Our Natural Swimming Pond Build: The (W)hole Disaster

If this is the first time you’ve read my blog, here’s a quick summary – We are a family with three young children (two with disabilities).  I got the idea into my head to build a natural swimming pond for them.  We’ve found our location and chosen our pond liner.  Now we need a hole.

BC (Before children), I almost constantly had a DIY project going, but with the exception of a quick renovation on our current home, my DIY in recent years has been about – how little sleep a woman can survive on; how to change a nappy (diaper) on a child who won’t lay still and how to go to the bathroom without being interrupted.  Suffice to say, the thought of digging a hole was very appealing.

The grand vision
The grand vision…

I tell the girls that the sooner we have a hole dug, the sooner they can go swimming. Armed with various sized shovels, spades, pick axes, wheel barrows, gardening gloves, gumboots and other assorted tools we head outside.

It goes well for a while.  We remove some plants that have seen better days.  The random bits of rock garden edge are removed. I lift some pavers.  An ants nest is disturbed.  They run everywhere.  They bite.  First aid is applied.

And so we continue for a few days.  We know that at some point in time, there was a fish pond in this area that was filled in by the previous owners.  They are lovely people, with artistic backgrounds.  Their DIY skills fall into a category best referred to as “alternative”. We have no idea how big the pond was, but I’m secretly hoping it was big – VERY big!

We find it eventually – filled in with concrete and rubble and clay. It has a plastic lining. It is small.  But, we have got the first part of our swimming pond dug.  It rains and fills with water. The kids play in it and the dogs drink out of it.  After the squabbling (mostly over the pick axe), constant interruptions and ant bites, I’m about ready to tell the kids that the muddy hole is the end of the swimming pond project.

The reality! Is it quittin' time?
The reality! Is it quittin’ time?

But a new day dawns, and hubby and I come to grips with the fact that we will never get this hole dug by hand.  A lovely farming friend who has taken interest in the project comes for a visit and offers to dig our hole with his tractor.  As tempting as this offer of a free hole is, we turn him down and make contact with a few earth moving people.

The first guy arrives to look at the job.  He has his two kids with him, so I supervise five kids while “the men” talk dirt and look at the very accurate engineering specifications for the hole.  I’m called over at some point and advised that the hole needs to be swung 90 degrees to work.  Five kids and three adults walk around the area with string lines and stakes to work out what will be the new location of the swimming pond.  It is obvious that the peppercorn tree I wanted to save is now going to be in the middle of the pond and will have to come out.

The quote is more than reasonable and the time frame is right. I’m happy but hubby is not.  The guy has confessed that he has never dug a hole for a “pool” before.  I argue that he has the specs and if he can read them, he can dig the hole.  We get a second quote.

The second quote comes from a “friend”.  He is an ex-neighbour who we have used in the past.  His work is good, but he is notoriously unreliable – and doesn’t give “mates rates”.  He looks at the job, makes all the right noises, tells hubby he has dug holes for pools in the past.  He promises he will get the job done on time and gives us his quote.  It is double the first guy.

Hubby and I have words.  I’m managing our non-existent budget and I want to use the cheap guy. He wants to use our “friend”.  And in the middle of it all, his phone rings.  The man who told us his factory-second pool wouldn’t be ready for a while, is ringing to say it is ready and he wants to deliver it next week, which coincidentally happens to be the start of school holidays.

None of this is good.  School holidays are a very hard time for our family.  We have all three kids at home 24/7 and that requires both of us to be constantly with them.  The disabilities of our oldest two make it impossible for one adult to successfully care for all three children for any length of time.  We are blessed with family and friends who go out of their way to time their stays with us to line up with school holidays.  Many hands make light work.

But with an excavator, a torn up yard, trucks, cranes and other random deliveries, let alone a whole heap of physical work on our part, this is a disaster in the making.

So the score right now is something like this:

Fear factor:     10
Panic factor:     10+
Budget strength:     2
Optimism:     4.5 and falling

Is it quittin’ time or time to show the world and Rebecca what she’s ‘made of’?

Have you ever experienced these emotions?  How did you handle it?  Would you push on or call the bank and the pool company?  You’ll have to wait for the next episode to find out what I did 😀

Until then, keep me company by adding your comments below…

The (W)hole Disaster continues

 

Comments

comments

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Oh Rebecca … i have said 3 little prayers 1) for your yard 2) your children and 3) for your sanity ….. haha ~ Good luck! Can’t wait to follow your journey ….

  2. Hello There! Sending you love and encouragement from Brunswick, GA. I can totally understand your frustration. I know all about small budgets and big dreams. I can tell you a couple of things right off the bat, THINK POSITIVE! You can do this! It’s not going to be easy, NO DIY ever is, even the simplest thing is going to take some planning, patience and more patience. Think about how beautiful your pond is going to look in the end. Think about how your kids are going to enjoy it and you too. And hey, at least you have your hubby who is willing to help and is there for you, and your kids are there to at least give you hugs and you have people willing to bring equipment to help you out. Really, the only thing you need to do is just get that HOLE dug and slap that pool in there. It’s not going to be pretty at first, it’s going to take time to get it looking JUST right. You can doooooooooooo it!!!!! And besides, we all want to see the hard work. I would love to build a natural pool in my backyard, but it is completely engulfed with pinetrees. It’s going to cost me $1000.00 per TREE just to have them removed and there are about 15 of them. I only make $10.00 an hour… and I’m single! lol. Keep your chin up and get your boots on!

    Love, Xen 🙂

  3. sounds like my life ,at times

  4. I most certainly had these emotions in the past disabled son overwhelming projects and feeling of disaster on its way. Cant wait to see part 2. I would contact first friend that offered to do for free with tractor before vacation hits and if projects not done by vacation time try and arrange some grandparent time for 1 or my child to lesson the load some. Good luck cant wait to see it and hear how it turned out. If you have my luck with disasters in the making however I would postpone for a better time all together lol

  5. Thank you Estelle. 🙂

  6. Thanks for your positivity and kind thoughts Xenia.

  7. Kids with disabilities certainly put a different spin on things don’t they. Thanks for your advice and support.

  8. I so want a natural pool, we just don’t have enough room for a big one though, might get away with a lap pool. Love your blog posts, so funny and yet scarily accurate. Good luck with your venture, can’t wait to see part two.

  9. Thanks Mandy. Glad you’re enjoying our journey.

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