Brenternet (The World as seen by Brent Moore)

Trying to appeal to the highest common denominator. I can't give you 110% effort, but I will give you 107.4% effort. If you're a spammer and leave me a comment, I will make fun of you. I use twice as many semicolons compared to most other bloggers

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Location: Smyrna, Tennessee, United States

As the title implies, I am Brent K. Moore. I married MariLynn Simons on Sept. 25, 1999. we attend Stewart's Creek Church of Christ. We have five pets, a dachshund, Slinkie, a malamute, Juno, and three rabbits, Ebunny and Ifurry, and now Houdini.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Zen and the Art of In-Ground Pool Maintenance

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Greetings from Smyrna, TN

I have had this conversation a dozen times over the past few days:

Other person: So, why are you moving to Smyrna?
Me: Well, I'm coming from Antioch, and...
Other person: Oh, I understand.

I am now officially a Smyrnan. I have worked in Smyrna over half a year but now my wife and I live there too.

Here's another conversation I've had several times with other Smyrnans:
Other Smyrnan: So, where do you live?
Me:(thinking to self: Nobody actually knows where my small residential street is, but I do live just a couple of blocks from the two most important streets in town.) I live near the corner of Sam Ridley and Lowry.
Other Smyrnan: Uhhhh, I don't know where that is.
Me:(thinking to self: I've been here just a few days and I already know that every business in town is on one of those two streets.)I live near K-Mart.
Other Smyrnan: Oh, Yeah. I know where that is.

A friend of mine told me that a bunch of people mispronounce the name of the town with an extra vowel: Suhmyrna. Since my friend told me this, I haven't heard it said that way by anyone other than his mom.

It took Bellsouth a couple of days to get my DSL up and running again. While I was suffering from withdrawal, I noticed we had 4 neighbors with their own wireless networks. Unfortunately, they were all secure networks, and I couldn't "borrow" their services. ([boring technical jargon alert!] By the way, I use an unsecured network at home. It's probably bad of me to do that, but if a neighbor is going to leech off of me, their not going to get much bandwidth. My super-lazy Wifi security is naming my SSID "Broken" which could prevent some people from trying to use it. it used to be "why_warchalk_in_Antioch")
Bellsouth did send me a bag of four extra DSL telephone line filters, which must have been under the assumption that I couldn't unplug phone cords from my old house during the move. I wonder if they'd sell on Ebay.

The house has been really hot for the first few days. I suppose that the fact it's hit triple digits outside every day plays a part in that, but the one thing (the only thing) we miss about the old house was that we were Chillin' with the A.C. It took a couple of days but I learned that the thermostat was smarter than me. We'd set it for 70 and come back to find in reset for 85. The thermostat is programmable, which means you have to plan in advance what you will want your temperature to be. I had to unfold a paper clip to reset the thermostat, and then set 28 different times of the week. I am going to start throwing things if this gets unset any time the power goes out.

Of course, the AC also wasn't working because we had a hole in the roof. We knew the roof was bad, and one of the conditions of the home buying contract was to have the roof repaired with money taken out of the selling price. So, we essentially aren't paying for it to be fixed, but they were banging on the roof at 6:30 in the morning, which was just a couple of hours after we went to bed (being day sleepers).

I hate bugs. I really hate bugs. To me, Cave Crickets are the nastiest bugs around (except for the ones nailed into a display case that you'll find at the zoo). our Antioch house had them. So far, this house has had nothing on the inside. However, outside the house at night has some really ugly regular big crickets. A couple of them have gotten stuck and then died in an air vent. Yuck. We've seen a couple of cicadas, which is weird because I didn't think this was their year. Cicadas are pretty stupid flying machines, so they may have been to dumb to wait for their next cycle. There was also a pretty big beetle that we watched strut around until our dog pounced on it.

Taming the Pool Monster.

The most notable feature of our new home is the In-Ground pool in the back yard. It's so big, you can see it from space. (That is, if you look at it using Google Earth!) We specifically picked this house because of the pool, and it meets all of our other needs, however it's a tiny bit smaller than most of the other homes in our price range.


Neither my wife nor I have ever grown up with a family pool, so running it is a new experience. We know that several chemicals have to be added, and we figured we could just pick up where the previous owners left off. It wasn't that easy.

