Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Hot Tub Debacle

When we bought our house eleven years ago, one of the many things that made us decide to buy this particular house was a three-ton marital aid, conveniently positioned a few feet from the french doors of the master suite leading to the deck. The master suite is on the highest level of the four-level home, and the way the home is landscaped this deck is about 8 feet above grade.

I'm referring, of course, to the hot tub. When filled with water, it weighs a little more than six thousand pounds, according to the literature. So it's a pretty sturdy deck, held up by some pretty sturdy timber.

We got a lot of use out of the tub, particularly on those bitter-cold January nights in Wisconsin. Nothin' like a good soak when it's ten below zero, under a starry sky.

A couple years ago in the fall, well past the five-year warranty, the tub went on the fritz, and though I'd drained it and had the best intentions of getting it fixed, time slipped away. When I did get around to calling the hot tub folks the next was too late. I hadn't completely drained it, which means hooking up a shop-vac and actually sucking it bone dry (who knew?), so when the water left in it froze, it wrecked the pump motor and busted up a bunch of PVC plumbing. Coefficient of expansion, and all that.

The diagnosis was terminal. So I got out my trusty reciprocating saw, cut it into microwave-oven-size chunks, tossed them off the deck to the ground below, and my son and his friend helped me lug the remains to the curb. Down at the Town of Madison Town Hall, they'd assured me the fellows on the truck would pick it up and haul it off, and they did, bless them.

That takes us to the present day.

Last Friday night, my wife went off to a hot tub party with some of her gal-pals. It was that cold Friday night when the moon was as close to the earth as it ever gets, and she came home at midnight saying "that's it...time's up. We gotta replace that hot tub". So we went shopping the next day, and wrote the big check. Delivery and installation set for 8 this morning, air temperature five above zero, giant snowstorm forecast for tonight. As she left for work, my wife said "won't it be great to have that hot tub all set for snow-meggadon?".

Or not. Did I mention we have a complicated architectural arrangement of the two decks on the back of the coming off the dining room, at grade level, with a five-foot-wide set of steps up to the deck off the master suite?

So when the fellows arrived at 8 this morning with the new hot tub on the truck, wisely the crew leader decided to "eyeball things before we schlep this monster all the way around the house". We're talkin' about a 150-foot schlep, from the driveway, around the side of the house, to the rear, onto one deck and then up to the elevated deck. The literature says it weighs 848 pounds empty, so they put down ten-foot sections of four-inch PVC pipe and sorta roll it to wherever it's going.

Mr. Crew Leader took one look at the arrangement in the back of the house, and said "ain't gonna fit. Too wide for that gap.". Even by tilting it on its side, the tub was too wide for the opening between the two decks. He measured it to prove it to me. Both decks have the code-requisite 54-inch-tall wooden fencing around them, get the tub into place would require:

1. Cutting off the fencing on a six-foot section of the lower deck, to allow them to maneuver the tub onto the lower deck, and then up to the upper deck.


2. Cutting off the fencing on an 8-foot section of the upper deck, to allow access by lifting the tub up to that level and sliding it onto that deck. Even then, you need six strong guys to do this. With me, there were four of us. Three of us met the definition of "strong".

Isn't the definition of a dilemma two choices, neither of which is good?

Suffice it to say there was no sawing-off of the deck fencing. The new marital aid is now back at the warehouse.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. "Nothin' like a good soak when it's ten below zero, under a starry sky." ... unless it's maybe a good scotch with your feet propped up in front of the fireplace.

    When this tub inevitably falls victim to the frost, I suggest turning it upside down. Use the hump as a base for a backyard waterfal and hanging gardenl. The hollow underneath would make a dandy dog house!