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October 6-23, 2015
Written October 13+
Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,

After almost seven weeks on the road, we were glad to be back, but worried what we would find.

d151004_04_yard.jpgd151004_06_hill.jpgReuben and the automatic system had taken care of yard watering while we were gone, so most plants made it through the hot Fresno summer.  The roses looked particularly good, but many of the new plants in the back yard became candidates for 2016 replacement.

d151004_08_bocce.jpgThe bocce court was dirty, but none the worse for the neglect.  This was the whole idea behind a big water-free back yard field.
Inside, there was a light coating of dust and a mountain of mail, but no real problems.  All the appliances were still functional.  No water system failures.  Wifi and cable TV worked just fine.  Maybe we can travel again sometime.
d151011_02_tanaya.jpgOn our first Sunday back, we decided to take Mamo out for breakfast up near Yosemite.  We chose the Tenaya Lodge buffet, because we had been there before and it offered a nice setting, still outdoors due to the lingering summer weather.
Hopefully, the next time we come up here the snow will be covering the ground because California needs the stored moisture.
So, what else has been happening?  Not much.  We hoped to arrange something interesting, but I think we failed.  I watched a pool get rebuilt.  Then I watched it leak.  As interesting as watching grass grow.

Mostly, we are preparing for a busy period, starting this weekend (visit to Gabby's for family time), next week (maybe some visitors), that weekend (a wedding), and the following week (prepare for a flight back to Maryland.)  I hope the pool leak is fixed before all that!

Write if you wish.

John and Marianne

A Re-construction Project. 

I guess because we have our own experiences, we get to supervise Mamo's remodel projects too.  This one is a re-build of her 60-year-old pool, a project prompted by excess water leakage - not a good thing during a drought.

From my old construction days, I could appreciate how the crews managed to do as complex a project as it was, on time and on budget.  We need these guys on nuclear power plants!

Days 1 and 2: Drain and fix the top coping.

Day 3: Cut in new piping and install "staples" to keep a couple of cracks from expanding.

Day 4: Sandblast all the old paint and then put on the "scratch coat", so the new surface will attach well.

Brown scratch coat

Day 5: Big crew to put on the final coat. (Even the family supervision was greater when brother-in-law Reuben came over to help me.)
Plenty of special tools, including spiked shoes.

Wall crew put on two coats and spent hours smoothing.  Looks great.

The tile guy really made it look easy, but I could tell it took years of doing it to get this way.

Days 6 through 9: Refill, finish concrete walkway, restart the filter, add chemicals.  Our assumption was that all that was left was swimming!
d151020_02_fishmeasure.jpgAlmost.  What the activity really was consisted of watching the water level on the little fish on the end of the pool, our calibrated leak detector.  We'd take a fish picture, wait for a day, and take another.  We would take pictures with the filter on and with it off.

Unfortunately, even after thousands of dollars of repairs, the pool was leaking as badly as it ever had. D---.  The guys came back and looked for leaks, eventually narrowing down to a suspect underwater light.  They tried one fix by reaching down from the pool deck, but the water continued to go away, so the last step was sending in a diver to do a more thorough fix.

Juan, the diving technician, needed to squeeze into an ancient wet suit and struggle putting water-proof epoxy over the cracks inside the light housing.  We were hoping he had succeeded, but when I next measured the fish, the water level was still going down

 d151023_02_waterlevel.jpgSo, on Friday, we had one more visit from the pool company and he set up red tape marks to accurately measure how much water is lost over the weekend.  (It should be no more than about an inch per week- less in the cooler weather.) 

d151026_90_poollevel.jpgWhen we came back after our long weekend, the level had indeed gone down.  It's far less than we started with, but it is apparently enough to continue the project for days more.  Darn.

More work followed.  One more diving excursion to try to seal the light.  That didn't work.  Then a couple of days draining the pool and completely resurfacing the recess for the light and then refilling.  After two weeks, no leakage.  Success!!!!


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