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Monday, July 31, 2023

Monday Morning Removing The Concrete Forms

We have a beautiful blue sky Monday morning. After torrential rain yesterday - that delayed Lulu's trip to London - Bill is removing the wooden forms that shaped our pool. 

There is a lot left to do - but this really looks like progress. The tent is designed to keep the workers out of the "global warming" sun. It also protected the pool from the rain. 

The next steps - 

- forming and pouring the pool deck

- installing the pumps and filter in the garage

- connecting the pool to the filter

- running the new power line to the garage

- running the gas line to the fire pit

- and finally plastering the entire inside of the pool with an inch of Marcite plaster

Lulu will be gone for 18 days - which means I am the boss. Bill just called me a "free range chicken."

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Pool Walls Are Poured

The site is a little messy - but you can see that the gray walls have been poured. All of the wood forms will be removed Monday.

The pour went smoothly on Friday morning. The weather was good - overcast - but no rain. 

Next - we start laying out the forms for the concrete pool deck. It will be 35 x 60 feet. At the far end - where the little tent is - there will be a gas fire pit on the pool deck. 

It looks like I will have 2100 square feet less of grass to cut. 

Today - Lulu leaves the project for London. I am home alone watching the store. She returns August 16th. 


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Pool Project - Today We Built the Forms for Walls


This is Henry - fitting forms all day

The pool is 15 x 35 x 4 feet. 

The rebar will be sawed off
after the concrete sets,

Today a crew of 4 men worked from 8 AM to 8 PM - building the forms for the concrete walls. Tomorrow - Friday - at 6 AM - they will be back to pour the concrete between the forms and the ground. The walls will end up 8 to 14 inches thick of concrete poured over a lattice of rebar. 

The weather was good to us - no rain today - so we got a lot done. Tomorrow - we expect the same weather. Once the outer walls are poured - we can relax a little. We will leave the forms on over the weekend for the walls to cure. Also - the pipes for the drains - water jets - and skimmer are in the forms - along with the wiring for the pool light. 

What is left after the big pour tomorrow? We will pour a pool deck around the pool that will be 35 by 60 feet. We will run the pipes and the electric work to the garage. Don't forget the gas line for the fire pit. We will set up the pool pump - salter - sand filter - and heat pump in the garage. Don''t forget a fence. Then we come back and do the tile around the perimeter and place the travertine cap on the top of the walls. Last - we plaster the pool bottom and sides with about an inch of Marcite. Marcite is a special mixture of marble and plaster - it makes the smooth finish. 

Then you put water in. 

Sunday Lulu is going to England for 3 weeks - leaving me here to babysit the site. When I use the world "we" above - I do not do anything but watch - and clean up a little. The site is messy - but the workers are struggling under hot and humid conditions. We have been hampered by heavy rains - that slowed our schedule down. 

They scheduled the concrete delivery for 6 AM. We must take it then or wait another week for a delivery. We are pleased with the results so far. 

The walls are 8 to 14 inches wide.

The braces keep the walls from collapsing
when full of concrete.

The tent keeps the hot sun out. 

The wall goes to the top of the 2x4. 

That is Lulu's swim lane. 

The concrete bottom will
be shaped and covered with Marcite.

Lots of big screws hold the forms in place

When the concrete dries -
all the wood is taken out of the hole. 

the tarps kept water out of the hole.

Notice the forms have a shiny side. 

Lots of concrete goes in there.

The forms were used on our old pool 
15 years ago. 

The tent will be used for a wedding
in 2 months - Henry's wedding. 

This is the back - west side of our home. 

This is looking south. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Day 10 - Weaving the Rebar Sidewalls

5 boxes of hardware. The heat pump takes heat out of
air and puts it into the water. It runs on electricity -
from solar or from the city.

The sidewalls will be 4 feet high. The rebar comes
out of the floor slab. 

When we started building the pool - it was more fun. I was able to get the dramatic pictures of digging the big hole - then pouring in the crusted rock - and pouring the concrete floor. Things have slowed down dramatically. 

It is tedious time-consuming work weaving the lattice for the walls. Lots of rebar had to be cut and bent. You don't think of this stuff when you dive in for a refreshing swim. After all that - the forms must be put in place and braced for the walls. The heavy rain we have been having did not help. 

After a few requests for pictures - I just went out and took some shots. Bill and Henry were down in the hole bending rebar. 

We bought all of the hardware for the water system on Amazon. We have the pool filter - salter - heat pump heater - pool water pump - and light. They are safely in the garage. 

My back yard is normally very tidy. I do not like taking pictures when it is messed up. I keep reminding myself it will all be back to normal in a month. 

The pile is the pool forms. They were
used on our previous pool 15 years ago.

Henry is bending rebar. 

Sump pump clears excess water

Fans keeps it cooler under the tent. 

We bought an oversized filter - and heat pump.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The Beach Boys Signed Their First Contract 60 years ago today.

