With a non-existent budget for a swimming pond and a very flexible time line, how have we suddenly ended up with a tight deadline to get a hole dug?
If you missed the previous post, hubby and I were “discussing” which excavating guy to use to dig a hole for a factory second fibreglass pool, that was supposedly some weeks away from delivery. Now we’re looking down the barrel of school holidays and a hole that has to be dug in a week. Now while I’m not OCD (don’t say a word, Dad!) I certainly like to be organised. This is NOT organised. This smells suspiciously like trouble. What does trouble smell like? I’ve got three gung-ho daughters! Believe me, trouble has a distinct aroma and it’s in the air right now!
Somehow I lose the argument and get talked into using the expensive, notoriously unreliable “friend” to do the excavation. He tells us when he is going to do the hole.
We talk to the pool guy. He tells us how much sand and cement we will need to go under and around the pool. We work out how much gravel we are going to need for the reed bed. We ring the landscaping supply company and get prices, choke and then organise the delivery of the sand and gravel.
Now, you’re probably wondering why we’re organising gravel when we don’t even have a hole yet. It’s really simple. Despite living on 100 acres, the area immediately around the location of the swimming pond is actually quite tight. Water tanks and the house prevent access from two sides. The third side has large trees, a pergola and a hill. I wanted as many of the landscaping supplies delivered to the correct side of the imminent hole as possible. Sand and cement also need to be delivered to a second position – close to the pond area but in such a way as to allow the excavator and, later on, the crane access to the hole.
Previous owner-building and renovating jobs have taught me to minimise the amount of manual handling of materials. The second important lesson is to not make your tradies cranky. Cranky tradies also have a distinct aroma and it’s not pleasant. It also usually ends up hurting the budget and that is one thing we definitely can’t have. So I’m determined to make sure they have good access when they show up and that everything is ready to go and fully organised. Time is money!
So the excavator is locked in, the deliveries are locked in, the pool guy is locked in and the crane is locked in (directly by the pool guy). I am one-hellava-organised woman!
And then the excavating guy arrives early! Under normal circumstances this would be an awesome achievement. However, the semi-trailer with the sand and gravel hasn’t arrived.
Surprise… surprise – the excavating guy doesn’t want to sit around drinking coffee waiting. “Time is money’, he mutters. So, unable to stall any longer, the engineering specifications are looked at again. The hot pink spray paint comes out, along with a string line. The hole is started. Then he tells me he is going! Que?. I ask if the truck can get across the hole. He makes a “road” to the other side of the hole. Then, fortuitously, the delivery truck arrives.
The driver and the excavator operator give each other the ‘stink-eye’. This is not good. Both of them get in my ear and say a few choice words about the other. I pay for the sand and gravel and send the truck on its way. The excavating guy tells me again he’s finished for the day and heads off too, I want to ask him what he’s going to do for the next seven or eight hours of daylight but bite my tongue. He tells me he’ll be “back tomorrow to finish the job”.
The next day he is back, this time accompanied by his son, who is slightly older than the girls. He explains that his father has died. Que? We ask if he is okay? (Not the father, silly! We were paying attention. We know he’s died. We want to know if our ‘friend’ is OK!) He says he is and that he wants to get the hole finished before the funeral. What can I say? We all handle grief in different ways.
I supervise the kids who alternately fight and play, but the hole gets finished, albeit to a less than ideal finish. We give him the maximum amount of cash we can get out of the ATM on a weekend. He says he’ll come and get his equipment and the rest of the cash early next week.
I ask him to double check all measurements before he goes. He does and tells me the hole is the same as the specifications. “You’re sure?” “Yep – done it often enough to know what I’m doing”.
We have friends and family arriving to stay, so I’m more than happy that the heavy machinery work and associated noise and reverberations are finished. And although we have a great big hole in the yard, at least I don’t need to worry about the kids being backed over by an excavator any more.
So why am I feeling so nervous? Is it that aroma lingering in the air that is unsettling me or am I just imagining it?
Thanks for all your fabulous feedback and encouragement so far. I love it! Don’t forget to share your comments again in box below or I might feel I’m at the bottom of that same hole ?