June 8, 2020

All hands on deck, or not

(I am sharing my raccoon video again in case some of you missed it.  I don't think it was working properly for a big chunk of the day Friday, and it is hilarious.  Only 6 seconds.  I will wait while you watch it and get caught up, and I will cross my fingers that it works).  

Since this weekend's weather promised to be dry and in the 70s, Coach decided this was a good time to strip and stain the deck.  Last time the deck needed help we paid a company to do it, but since Coach can't see patients on the weekends and we don't have any sporting events to race off to with the kids AND we have extra hands available that aren't able to work much - it made sense.  

Well, the weather cooperated, at least.  

Lad was hired to go to our friend's lake house to chop firewood and do some landscaping and other manual labor, so one set of hands raced off to Michigan.  

Tank was invited to his friend's lake house, another set of hands disappeared while sort of flipping us the bird in the process . . . 

Friday night, I texted Tank:  Hey, please check in now and then.  Like let us know you got there OK, etc.

No response.  Saturday morning I tried again.  An hour later he finally responded with a snarky:  Uh OK.  We got here safe and sound.  I'm sleeping on a couch right now.  I plan to have a donut in a few mins.  Its 87 degrees out right now.  Is that enough detail for you?

Coach texted Tank:  If you are gonna be an ass and/or not respond, we for sure wont let you go next time.

Obviously we didn't text when I was a pain-in-the-ass teenager back when 'I'll Be There for You' by Bon Jovi was all the rage, floral shorts known as Jams were a must have wardrobe item, and spiral perms were big and teased, but dear sweet Jesus if I had been snippy with my folks after they let me go to a friend's lake house I would've been afraid to come home.  

Our built-in manpower took another hit when the caddy master texted Ed.  Shotgun tournament on Saturday.  He would try to get out whoever Ed brought.  Mini, Reg, and Ed caddied and made a bundle of dough, and Coach worked on the deck solo (implied knowledge:  Curly and I would be worthless as strippers, I mean, the deck stripping, stain-applying type).

To prepare for the deck makeover, we had to drain my blow up  BFF of all the filthy, coon-cootie water.  In my spa-setup excitement, I managed to position the drain near the house instead of the preferred opposite direction- AWAY from the house.  

Newsflash:  Coach has an insane obsession with all thoughts surrounding our foundation line, storms, rain water, sump pumps, back up sump pumps, impending storms, record breaking rainfall, seepage, and the like.  

I still shudder to think of the face-time call we made to him last year from Vancouver when Curly was hoping for a 'GOOD LUCK, YOU'LL DO GREAT' wish from Daddy the night before she competed, but instead a frantic Reg answered and from over his shoulder we could see a hairy, shirtless, drenched Coach shouting, pointing, and acting like he was evacuating the Titanic - but I recognized the scenery as our basement.  

One window-well consistently fills like a fishbowl in flash flood rains and then overflows over the top of the window. 

But hey, that's only been happening for 4 years or more so it makes perfect sense that he has not settled on a PROFESSIONAL who can fix it, because according to Coach no such professional exists.  So he twitters around researching various approaches to fix the problem.  

Wow, that was quite the digression, but as you can tell I am not bothered by this frustrating phenom I like to call the 'I-think-I-can' approach.  It's in his genes.  Another day I will detail I will not bore you with the many projects that he and his dad have tackled and utilized UNIQUE solutions that have sometimes led to other projects.  ***HEAVY, TIRED SIGH***

Any-who, after dinner Friday night we went outside to empty the pool.  Mama Coon had left the nest and was trolling around for food.  She heard us dragging the patio furniture around and it freaked her out and she came running back to check on her babies under the deck.  Well, I captured her on video here, but I had my phone magnified quite a bit so as I watched her dash back towards the deck, it suddenly appeared like she was actually hopping up on the deck thru the slats in order to bite me before gobbling me up -and if that isn't enough to make me almost shit myself, then I don't know what is:

While she waited for us to be done on the deck, she sat with her face sticking out from under the deck like a dog in a doghouse.  I have no photo because I was heaving my pool up to my shoulders to get it to drain.  Coach stepped on the other side of the pool so the water would drain AWAY from the house.  

NOTE:  the malfunctioning window-well is on the side of the house, not the rear. . . but still.  One can never be too careful.     

Mini came out to help.  I continued to push up the side of the pool and everyone else was on the other side directing the water.  If it sounds like I was doing the most labor-intensive part of the work, then I am explaining it perfectly.  

