I Bought A Camera!

A few weeks ago I asked for camera recommendations and help. I would like to thank everyone that responded!

Kim H sent me a few detailed email, and Aarn from Grocery Shop For Free at the Mart, who used to work at a camera store for years and years, also gave me some good advice, and I ended up choosing the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Telephoto Zoom Lens, along with a 64 GB sandisk.

The boxes arrived a few weeks ago. I opened them all and this is what I received:

I Bought A Camera!


Ummmm yeah.

I put off delving into the box for a few days. I am what is commonly referred to as electronically-challenged. Give me a computer and no problemo! I can do most anything necessary. Give me a phone, DVD player or, now apparently, an electronic camera, and my eyes glaze over and I am looking for the nearest 10 year old to show me how to work the thing. But, I paid all this money for a new camera, and knew I’d have to give it a go. Whether I wanted to or not.

I was watching Love It Or List It one night, and decided to open just the camera box and start reading the instructions during commercials. With such dedication to learning, is it any wonder I am electronically-challenged?

This was all packed into a tiny, little camera box:

I Bought A Camera!


Ummmm yeah.

I got out the booklet and started reading.

First things first, plug in the battery. That I could figure out!

Next, attach the lens. Long complicated process with several pages of instructions, and it took me all of 2 seconds to do.

Hmmmm things are looking up! Or so I thought.

I had to insert the SD card. I swear it took me 10 minutes to find the opening!!

After that experience, I decided that was enough for one day, and besides I rationalized, there wasn’t much I could do until the battery charged.

So, the mess sat on the sofa for two days while I waited for the battery to charge.

Ok, ok, the battery was charged in a few hours. I waited for two days to gather my courage and give this camera-thing another go.

I got the battery, read the instructions, and after a small amount of fumbling to get the battery housing opened, inserted the battery.

Eureka! I now had a (supposedly) functioning camera!

I opened up the back photo-thingy on the camera that shows the pictures and gives a lot of options and instructions (which I of course ignored), took aim and clicked… something. Apparently not the button that snaps a picture, because nothing showed on the screen. So I decided to snap this! And that! And the other thing!

Nuthin’.

Back to the instruction manual diagram.

Hmmmm after studying the pages for a few minutes, I figured turning the dial to “on” would help. Then, I located the actual picture-snapping-depression-button – which was no where near what I was pressing and depressing during my initial tries (hey, my choices were logical, truly!).

So I take aim at Mr Max and took a picture if his grubby ole self.

I Bought A Camera!


Hmmmm the subject may be scuzzy looking, but the real point is the picture is pretty clear! You can compare it to my Droid pictures above and see the tremendous difference.

Deciding I could do this, I proceeded to snap another 50 or so pictures, deleting 47 of them because they had “problems”. Apparently I still have to work on not cutting off heads and on centering people and stationary objects. This camera, despite my expectations, is not magical.

So with my new found picture taking skills well in hand, only one more item was on the list! Uploading the pictures to my computer. Now since this was a software issue, I knew it would be easy for me – and installing the software was very easy to deal with! Finding out where to insert the cable into the camera to transfer pictures to my computer? Not-so-much.

I scanned the camera visually. Nuthin’.

I touched every bit of the camera hoping to find the secret passage that reveled the hidden port!

Nuthin’.

I reread the manual, did a google search, went to youtube – all in the hope of finding the jack to insert the cable to connect the camera to my computer to transfer those three fabulous pictures!

Nuthin’.

I don’t know how I found it, but I do know that after 15 minutes I was about to give up. I think the camera-gods realized they had toyed with me long enough, and if they didn’t allow me to find that port right now I was going to be the proud owner of a Canon EOS Rebel T3i that sat in the closet and gathered a lot of dust.

And just in the nick of time, I found the teeny-weeny cover to the cable jack. Crisis averted.

Since that initial photo-shoot (hey, doesn’t that sound professional?) I have taken a few hundred more pictures. And they have – for the most part – come out fairly well. I am still doing a lot of cropping, but I think that will abate as I become more familiar with when to use the telephoto options on this lens, and how to use the real telephoto lens I purchased. If nothing else, these pictures are a lot clearer, and you all should be seeing much improved pictures on Ann’s Entitled Life going forward.

Thank you all for the camera help!

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Filling In An In-ground Pool

collage of the desruction of an inground pool to the fill-in


Filling In An In-ground Pool

The story of our inground-pool removal, the cost to remove the inground pool, the cost to fill in the inground pool, the process of the inground pool demolition, and the how the inground pool was filled in and our backyard reclaimed! Hint: best home improvement project EVER!!

Filling In An In-ground Pool


When we purchased our house seven years ago, the number one thing I did not want was a pool!

So of course, our house came with an in-ground pool.

For years I lobbied to have it filled in, always being vetoed by Hubby and Sonny-boy.

For the first few years that we lived here, Sonny-boy and his buddies would use the pool several times a week. While I disliked the cost and the maintenance, at least someone was using the pool.

Or at least that was the argument Hubby and Sonny-boy would give me.

And the truth is, I refused to clean the pool or add water to it, or prime the filter, or purchase the chemicals, or… well, do just about anything related to the pool. And yes, that did include swimming in it.

Over the years, Sonny-boy went off to college and Hubby was working insane hours so slowly it became my job to add the water so the filter would still run. I also scheduled the opening and closing and picked up after the pool guys. Slowly but surely the slippery slope developed where I was adding water, then chemicals, then cleaning the sides of the pool … pretty soon I could see that I would be vacuuming and skimming and that is when I put my foot down. We hired the pool company to do the weekly maintenance.

