Saturday, February 23, 2013


Drain the pool

When we closed the pool in September, we were told that we would need to drain some additional water out later in the year to prevent damage to the pool.  The goal is to avoid getting the water level high enough to enter the pump outlet lines and freeze, or freeze at the level of the tiles and pop them off the wall of the pool.  We promptly forgot these instructions, fast forward to a recent snowfall.  I was standing at the back door, enjoying a cup of coffee and watching Molly frolic in the snow...and noticed there was a perimeter of snow around the edge of the pool cover and not in the middle.  We pulled the cover back and the water level was well into the tile work.  Thankfully the weather had been pretty mild so we weren't in total danger of major pool damage, but we did need to fix the problem.  Luckily Home Depot rents serious submersible pumps, but they were super suspicious about needing to drain a pool in late December:
  • "Yes we know, this isn't the right time to fix the problem"
  • "Yes, we're novices at pool maintenance"
  • "Yes, we're technically grown ups"
The level we were told to shoot for was level with the surface of the second step down on the steps at the shallow end.  The pump came with a 50' hose, which wasn't nearly long enough to reach the curb.  We ran the hose as directly as we could (under the fence) to the curb and supplemented the length with two downspout extenders.
Fence being propped up with a log so as not to puncture the hose

The definition of a "kludge"

I threw a piece of moldy plywood from the kitchen wall
reno demolition under the last downspout extender to
cover the last bit of lawn to the curb
Christmas gifts

Matt and I managed to say that we were not getting each other gifts...and actually stuck to it.  The trip to India counted as anniversary/Christmas/birthday gifts.  Despite this, we still think this was our favorite Christmas on the books so far.  We are slowly paring down the number of houses we have to visit from 7 (2010, spent 100+ miles in the car according to Google Maps), to 6 (2011), to 5 this year - a manageable number that my mother says won't decrease until we have kids and can start laying down the law.

We got some great gifts from our families!  A meat grinder from my mom, a dehumidifier from Matt's parents, and some renovating cash from my dad.

Perhaps a little too enthusiastic about
grinding some pork for breakfast sausage
Poised for continuous drainage into the
sump pump pit.

Lost Earring

I cleverly dropped an earring down the sink - thank goodness for "P" traps!  We are now a professionals at retrieving earrings, as Matt and I took apart a sink at my mothers house on our wedding day because I dropped an earring I was supposed wear that day into it.  Not tricky, but you can't help but feel like a bone head for dropping the earring in the first place.

I'll call these my plumbing pajamas
Bonus points if you can see the earring

Removing The Electrical Line From The Old Oven

After removing the old wall oven, we had a floating 220V line and temporarily threw some wire caps on the end (and left its breaker off) We decided it would be best to remove the line entirely, and free up 2 breaker spots in our circuit panel. We ripped out the staples securing the line, and unscrewed the line from the breaker giving us a free 30A 220V breaker, or if removed two 15A 110V's.

Light Switch Timer

We have four light switches by our front door, the first of which controls the light on the front porch.  It would be ideal to have the light controlled by a timer so we don't have to turn it on or remember to turn it off at night.  Timers require an opening big enough for a toggle switch, not a traditional light switch.  We needed to use the internet to buy a 4-gang switch plate cover with one toggle opening and three switch openings.

We tried a few timers before finally finding the right one. We ended up using a nice programmable digital timer, the Intermatic ST01. We are using an LED light bulb so we needed one that specifically had a relay inside (most of the cheaper ones use something called "PWM" to turn the light on and off), but this won't work for LEDs.

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