All of a sudden, Mini's face became very animated.  "Oh my GOSH!  LOOK AT THAT!"  

From where I was standing, Mini was looking into the bottom of the pool - now held up to her eye-level.  She kept pointed out things to people as if the bottom of the pool was a television screen and they were watching a show. 

After listening to their whoops and hollers, I was like "WHAT?  WHAT IS IT?"

When all the water and accumulated dirt was gone, a weird thing happened.  They could see a gazillion tiny little raccoon footprints all over the pool floor. 
It might be kind of hard to see.  It was crazy that we could not see the footprints while the pool was flat and filled with water.  

Um, yeah.  She was IN the pool, not just politely leaning over the side to take a sip.  Damn it.  

Coach keeps saying things in his best Mama Raccoon voice:  "Thanks for getting us a pool."  "Funny, you thought this pool was for you."  "Please ask us the next time you decide to sit in our water source."

I am surrounded by funny people and furry mammals all of a sudden.  

On Sunday Ed caddied again but he and Curly pitched it a bit on the deck when he got home.  I kept busy trying to get my stacks and stacks of photos sorted out so they can be put into albums.  During the 35 minutes I reclined on my lounge chair in the grass (sadly the deck was unavailable) I did ask Coach if he thought there was something I could do to help.  I thanked my lucky stars when he said no.  
Curly:  I like the smell of this stuff.  Me:  That is concerning.  (secretly I am hoping Mama Coon didn't care for the smell and all the activity and perhaps she is in Mary Ann's attic right now setting up her new home).  Me also:  Oh look you found help, then you won't mind if I take a snooze in the sun for a few, right?

Do you have a spouse who prefers to do projects vs hire someone else? 


Beth Cotell said...

My husband will always attempt to do things himself before calling professional assuming its something minor or not too technical. He just completed restaining our pergola. It took him 3 full Saturdays but he didn't seem to mind.

Anonymous said...

“If it sounds like I am doing the most labor intensive part of the work...” had me dying laughing envisioning you struggling while everyone is enthralled with the raccoon prints. Oh man...
Raccoons are my favorite animal, in the sense that they’re cute and they eat so funny with their little hands, but there is also not a raccoon living at my house, or anywhere near my house (in the AZ desert) as far as I can tell. I think if I had one as a roommate it would quickly lose its cute factor.
I hope you get your spa oasis back soon!! Maybe get a tarp or something to cover it once you set it back up?
Thanks for the laughs this Monday morning!

Kari said...

The takeaway? Too many people have second vacation homes.
But that is because I have ADD.

I kind of like the raccoon spa you created on your deck.

Kara said...

There are some things we throw money at professionals to take care of (electrical work, plumbing, exterior house painting), and some things that my husband insists he can do himself that wind up costing more than throwing money at a professional (yard work, pool care, building a pergola). This weekend was never ending irrigation leaks. Our front yard irrigation is 15 years old, so it's bound to fail. After four separate leaks this weekend, I suggested we dig up the remaining 12 feet and assorted drip lines and just replace it all. My husband's solution is to cut out individual pieces and use connectors. So instead of one 12-16 foot section of brand new irrigation poly that would last probably 7-10 years, we have a mishmash of old, new and connectors, with the old sections just waiting to fail. The poly would cost less than all of the connectors that he used this weekend.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my goodness. I laughed at the video; she's gonna eat you up E!!

Yeah, you're gonna need a tarp to cover yours AND GET THEM THEIR OWN POOL. Goodness. How many times Must I say this....should I just amazon it right to your home?

Coach used to do everything around the house, but no longer. He'd much rather pay someone to do the heavy chores I can't do and then he can 'as he says' hs more time to make some hard-earned cash. ;)

Anonymous said...

Do I have a spouse who prefers to do projects vs hire someone else?

Dear Lord, yes.

Does this mean that most things that I want/need done do not get done in less than 3 years unless said "thing" is a genuine crisis, e.g. the hot water heater springing a leak or the dishwasher breaking down?

Also yes.

Do I sometimes wish that we could just pay an exorbitant sum to someone so that [insert thing] got dealt with on my faster timeline?


I mean, I love the man. And he knows what he's doing and it's probably less expensive in dollars. I just wish that we could hire someone when it's something that I'd prefer to have done sooner. And that he would spend that extra time on family stuff.

Ernie said...

Beth - Let's just say Coach likes a challenge. Sigh. So even if the job might not be something he thinks he can handle, he gets it in his head that this is a good time to learn. The deck restaining does not fall in this category, but I did feel bad that the available big-ass-mostly grown men/kids of ours all ended up doing something else.