The power to the house was shut off for 48 hours. When I signed up for the utilities and the electricity was restored, the pool immediately filled with a foamy substance on the surface. It looked like watching the weather radar broadcast of hurricane coverage. We heard that could be normal for a pool that had no working pump for a few days, so we waited a day.

That next day, it didn't clear up. You can fill up a bottle of water and take it to the nearby pool depot and they have a computer examine your water, which will tell you what is wrong with it. It turns out that the Calcium level was low and the Baquacil (name brand alternative to Chlorine) level was twice as high as it should have been. So we bought some Calcium, since the pool wasn't drinking it's milk, and were instructed to add no Baquacil for a week. They also recommended a book along the lines of The Idiot's Guide to Pool Maintenance for Dummies.

That day, we added the Calcium and waited. No Improvement. We read in the book that we can buy a defoamer solution, which acts as a temporary fix. (This was the only thing that made sense to us in the entire book.) We go back to the pool depot and buy defoamer, added it to the pool and my wife swam for about the next eight hours while ignoring our relatives that came to visit and the boxes that needed unpacking. (exaggeration.)

The floor of the pool was dirty, so my wife used the vacuum to clean the bottom of the pool. We later discovered we were doing it wrong and as a result, the clarity of the pool water got murky. Also, the water pump jets became not so jet-like.

As the pool begins to look dirtier and we become increasingly frustrated, we decided we need professional help. (Well, that's always been the case, but I specifically mean we needed a pool pro.) We called the Pool depot again and asked who they recommend for this situation. They recommended the guy that cleans their pool, who is a nice guy and on the side teaches pool maintenance to clueless people such as myself.

So, the next day, we meet him at the pool depot, and he gave us the first bit of truly helpful information. Regular maintenance starts to make sense. We decide to pay for his services to come out to our pool to get it back to good shape. Along the way, he tells us why we should convert our pool from Baquacil to Chlorine. The two chemicals are very harmful if mixed, so we have to wait for all the Baquacil to go away before we start adding Chlorine.

The quickest way to get rid of Baquacil is to drain half the water out of our pool, and then refill it with water from the water hose, this is a process that is bound to create a sinkhole, but that's another day's story. If we can do that, half the Baquacil will be gone. Except, we couldn't do it. Water comes out of the pool in two places, the skimmer (which is near the top edge of the pool) and the main drain at the bottom. We found that once the water level fell below the level of the skimmer, water stopped coming out (meaning the main drain won't drain.)

We called the nice pool guy and he gave me something to try to prime it. Didn't work. The next day, we called him again for more advice. Still didn't work. Next day, we called him again, and he came over while we weren't here and fixed the main drain. I am guessing it was something simple, but he was able to do it. Now, we were able to drain half the water of the pool, flooding our back yard in the process, and then filled it back up.

For all that work, half of the Baquacil (the cleaning and sterilization chemical) is gone, and the water has turned green. But, this was to be expected. In the meantime, we have purchased bags of "shock treatment" which does two things. 1) Cleans some of the gunk in the pool - but not enough to get rid of the green. 2) it eats Baquacil somehow. (I bet it's really a bag of Sea Monkeys!) We are adding two $6 bags of this stuff for 3 days in a row, and then we'll go back to the pool depot to see how much Baquacil remains. Today is day 2.

Once the Baquacil count reaches 0, the pool guy will send one of his buddies to either replace or at least thoroughly clean out the big sand filter tank, at a cost of $200. Then, Mr. pool guy will come out here, put in heavy doses of chlorine and the other chemicals. I anticipate the pool will be swimmable again by November.

Actually, it'll probably take about another week or so. At least, if we can maintain it, it won't be such a money pit in the future.

What to do with wedding cake.

A week before the move, I posed this bulletin to my MySpace friends:

MariLynn and I need you help moving boxes.

Just kidding. :)

Because of the back trouble I had a couple of months ago, I shouldn't be moving heavy stuff quite yet, and I can't ask MariLynn to do all the work, so we are getting professional movers.

But when you saw the title of the bulletin, I bet you thought I was gonna ask for your help moving boxes, so it took a lot of courage for you to even open this bulletin to read it.

