Over the course of the next two weeks, the dog alarm went off between 7:00 and 8:00 each morning, heralding the arrival of yet another team of workers. First, they put in the tile. It looked alarmingly tacky against the dull gray interior of the unfinished pool:
But the stone wall looked gorgeous:
Most evenings, we had an assortment of neighborhood children (plus Lola) hanging out in the pool:
We also had quite a few grownups dropping by to comment on the pool's progress, both our immediate neighbors and a few strangers. Who knew that getting a pool would be a good way to meet the neighborhood? Maybe they'll come swim with us soon.
After the stone wall came the lovely brown sugar coping around the border of the pool:
The most beautiful curves are on the back side, where no one will ever see them once the new fence goes up.
The next part was pretty interesting. They built the forms for the deck and the stairs, and then a BUNCH of guys carted in wheelbarrows of cement.
Before the concrete dried, they laid little red doormat-looking things on top to create a rock texture. Here was the end result:
At this point, Allyson took a few shots of her own, and the whole family continued to mess around in and around the pool.
Yesterday Bill was able to stop his twice daily pool watering because they finally put on the plaster. They blew in waves of blue goop, which sometimes came out in bubbly spurts and sometimes flowed out like billows of melted marshmallow.
Before they started troweling the plaster, they pulled on funny boots that were attached to little spiked platforms.
This morning, the acid team arrived. Yes, acid. Bill and I watched in fascination as they fashioned head coverings out of what looked like old T-shirts and then covered those with hats, goggles, and gas masks.
"Quick, go take some pictures!" I told Bill.
"I'm not going out there and breathing those fumes. You go get the pictures if you want them."
"I'm not wearing a bra," I answered.
"I'll go out in a little bit," he promised.
I wanted a picture of the box labeled, "Caution! Hydrochloric Acid!", so I took a picture through the kitchen window, but a cloud of noxious fumes obscured the view.
True to his word, Bill did venture out to take pictures a few minutes later. He stood by the shed and watched as two men sprayed acid and one man followed behind them spraying water.
When they were finished, the smooth surface had eroded away to reveal the quartz crystals embedded in the plaster. The resulting color variation gives the color more depth, and the crystals make the finish much more durable. And to my relief, the tile now looks beautiful between the coping and the wall. Whew!
After they left, we finally started to pour in the 15,000 gallons of water!
|That's a Coke Bottle Taped to the Nozzle to Make it Float|
The hose has been running for 12 hours, now, and the water is about three feet from top. We have to leave the water on even after we go to bed; otherwise, there will be a permanent ring at the demarcation between wet plaster and dry.
With any luck, the "pool school" guy will come out tomorrow and turn on the chlorinator, ozonator, and mineral dispenser, and then we can swim! (Don't tell the kids, but Bill and I actually waded around in the bottom after Ethan left for school and before Allyson woke up.)
What About Lola?
Are you wondering how Lola's been doing with all these strangers in our backyard? Surprisingly well. She barks her head off when they first arrive, but that's actually good since it lets us know they're here (and then I can run upstairs and get dressed). Then we typically lock her in her run, which cuts down on her barking for some reason.
The other day, though, she managed to escape from her enclosure. The man who was putting the mastic in between the coping and the deck phoned me from his car and asked me to put the dog back up. "Did you let her out?" I asked, mystified.
"No, I thought you did."
"Come on, Lola!" I said, and she trotted obediently at my heels through the dewy grass. "Oh, you naughty dog!" I exclaimed when I saw where she had pulled the metal ties loose from the bottom of the gate. "How did you squeeze your big body through that tiny hole?"
She just wagged her tail and gave me a funny grin.
"Well get back in there!" I tried to slam the gate, but it was too flimsy. I pulled the latch down with a firm click. "And this time stay there."
Returning to the banana muffins I was trying to bake, I informed Allyson she was on dog duty. "You tell me right away if she gets back out."
I had scarcely dropped one spoonful of batter into the muffin tin when Allyson announced excitedly, "Lola's back out! You naughty dog!!"
I groaned. There was nothing to do except lock her in the garage until the man was through. Since it had been drizzling all morning, the temperature was delightfully cool, so this would not be a death sentence as it would have been the day before. But it did mean muddy dog prints and wiry dog hairs all across my shiny wood floor.
I know, she's just doing her job. I feel much safer.