Anonymous - I am glad you got my humor. I really couldn't complain because it is MY pool, my new OFF, so I was OK with the heavy lifting, but then when they all acted like they were watching a movie being projected into the floor of the dang pool, I was like "huff, puff, am I missing something?" You are not wrong - raccoons are cute, but they can also be destructive if they get up in your attic. My sis had one in her attic years ago and it tore a hole straight through the roof. Plus a guy we met at my sis in law's house Sat night said they carry diseases. Um, no thank you.

Kari - YES with the lake houses, what gives? It didn't help that Mini and I discovered that house hunters is a free show available on our roku, so last night we watched one about a couple looking for a lake house in South Haven, MI (they were from Chicago) on the cheap side and now I am like, "hey, cheap lake houses exist?" Shh, don't tell Coach I even THOUGHT that. I think both you and the raccoon like the raccoon spa I created on my deck.

Kara - OMG - I would have beat my hubby over the head with the poly piping. Always better to update . . . the whole dang piece, right?! I hate half-assing shit.

Suz - OMG - thanks for the link. So funny. I am definitely going to make a plan - maybe just a chlorine floater? Lad jammed a bench sideways into the only spot on the deck that he thinks she can get through (um, if we keep the 2 gates closed and both latches are broken), but they climb, right? There is an evergreen tree right up next to the deck. I am not opposed to a small pool for our forest friends. I have not made the move just yet because while the deck is getting stripped and stained, a job that will hopefully be done this coming weekend, I cannot refill my pool with our life savings in the shape of water (I mean that thing takes a hellova lot of water) because the deck is all naked and awaiting staining. Meanwhile it is 91 here and I just laid out on my lounge chair sans water for 45 minutes and my sundress is drenched. We have a huge tarp but we put it under the pool so it wouldn't tear. I also assume a raccoon with people-like hands can just pull back the tarp and wave to her offspring and other buddies to hop on in. I tell ya, this is the story of my life. Perfect setup, bam - something wildly entertaining interferes.

Anonymous - Did you know that Coach finished our basement himself and it only took him 3 years? Recently we cleaned the basement and he knew I wanted to be less involved, and he was like 'OK make a list' - first thing on the list REMOVE YOUR TOOLS FROM THE 'NEW' BATHROOM CABINET THAT IS THE SIZE OF A SMALL CABINET THAT WE PUT IN THERE AND THAT YOU STILL USE TO STORE SOME OF YOUR TOOLS FROM WHEN YOU DID THE BASEMENT. I can't. It would be the equivalent of me leaving my paintbrushes on the floor of the girls' room after I painted their mural. Why??? And when I needed a Philips screw driver I had to look in the garage, then the basement cabinet, then call him and ask if he had any other ideas.

Nicole MacPherson said...


Painting and stripping the deck is a hell of a job! Yikes. Mr likes to do a lot of things himself, rather than a professional, but some things we always hire out. Like, electrical! And plumbing.

Ernie said...

Nicole- YES, can you believe we had no clue there was a raccoon living under our deck until AFTER I set up my pool. Ugh.

I have tried this angle when trying to convince Coach to hire out: know what your time is worth.

For some things he now gets it. Baby steps.

Anonymous said...

A lake house in Michigan!!!! Yes! So much better than a kiddie pool. You deserve one! Omg every summer for many years my family went for weeks to my relatives’ MI lake house. Sixteen hour drive away and totaleeee worth it. No humidity, perfect weather, Michigan produce (sweet corn! Blueberries!) from roadside farm stands, antiquing, boating on the lake. The best ever! Keep scrolling & I have faith you will find a cute, reasonable MI lake cottage for you & family. My dream for you. Also jams!!!! Spiral perms!!!! Being polite to mom & dad! I’d forgotten those first two (jams & spiral perms have faded but politeness is eternal). Also I support the brilliant suggestion of tarping the kiddie pool. You deserve a pool happy place that’s yours alone!


Ernie said...

Anonymous - Love your MI summer memories. Have you read my post about when Coach and I got a hotel room in Michigan a few summers ago? Um, he got us ONE room - for all 8 of us. I attempted to educate Mini on tampon use in the ONE bathroom we all had to share while everyone else was crammed into the room applying sunscreen and shouting at each other. Oh, I totally prefer your memories. If there is going to be a MI house rental, yours truly will be much more involved. Space, a vacation is not much good without it. We have not seen the raccoon renters since Coach power washed the deck. Maybe they didn't like the activity? One can only hope.