This demonstrates to me that you are a true friend and you get a gold star. If only MySpace gave me a way to tell who actually read my bulletin, I would know who my true friends were.

I need your help with a moral dilemma.

One wedding tradition is to save the top layer of the wedding cake, put it in the freezer and save it for your 1 year anniversary, at which point you eat some of it. (odds are you don't have time to eat much of it during your actual wedding reception.) Near our 1 year anniversary, we removed the aluminum foil from the frozen year-old cake and ate small bites of pieces that weren't frozen and hard as a brick.

Fast forward seven years later. I cleaned out the freezer tonight and now this cake is the only thing remaining.

My question for you is: Should we be sentimentalists and retain this for the rest of our lives, perhaps leaving it in the will? Or should we throw it away now and hope the neighbor stray dogs stay out of our trash can?

I got several responses to this question. Now, my first observation was that the responses from the ladies were 3-to-1 compared to the guys. This either means that the Ladies are more strongly opinionated in this matter, or it could mean that the guys wouldn't help us move.

So I had 8 votes in total. 7 of those votes were for me to ditch the cake. I had 1 vote to keep the cake. That 1 vote was from my wife. So we're keeping it.

The Legend of Clear Circle.

The whole moving process began back in Feb. when we started looking at houses. Our first home viewing on Florence Rd. quickly demonstrated how a 2800 sq.ft. house could fall into our price range. For the fun of it, we also saw a 3000 sq.ft. house built in 1920 and constructed from wood out in Ashland city.

In March, progress started to heat up. We saw a house in Smyrna on Olive Branch rd. which was so nice that we alsmost put an offer on. We came very close, but for the fun of it, I reviseted in my mind all of the 2000 sq.ft. houses that on paper didn't look as good as the 3000 sqft houses that all had major problems. That's where we found the house on Clear Circle.

IMG_1387
We put in a contract on this house in Smyrna. it was a bank owned short sale. At the time, our agent told us that on a short sale, the bank may not get back to us in the customary three days with a response to our offer. so we waited. It was my favorite house. We even offered more than the asking price.
we waited in April.
and waited in May.
and waited in June.
and finally gave up on them in July.

Our agent said the bank usually doesn't take more than a week to respond to offers. the longest he had ever dealt with was two weeks. At least, now he has a story to tell his grandkids.

There is a sub-prime mortgage company out there I am really upset with. I'm not going to publish their name, but it rhymes with Hell's Cargo. Watching The Music Man will forever be ruined for me as if their wagon comes down the street, I hope it will not be for me.

While we had our offer on Clear Cir., we continued to look at other houses. We saw one home in Lavergne that had too many problems, and had been on the market for a year, plus backed up to an old graveyard. We wanted to see a house on Clearview Dr., but it got a contract before our agent could schedule a viewing for us.

We next saw a house on Windbyrch Trail. This house was a video gamers dream house as it had 4 network connections in the master bedroom and the living room and 2 connections in every other room, except for bathrooms. But, this house was way too small.

Then we saw the house on Calvary Ct. It was very pretty on the inside, but was ugly, in my opinion, on the outside. It was made of concrete blocks covered with spackle.

Then we saw a nice house on Ross Dr. This house was nice enough that we considered making an offer on it. It was one of the largest homes that we looked at, if you include a 20x20 garage-like room which was used by a previous owner as a print shop. It had been remodeled a couple of times over the years, which resulted in some quirky things. Examples: Washer and dryer in the master bathroom, Fusebox in the master bedroom , and the shower in the master bathroom was too short for me to fit in.

On June 15, the night before we were to leave for a small vacation to Cincinnati, we raised our price range by $3,000 and a couple new houses popped up, including a house that MariLynn described as "the house of her dreams." She was so enamored with the house, that she couldn't get the house off her mind during the whole trip. We made it back home, and soon scheduled a viewing. Two weeks later, we had a contract, except for some haggling on who should pay for the roof to be replaced (as in they should pay for the roof) a deal was in place. On July 31, we closed on the Smyrna house.

And the next day, the bank owner of Clear Cir., picked an offer they liked. It's a conspiracy.
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