on the yard. The grass and weeds are a little taller than usual and I like to use the bag attachment for the first cut of the season. I chickened out on mowing the hill, but by the time I was done I had 10 bags of leaves, debris and cuttings and we have a small yard. I also transplanted 8 bushes and a small tree. That was a lot of digging and by the end of the weekend, I was spent.

Since last weekend was such a success, I guess I felt the need to “kick it up a notch” as Emeril would say. On Saturday I rented a power washer and a big honkin’ trash pump for Mission: Pool Cleaning. If you recall from last year, cleaning the pool is a major pain in the rump. I had vowed to never let it get dirty like that again, but at the end of the season she simply got away from me. Holly and I went on a short vacation and when I returned, the pool had a green cast. I tried to pull it back, but there was no use, so I let her slide into sludge pond mode. After keeping the pool pristine clean through the Spring, Summer and most of Fall, it was a real shame to lose it at the end.

Since I’ve cleaned the pool 3 times now, I’ve developed a routine. First you pump as much water out as you can. That translates into ankle deep water, which you then have to bail with a bucket by hand. When you’re no longer able to fill half of the bucket, in comes the shop vac to suck up what’s left. Although it’s nice to have a machine suck up the water, you still have to dump a super-sized bucket of green super funky water over your shoulder, so it’s no picnic. With the water out, it’s now time to fill bag after bag of slimy leaves and decomposing matter. When all the solids are removed, it’s time to scrub down the entire vinyl liner with Tilex and a hand brush. Lastly, you rinse with fresh water and then shop vac that out and you’re finally ready to fill.

I was not looking forward to this project, but I wanted to get it out of the way so that I can focus on other, more exciting projects. As I stood in the Dixie Rents office, the thought occurred to me, “there HAS to be a better way.” So I talked to the manager a bit about what I was trying to do and what I’ve used in the past. When he mentioned a gas powered pump, my initial thought was that it was way too expensive, but when he said that it would pump close to 200 gallons per minute, I said “Sign me up!” Turns out it was only $30 more per day, so it wasn’t a pocket book killer getting the larger pump.

When I got home, Holly helped me get the pump out of the truck and load it onto a piano dolly. It was too heavy for me to lift by myself, but with Holly’s help, we were able to drag it down the hill to the pool. With everything connected and primed, I cranked the motor and stood back in amazement as water shot out of the exhaust hose into the field behind our house. Since the pump doesn’t actually submerge into the water and the intake hose is round, it meant that I could walk away and let the pump do it’s trick. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having the right tool for the job, and this pump was just that – the right tool.

I had also rented a power washer. Based on my previous experience, I had many hours to work on other things while the pool was drained. My intention was to use the power washer to clean the deck. It’s a project that I got about half way through the first stage over a year ago. My thinking was that the power washer would bring me back to where I was when I stopped cleaning the deck. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the results I was getting, so I had to abandon the project. 🙁 Yet all was not lost! There was plenty of other things that needed cleaning, so I began spraying the driveway and walkway at the front of the house.

I was just done with the steps when I decided to check on the pool. As I made my way to the back, I was expecting to see maybe one quarter of the water gone, but much to my surprise the pool was almost drained! :O I tag teamed between blasting the driveway and checking on the pool until it was done draining. With complete shock and awe, the pool was drained in less than two hours. Not only that, but the water was lower than it had ever been with the other pump. Needless to say, I love this pump!

Holly was out running errands, so I finished up the driveway and also cleaned all the outside furniture to try and make full use of the power washer. With Holly’s help I hopped in the pool and sucked up some more water with the super pump. When all was said and done, that pump had taken out enough water so that I didn’t need to bail! Absolutely amazing. We returned the rented equipment and after a long stop at Wal-Mart, it was too dark to do anything else, so the next phase of the pool had to wait until the next day.

Although I was very tired from all the work on Saturday and even though Daylight Savings Time went into effect that morning, I couldn’t wait to wake up. Why? Because I decided to kick off Daylight Savings Time with an inaugural bicycle ride! 😀 I’ll save my comments about the ride for another entry, but I will tell you that it was a lot of fun and it felt great to be riding again.

When I made it back home, I fired up the lawnmower and mowed the yard, including the hill. I didn’t use a bag this time, but it was still hard work due to that darn hill. I only mow it twice a month in season, but the pitch on that hill feels like I’m trying to mow an alpine cliff. 😛 There wasn’t time to do much else before church, so I hoped in the shower, dressed in some of my “skinny clothes” and headed off to Mass.

After a quick lunch, it was time to tackle the pool again. With my mother’s help, we were able to finish cleaning the pool in about 2 hours. Including the draining, the entire project only took 4 hours. Last year it took 6 hours just to drain it! It was still hard work, so my goal to actually winterize the pool this year still stands. The pool project went better than expected, but winterizing would still be much easier.

This weekend was another gang buster of productivity and I’m ecstatic with the results. The only downside is the state that my body is in right now. I may not have worked out at all last week, but you wouldn’t know it from the way I’m walking and groaning. I’m sore all over, but it’s a good kind of sore. It’s the kind of sore that reminds you off all the good work and success of a completed project that makes it feel somehow worthwhile. I hurt. I’m tired. I’m a “weekend warrior.”