Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sometimes I just patch things

I try to only talk about the beautiful yet affordable projects I undertake, because it's much nicer to pretend that any house issue can be fixed with a coat of paint and some clever trim. But some problems are larger, and of course things break with no regard to timing.

We've got a slimy cesspool broken above-ground swimming pool in the backyard. A couple days after we closed on the house, we plugged the filter unit in and the magic blue smoke came out and the filter was no more. We decided not to replace the filter - above-ground pools have a finite life and don't really add to the value of the house. And we're on a well. In the desert. It's kinda dumb.

Anyway, everything else was breaking or malfunctioning and I didn't get the damn thing totally drained before winter, so now it really is a slimy cesspool. Homeowners' insurance requires that our attractive nuisance swimming pool be fenced off with locked gates. We scrambled to get the backyard technically "fenced" - please enjoy this shot of a chain link fence ziptied to the existing fence to cover a random hole.

Classy, I know. Anyway. The double gates by the garage broke in the last windstorm. So did about 18' of the fence on the woodpile side of the house. The whole privacy fence is pretty precarious, and the gate latch board broke. The fence on the woodpile side had a dry-rotted post that gave up the ghost in a blizzard a couple weeks back - I watched it slowly creak sideways in the wind. Poor fence!

I measured for the woodpile fence, then went around and checked the gates. I only needed one 1-by plank to fix the gate, so I checked the barn and lucked out!

Here's the repaired re-locked gate. You can see that I didn't even bother to rehang the handle - it's got a latch on the other side and a lock on the latch and that's good enough.

Yes, the replacement board is too short. It gaps at the top and bottom. It's hard to care, when the tops of the two gates lean against each other because of this:

The board and backing post are split and there's like one carriage bolt holding the top hinge on. It's really hard to care about this - there is NO easy fix. All the boards are incredibly dried out and split from the weather, we don't use the gate, and we only need the fence to be there to keep the insurance company from freaking out and dropping us. As soon as I finish draining the pool I can trash the liner, recycle the aluminum, and get it off our insurance.

We're tossing around a bunch of ideas for what to do with the space when the pool is gone. It'll be some kind of outdoor lounging and/or cooking area - maybe a chiminea, maybe just the grill and some chairs?

Until then, well, it's locked away from suicidal neighborhood children.

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