Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pool Talk

***A long and fairly whiny explanation of why there have been no pool pictures yet this summer***

We have a fairly large in-ground pool in our yard (a definite selling feature when we purchased our house 3 years ago). Last Spring (2010) as we prepared to open the pool we noticed that the liner had torn around one of the jets. Called the pool company in, they recommended vinyl 'welding', which they performed on May 10. $350 for the weld, plus $700 to top up the pool (the water level had to be dropped to below the tear for it to be fixed). It was fine for about a month. Then the water level started dropping. We spent July/ early August trying to keep the pool level high enough to run the pump (having another $350 water load delivered, running our hose as frequently as our poor well pump could manage). Eventually we gave up and closed the pool a good 6 weeks early.

Fast forward to this year. We had the pool people come out, again, in late April to give us a quote for replacing the liner. We discussed and crunched numbers for a week, then called the pool people back to say yes, we were going to go ahead with the replacement. The girl on the phone insisted 'we're not going to do anything until you sign the contract and pay 50% up front' (just like that too). Perhaps that should have been my first clue. Nevertheless we said of course, can you book an appointment for one of the technicians to come out, take the measurements needed, write up the contract, etc. He came out May 13th. Stayed over an hour, so we assumed he'd gathered all of the information he needed. Took a $2,000 deposit (not 50% of the total, just 50% of the cost of the liner) and told us it takes about 2 weeks for the liner to come in from the company at which time they'd call to book an appointment for the installation. Sounded perfect, it'd be ready in plenty of time for summer. Right? Wrong.

2 weeks came and went. Then a third. Then a fourth. I was starting to get anxious. Multiple calls and multiple messages yielded no results. I finally reached someone in person on June 8th (the same snotty girl from above). She said they were missing some measurements and would have to send a technician back out. Uhm, WTF? You haven't even ORDERED the liner yet? You've had my money for 4 weeks!! Oh, she says, well all of this rain has the guys really behind schedule. YOU CAN'T FAX AN ORDER IN THE RAIN??? I stayed calm. She promised to send the technician the following morning (June 9). I told her I couldn't be there, she said no problem, just leave the pool gate unlocked. I said fine, but please have him lock the pool up afterwards (there's still a couple of feet of water in there and lots of small kids in the neighbourhood). She also booked the installation for June 20th.

We got home from work the next day and found the pool gate unlocked. We immediately called the pool people to see whether he'd simply forgotten to lock the gate. Left a message. Left 2 more messages the next day (a Friday). Left 2 more messages Saturday. Left more messages Monday. That evening, at 6:08pm, while I was making dinner, the doorbell rang. An email I sent out directly afterwards:

---OMFG - the pool guy JUST SHOWED UP. TO TAKE MEASUREMENTS!!! I knew he didn't come last week. I'm so angry I could spit nails, that means the liner STILL hasn't been ordered.---

June 13th. Exactly a month after they took the deposit money and 7 weeks after giving us the quote they showed up to take measurements. Not just 'a couple of missing measurements'. THE WHOLE DAMNED POOL! It was their 3rd visit this year, apparently they didn't take measurements when they came to do the quote, nor when they came to write up the contract. Thankfully C dealt with him because I was furious with f-bombs flying. He spent an hour measuring everything, then told us he'd put a rush on the liner and it'd probably be there within a week.

You'd think after that fiasco they'd be quick to call us and keep us abreast of everything. But no. More calls and messages left unanswered as we tried to ensure that this time the liner was actually ordered. C finally reached the technician on June 23rd and he assured us that he'd ordered it, and said he'd call the manufacturer to get a status update then get back to us. Of course he never did get back to us.

June 29th, with both of us at the end of our rope patience-wise, C finally reached the girl at the pool company (I should say, we know her name, and the names of the technicians, but this is a small community and I don't want to 'out' them, especially when I still don't have a pool liner) who said that the liner 'had just come on the truck that day'. Sure, that's convenient. So she booked us for a July 5th replacement.

We'll see. I'm not holding my breath. Right now there are tens of thousands of tadpoles living in the couple of feet of swamp in my pool, the pump and filter have been dormant for 11 months (so who knows if they'll start up easily or need some TLC) and I'm not optimistic that even if they do come Tuesday 10,000 gallons of fresh ice-cold water will heat up in time for us to get any use out of the pool (we have no heater nor solar blanket).

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