By late afternoon the pool wall was so severely bent inward I was starting to panic. The vinyl bag now held what I estimated to be 5,000 gallons of water. The hose had been running for four hours yesterday and about six hours today. In the back of mind I remembered one of the hundreds of videos I had watched telling me this pool had to be perfectly level and the only way to accomplish that was with a transit level. I also learned that the supports, or pavers, had to be level with the pool bottom. This was critical. Mine were clearly not. At 2 pm I gave in to Satan and started draining the pool.
Draining a pool this size is a relatively frightening undertaking. At each end of the pool at the bottom is a cap that I unscrewed on one end, and hoped the pool water wouldn’t come gushing out. It didn’t. In fact, nothing happened. I read the directions and found a piece that you screwed onto a hose and then inserted into the liner. The water came gushing out. I could barely screw the hose attachment onto the pool. I stretched 100 feet of hose into what we call the “back forty”, an area of gravel and weeds that is approximately a ¼ acre. I set the hose down and nothing happened. I figured I needed a siphon so I began sucking on 100 feet of hose screaming obscenities in my head which was now getting extremely light, but I finally got a trickle of water to start coming out of the hose.
As I waited for the pool to drain, the temperatures still in the 90s, I learned something I wish I had known a bit earlier. When you want to siphon a body of water, simply hook the hose up to the spigot until you fill up the hose, disconnect it, and viola it will start flowing. I let the pool drain all night. It had taken 10 hours to fill the pool half way, and after a full 16 hours of draining with a hose, the water level had gone done about an inch. This was not going to work.
Off to the equipment rental center. I was going to need a pretty serious transfer pump and, yes, I was going to do it, a transit level. I watched a video on how to use it, and figured I could pull it off. I needed this pool “dead balls accurate.” Two hundred sixty and some change later, I was heading home with a transfer pump that would pump 211 gallons a minute and a laser transit level that turned out to be so easy to use, I was kicking myself for not investing in it a week ago.
I hooked up the transfer pump, threw the fifty feet of discharge hose into the back forty (it just made it to the front end) and fired it up. The pool drained down to three inches of water in 20 minutes. The back yard flooded to within two inches of the patio and huge gouges were carved out of the ground at the end of the discharge hose. This hose is basically a two inch fire hose.
I set the self-leveling laser on a tripod in the back corner of the pool, and proceeded to lower every block around the perimeter in perfect level with the corner. Simply by holding the transit stick on top of the paver and waiting for the beep on the attached monitor. I had the blocks leveled by late afternoon. We (my wife was helping now) walked the bottom of the pool smoothing out the wrinkles and pulled the frame as straight as we could, and threw the garden hose back in. By now the thoughts of a water bill in excess of $400 was crossing my mind. The temperatures were still in the 90s.
The next day I returned the laser transit, which I learned would have been a higher rental charge but they couldn’t find the transit stick for the transit level so they rented me the laser at the lower rate. The transit level is basically a level telescope on a tripod that you look through at a stick that somebody else is holding. You’ve all seen them on construction sites. The guy at the counter asked me if I got it done. I told him that what little I knew about what I was doing I was pretty confident that the pool was now as level as I could get it. An older gentleman at the other side of the counter yelled across, “Good to know you’re still learning at your age.”
“Every day,” I said back, “I learn something every day.”
I went home turned on the water and watched the sides of this monstrous pool bend inward like it would collapse on itself, the vinyl liner becoming bulbous on the sides as the pool filled. The only thing that kept me calm was that I knew this pool was level. I was certain of it. I watched more videos.
STAYED TUNED FOR PART THREE