They were about $100 a week, but it was either that or marriage counseling, so the cost was negligible by comparison. And all this money was for something that was being used under half a dozen times a year!

Throughout this period, I was still lobbying hard to get the pool filled in. I figured we were spending about $3000 a year on a pool no one used! What a complete waste of money.

All of this came to a head last year (2011) when the pool guys could not get the pool blue. They would come out, clean it, add chemicals, etc, but no amount of shock was clearing the pool water. It turned out that our pool had become porous, and an algae of some-sort-or-another was living in the lining, and could not be removed. The cost to empty the pool, blast the sides, reskim, fix the one broken tile and redo the cool-decking was $15,000. Yup, FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! To fix a 35-year-old pool that probably didn’t cost that much to install originally.

When we first moved in, I had given a cursory look into filling in the pool, and that cost was approximately $10,000.

Hmmmmm $15,000 to fix a pool we seldom used + the $3000 yearly costs, versus $10,000 to fill it in and be done with the headache and regain a portion of our yard.

Seemed like a no-brainer to me!

Well, over the course of the winter hubby ruminated on the idea. I kept offering to get a few more quotes to fix the pool, and he kept putting it off. I suspected he was coming around to my way of thinking but wasn’t certain.

Three weeks ago, we had a clean-up landscaper over to quote spring cleaning yard work and trim the bushes that enclose our backyard (they are almost 16 feet tall and that is totally beyond us). During casual conversation, we mentioned the issue of the pool and that we only knew of one place that filled in pools in the area. He told us of someone he worked with frequently who specialized in pool-fill-ins, and gave us a name and number.

A few days later, the excavator stopped by, gave us a quote for $7,800 to fill in the pool and that included sod and resodding.

Done! Hubby checked references, and we signed on the dotted line.

Two days later, they were here and starting the work of breaking up the pool.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


Max would like to help!

Filling In An In-ground Pool


The final empty.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


They moved in a small bobcat while the pool was emptying.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


He punched hundreds of holes in the pool for water drainage.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


Once he got an area weak enough, he’d start collapsing the exterior of the pool and the cool deck.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


While no one else was amazed with the bobcat operator, I was simply astounded he didn’t dump the bobcat in the empty pool!

Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


They had intended to fill in the pool with fill the next day, but as luck would have it rain was forecast and they were concerned that we’d have a mudhole in the backyard before the sod could be laid and the inspector signed off on the work.

So, the initial break-up work was done on Thursday, and they did not return to fill in the pool until the following Tuesday.

Some groundwater did sink back in, but we have a guarantee that if the fill-in sinks, they will come back next year and refill and resod the depressed area.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


They covered all the sidewalks:

Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


And the grass:

Filling In An In-ground Pool


And then the dump trucks started arriving with the clean fill.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool


In all, we were told that the 10 rounds of trucks (two per time) were dumping 20 yards of fill each time … 200 yards of fill total.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


The bobcat driver made himself a path that he kept driving over again and again. Not only did that allow him to reach the furthest end of the pool, but he was basically tamping down the fill as he went!

Filling In An In-ground Pool


Filling In An In-ground Pool



Almost done.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


And they filled it!

Filling In An In-ground Pool


After they finished filling in the broken apart pool with the clean fill, they added a layer of topsoil and screened.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


The next day, Wednesday, our sprinkler guy (who is all sorts of awesome! Truly, I can’t recommend this guy enough. If anyone in the Buffalo-area needs a recommendation, you can email me!) came in to lay the lines, the inspector came to check the electric, they laid the sod, cleaned up after themselves (they were amazing!) and we now have this:

Filling In An In-ground Pool


We had a heater and a sand filter in the garage, as well as electric for the pool lights, the filter, and pipes for the natural gas. That is all gone now too! They dumped the sand into the pool, wheeled that empty container out along with the heater, took all the pipes and the pool cover (a shame that could not be reused on another pool, but it is custom made). We now have a good eighth of our garage back which I am sure hubby will quickly fill with useless stuff.

Also, even though it is only April and the daytime highs are only in the 50s, we still need the new sod watered heavily. The sprinklers did this once in the middle of the night, and once during the day for a little over a week. It was soggy, but that sod grass has greened-up nicely.

All in all, for us, this was a wonderful experience. It took three days total to go from a useless, old pool to a wonderful green yard that we will enjoy thoroughly, especially when I consider we are saving thousands of dollars per year on not having to maintain a pool! If we had done this when we moved in, the fill-in would have paid for itself in three years. Oh well, hindsight is 20-20. I am just glad it is done and we can now enjoy the savings.

Filling In An In-ground Pool


It is now a year later and I could not possibly be happier with our decision to fill in our pool. The picture above shows the area a year later, last week to be specific. Not only do we have more green-space in our backyard, we don’t have to deal with pool upkeep. We also no longer worry while on vacation that someone might enter the pool – regardless of how high the arborvitae, or how sturdy the gate lock.

All-in-all this is one of the best decisions we ever made for our homelife!

Update it is now 2018, six years later. It is still my favorite home renovation project to date. I cannot tell you how thrilled I have been to have so much of the backyard reclaimed, to not have the pool costs, to not have the worry of when we go away someone will fall in and hurt themself (and later sue us!). In all that time we have had one small depression at the shallowest point of the fill-in (go figure!). We only notice when we are running over it when playing with the dog. I again want to say how thrilled we are with this project, and the contractor who did it (he’s still in business, and I am still sending out his phone number to those who inquire).

Note: this post originally appeared on my old blog, Coupons, Deals and More



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Laugh For Today

Laugh For Today, joke of the day


Laugh For Today


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