Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On a Pool Cover Part 2

"The Year of Spider Man" concluded:

"So... how are you getting it off there?"


That was a good question. I was basking in my pool cover actually being suspended in the air above the pool to dry, and I hadn't even really thought about getting it down.

Well, I could get it down easily enough - back into the pool. But the whole point was to get it down dry. Dry.


I decided to marshal the troops. Shortish, youngish, smallish troops who somewhat resemble me. I positioned them on either far end of the cover to hold it up as one side of the cover was released from its rope web attachment to the fence.

Did I mention that the cover is heavy?

I must not have learned much from the previous year's attempt at lifting the cover. One year's growth hadn't increased the family horsepower enough to keep the cover lifted. As I loosened the web of suspension, despite the valiant efforts of all involved, gravity - the Kryptonite of this process - inexorably dragged the cover back onto (and into) the pool.

By the time I extricated the entire cover from my web the whole cover was more or less (really more) thoroughly re-wetted. I and my troops draped and re-draped it over the fence and left it to dry as best it could. Eventually I dragged it onto the yard for folding and then storing when my family was off erranding somewhere. And I slunk back into my house to lick my wounds.

I was however able to earn a (slight) commendation from my lovely wife: "How on earth did you lift the cover onto that shelf by yourself?" I chose to take that to mean that I was wonderfully strong and, well, really strong and, well, I don't know, but it was the only remotely encouraging part of that year's episode with the cover.

Year Three, or "The Year of the Sort-of-Tight Rope:"

I started hearing, "Daddy, when are we going to open the pool?" in early April. By the end of April it began to feel like a road trip, "Daddy, is time yet?" "Daddy, how warm does in need to be to open the pool?" "Can we swim today?" "Well, when can we swim?" "Daddy, it's warm enough, I won't be cold" "Are we there yet?" "Are we there yet?" "Daddy, I need to use the bathroom"

Ok, all but the last one or two or three.

One warm afternoon I decided that the cover's time had come. Only I hadn't thought much about the process this time, not that thinking had helped me much the last two years anyway. It occurred to me that at the end of last year we had draped the cover over the fence to finally let it dry. But the pool fence is so short that the cover had to be repeatedly folded over. What if I rigged a rope over the fence line, but much higher than the fence line, kind of a clothes line on steroids?

Yeah, that could work. The cover would be off the pool, but would dry vertically - not taking up any yard space!

I rounded up two long 2x4's, a couple of those garage organizing hooks with the large wood threads made to screw into rafters, two pulleys, some 1/2 inch diameter nylon rope and two of those ratcheting shipping straps. I didn't even try to explain my plan this time, but as I was dragging my collection over to the pool deck I did get a raised eyebrow and a "when there is something we can help with, let me know" from my wife.

I screwed one organizing hook into one end of each 2x4 and attached a pulley to each hook. I then ran my rope through each pulley and used the shipping straps attach my 2x4's to fence posts on opposite ends of the pool. Using my pulleys and some creatively knotted loops, I pulled my rope line to where it was hanging just above the fence. Good enough.

I started disconnecting the cover from the pool deck, and which triggered an immediate, "can we go swimming now?" Soon I had most of my troops arrayed and we dragged the cover off the pool and started pulling it over my improvisational clothes line.

Did I mention that the pool cover is heavy?

My rope immediately sagged onto the fence. No problem, I yanked on my pulley system some more to put more tension on the rope and raise it a up a bit. Each time more cover was pulled over the rope, gravity would pull it down, and I would tighten it more. Then I happened to look up and saw the Achilles Heel of my contraption: one of the organizing hooks was bent almost to breaking and the hook's threads were about to pull out of the wood altogether. I took that to mean that I shouldn't tighten the rope any further.

My wonderful clothes line started out at about 9 feet high on each end, and ended up about at about 4 feet one inch high in the middle. Or in other words, my wonderful contraption had gained me a whole inch of height compared to just draping the cover over the fence to begin with.

Oh well.

Instead of re-draping the cover over the line (which would have finished yanking the hook out of the wood) I allowed the cover to run out on the pool deck on one side and onto some of the yard on the other. I had also failed to wash it while it was on the pool, so I washed it as it was. Let it dry overnight, folded it up and -with the help of my beautiful bride- stuffed it on the top shelf in the shed the following evening.

The children rejoiced and went swimming, or more accurately they rejoiced, jumped in the pool and then screamed "It t ts, c c c c ooooo ld d d d."

Ahhh, the sound's of almost summer.


5Ingrams said...

I would have LOVED to have been there to see Trisha's raised eyebrow. I can picture it quite easily! What fun the Pace's have!

Rob said...

We would have loved you to be here too.

Hope the European countryside is continuing to treat you well.