Elvis Has Left the Building

Disclaimer: From a Before and After standpoint, this is going to suck. Because it’s more of a Before and Middle, and truthfully, the before looks so much better. 

You’re going to look at the Before and After and tell me that clearly I do not know how to play this game. 

The True After (as it will henceforth be known) is going to take us a few more weeks. But the middle is pretty worthwhile, so we’re going to stop here and visit a spell. 

Our house came with a hot tub. 

This sounds fun. And decadent. And like we must have been the local entertainment hot-spot, what with the hot tub and the cooking and the lemon-drops on the patio and all. 

Grass. Greener. Waaaaay over there somewhere. 

At first, we too thought we would be the fun, decadent entertainment hot-spot serving lemon-drops on the patio. 

Because when you’re envisioning that, you never also envision two jobs, three kids, two cats, a 2000 square foot house to remodel and keep clean and the tremendous amount of sleep you need in order to deal with all those things. 

So we ended up using the hot-tub very little. 

To make matters even better, the hot-tub is ugly (the shade of red that picnic tables are painted), it’s huge (500 gallons), has no lights in it (which messes up the ambience somewhat) and takes up 1/3 of the real estate on the back patio. 

Every time I drained and filled it, I had California water conservation guilt. And because it was so large, it was difficult to keep the chemical levels right without going crazy with chlorine (which is not the most effective aroma-therapy when you are trying to relax.) 

So, after four years, we decided that we were not getting enough hot-tub enjoyment out of this 80’s holdover behemoth, so we decided to rip it out. 

I did mention that the thing hold 500 gallons, right? 

In keeping with my not-so-great-track record of before pictures, here’s one that sort of shows the hot-tub. 

That's it on the right behind the sassy flowers.


Trust me, it’s the size of Nebraska. 

Here’s a shot right after we started: 

I think that color was outlawed in 1983.


On the other side of the hot tub is more deck like you see in the first photo. Ripping out just the hot tub would leave these two uneven decks, so we decided to rip out the far deck also. 

Because we’re committed to the drama of this endeavor, if not the aesthetics. 

Note, please, that the hot tub has a custom built surround and that said surround is attached to the deck on either side. I want you to notice it because we noticed it over, and over, and over, and over again. 

This was what greeted us when we tore the front panels off. 

It looks like mutant reptile skin up close.


Getting the hot tub (which is not actually attached to anything, mind you) out took: one hand saw, one reciprocating saw, three crow-bars (one that’s five feet long), three mallets, the jack from a ’96 Toyota Camry, 5 sturdy humans, a doctoral consultation from the MIT school of applied engineering and a guest appearance by Tinkerbell. 

I may have been lying about Tinkerbell. 

Himself and my brother acting Manly.


This is what we did to the hot-tub: 

A good reciprocating saw cuts through fiberglass like buttah.


After getting the first half out, we were so tired that we seriously considered letting the other half stay put and just calling it “contemporary bench seating.” 

But we persevered: 

We remembered AFTER all this that we have a piano dolly. Aren't we clever?


Taking out the deck took longer than taking out the hot-tub, because the people who constructed the deck not only wanted to improve the functionality of the house, they also wanted to secure it against tornadoes or meteors. 

We pulled out about eleventy-thousand 4 inch nails. 

And now…we have 

  • Exposed concrete
  • Exposed unpainted siding
  • Exposed dry rot
  • Exposed plumbing
  • Exposed wiring
  • Exposed tacky concrete steps.

And a great big space where we didn’t used to  have one. 

Yay for the last one! 

This is where Phase Two has to happen.


And we also have a very full dumpster. 

Aren't we lucky???


  1. I think I most enjoy your special numbering system. It’s always a game to see what new numeral you devise.

    That looks like a HUGE job, and I bet it will make an even huger difference in your yard.

    You deserve oodles of M.P.s for this!

    1. I’ll dole out the MP’s once I can’t see the exposed deck or rotted siding anymore.

      We’re in total mixed-reaction at the moment.

      “Wow the patio seems so much bigger, and wow Is that ugly!!!”

  2. Tinkerbell is very fast. It’s very likely she made an appearance and you didn’t see her. She is a tinker fairy and would of been very interested in all the tools and such.
    Colour definately outlawed in 1983.
    Awesome work. Makes our bathroom paint job look sorta lame.

    1. I dunno…I’ve painted bathrooms.

      What we did with sheer brute force, you equaled in maddening edges and angles.

      Painting around mirrors, fixtures and toilet plumbing….ARRRGGGHHH!!!

  3. I see ketchup and mustard again. Our hot tub is also from the 80’s, but it is a lovely seashell teal. Unfortunately, my husband uses it and won’t part with it until it dies of natural causes. I see a reciprocating saw accident in the future, thanks for the tip. Can’t wait to see the real after pictures.

    1. We’ll just keep that little saw thing between you and me and allllllll will be well.

      And I can’t wait to see the real after, too.

    1. After the power washing, and the patching, and the step-rebuilding and the painting…

      There will be a new patio table where we can actually sit and eat in that great big beautiful space.

      And a chaise lounge.

      And then there will be me…with a mai-tai.

      Or twelve.

  4. You know I like red but that’s a little too much red and not the right shade. Can’t wait to see what you do with all the space you now have.

    1. This is much not your red.

      Your red is bright, strong, happy.

      THIS red is tired picnic tables and 70’s holdover.

      And…umm…we can’t wait either!

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