Pregnant women are not always logical – especially in the heat of summer when the baby is due in August. This was the case when I decided we needed to install a pool.
A pool had been a lofty dream for us. My husband and I had each grown up with pools and wanted one for our home … someday. But in the middle of a 90-degree, 80% humidity heat wave, I decided to peruse Craigslist and see what above ground pools were available.
When I found a 24-foot one for free, I jumped on it. All we had to do was disassemble it ourselves. It was just the frame – no filter and the liner was long gone, but we thought it was a steal. And 6-month pregnant me was more than willing to grab a screwdriver and help hubby disassemble the beast – even in the middle of the aforementioned heat wave. We discovered several wasps nests among the equipment, so there were times when hubby was taking a part the pool and I was protecting him with a garden hose. It took the two of us six hours and a full case of water bottles to take the thing down and get it loaded into our cars.
But I was happy. We had a pool – sort of.
Fast forward two weeks and I’m searching Craigslist again looking for pool filters and a pool ladder, etc. I find another pool. This one was not free and would cost $600, but came with the filter and ladders (really nice ladders). It also required that we take it down ourselves.
After talking to hubby, he was convinced this was a good deal and after some price negotiations, we took it for $500. This time we had help taking the pool down and the heat wave was over — but it rained … ALL DAY. It still took five hours to take down this pool and move it to our house. No wasps this time – but lots of scary, BIG spiders.
We decided to list the first pool and see if we could get any money for it to offset the cost of this other pool purchase. It sold in a week for $100 (which means hubby and I worked for less than minimum wage to take that sucker down).
The next step was to level the ground. We started using shovels and a pick ax, but our Hudson Valley clay was a nightmare to dig up. After a week and a half of digging we were far from done and I started growing concerned that the baby would come before the pool was up.
So we broke down and rented a backhoe for a day at $300.
Next we had to lay and level the foundation blocks around the edge of where the pool would go. Foundation blocks $100.
Here’s where costs really started sneaking in. Once the foundation blocks were in, we had to buy sand for the bottom of the pool. To cut down on the amount of sand we would have to purchase, we ordered foam underlayment to provide extra cushioning and protection for the liner.
Foam underlayment: $100.
The pool liner ended up being about $300. We ordered a thicker liner with a longer warranty, but we also ordered one of the cheapest designs we could find.
Then it was time to gather our friends together to help us set up the pool so we provided breakfast (donuts) and lunch (pizza) for them as a thank you for their free labor – $50.
Finally, it was time for the water. We have a well and septic on our property and the summer had been pretty dry. We knew we couldn’t fill the pool with our water without risking our well, so I called around for pricing to fill the pool. The lowest bid I received – $800. (This was when I had my first heart attack.)
Pool supplies and replacement parts for pieces on the filter and our initial chemical purchases was over $250.
But we’re not done yet.
We also had the permit fee for the town – $140.
Then we got the quotes for the electrical work to run wiring out to the pool for the filter and convenience outlet required by code — $2,000!
This was about the point I broke down crying and apologized to my husband for being the crazy pregnant lady who insisted on a pool when we had so many other high-priority projects that our money should be going to. But the wonderful man that he is, he took the blame off of me and said he wanted a pool too and promised to google how to run the electrical himself – which he did for about $350.
Then we had the electrical inspection – $125.
The final item was the purchase of top soil. When we leveled the ground for the pool, we ended up with a bit of a steep cliff at one end of the pool. We purchased 4 cubic yards of top soil to level things out – another $250 including delivery.
So that’s the story of my
free $500 $3,465 pool. Yikes! If I knew in the beginning how much it was going to cost us, I would not have done it. Hindsight is 20/20.
The bright side was that it was up before the baby came and I spent five glorious weeks in the refreshing water until I gave birth.
Now I’m looking forward to next summer.