Brian Wilson - Alan Jardine - Carl Wilson - 
Dennis Wilson - Mike Love

In 1962 - when I was 14 - my favorite musical group was The Beach Boys. Other things I did that summer were going to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico - canoeing 50 miles on the Delaware River - and playing on the freshman football team at THS. 

The Beach Boys produced 12 record albums while I as a kid - and I bought every one of them. AM Radio was king - their music blasted out of car speakers and transistor radioes. We had terrible TV reception - so this how we connected with the real world from back in the Valley. 

They wrote music about something called surfing and hot rod cars. It became a music genre. 

Carl Wilson and his brother Dennis both have died. 

Before the Beatles - they were number 1 in the nation. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Philadelphia PA

Veteran Stadium - Spectrum - JFK Stadium

They were about 90 miles from our home in Tamaqua PA. Two hours down the Turnpike and the Schuylkill Expressway - and then 2 hours home. 

In 1971 - Veteran Stadium replaced Connie Mack Stadium as the home of the Phillies. In 1980 - the Phillies were crowned World Series Champs there. In 1978 and 1979 - I owned a bus and 20 Sunday Season Passes for the baseball games. The Eagles and Temple University also played there. On night we saw Temple play Penn State there. 

The middle building was the Spectrum. Its name went along with the pay television channel PRISM - that carried games back to our home back in the mountains. I also saw The Rolling Stones - BB King - and Blind Faith there. Look them up. In 1969 - I made many trips there in my new 1969 VW Beetle. 

We saw Michael Jordan - Larry Bird - Moses Malone - Julius Erving - Charles Barkley - play there. The local Sheridan Hotel had a nice deal. 2 nights for $99 Total for the family. The local American Motors garage in Tamaqua gave us free game tickets. 

JFK Stadium was old - and the stands were far away from the field - like the Rose bowl. My Dad used to take me to the Army-Navy game every there. It was amazing to be in a crowd of 102,000 - but it was still cold. 

All three of them are gone now - just like all 3 schools I attended in Tamaqua are gone. The only one left this a little one room school near Snyders PA - called Dorset - I went to first grade there. 

All glory is fleeting. 


Florida State Park Caverns Near Marianna FL


Lulu and I were trapped in our Florida home for a week. First by the hottest week in the world on record - and second by our swimming pool project. I have vowed to stay home during the project to approve things as the workers work. I am not doing the work - but as Ron Reagan said - trust but verify. 

Saturday was open - and I like to drive - so Lulu suggested the Florida State Park Caverns. They are 70 miles away - we have lived in Florida 20 years - and never visited them - and it is 65 degrees inside the caves - all year around. 

The drive west on I-10 was pretty quiet - not much traffic. It parallels old US 90 - which goes thru all the towns. Usually we go zooming by Marianna on the way to Panama City Beach or Seaside. This time  were cruised around the streets of the 6000 person county seat of Jackson County. It is also the home of Chipola College - a mostly commuter school for 2200 students. 

We had lunch in Marianna. 

The caverns and park were just north of town. You pay $4 to enter the state park - and then pay another $15 per person to do the one hour long cave tour. 

The cave is a natural limestone formation - all of Florida is underlaid by limestone that has a giant river of water running through it. Even Tallahassee - 70 miles away - has the same aquifer or underground river. This water running thru the limestone forms the caves. 

The cave is good for senior citizens - you only go down 65 feet underground. Once there - the paths are smooth - surprisingly dry - and well lighted. You must be careful to not bump your head on some of the formations. 

The air is a pleasant 65 degrees. You spend about an hour in the cave in a group - listening to the guide. The guide kept the tour light hearted - often with caution warnings - following by a few cave jokes. 

Many do not know that I actually had a job at one time. 20 years ago - I was an Earth Science teacher. I did that for 33 years. I used to take my students on tours to caves - sometimes going to wild caves - not the tourist kind. It reminds me that my Dad spent time underground for 25 years - in much more dangerous conditions. He mined Anthracite - hard coal. I wonder what he would have thought of a plan like this - paying $15 an hour to just walk around underground.

Back up on the surface it was 95 - when we got up there - we hurried to our car. With the Tesla you can turn the AC on before you get there. We sat in the car on a video call - with Keith and family in Paris. 

In the heat I forgot to get a picture of the really neat museum built by the CCC - the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the 1930s - during the depression - our federal government offered jobs to work on park construction. The workers got $25 a month - $1 a day. $20 was sent home to family - $5 went to the worker. They used the limestone they removed from the cave to build the museum. They used the local pines to build the roof. 

Even though we were just 70 miles from home - we were in the Central Time Zone. The clocks on our iPhones and the car changed automatically. So we left home and got there at the same time. On the way home - we had to add an hour and we missed supper :-)

Stelactites and Stelagmites


Underground lake.