Fill day is here! I spent the morning installing the lighting, which consists of 3 500-watt worklights, purchased from Lowes for $10 each. They are mounted on 10′ 2x4s, which are subsequently zip-tied to our existing fenceposts. As our rink sits inside an old horse riding arena, there are fenceposts galore, which makes it easy to mount larger poles without digging or anchoring with cement.
Once the lighting was in place, I laid down the liner by myself. This thing was a beast, but I had it situated and secured with spring clamps in about 15 minutes. After a mid-day appointment, I met back at my house with my dad to await the water truck. Figuring it would be a small tanker, I was surprised to see a giant 18-wheel tanker with the words “POOL WATER” emblazoned on the side slowly roll by my house at exactly 12pm. After connecting his hoses and assigning my dad to direct traffic around his truck, the driver started the water flowing. I was left to my own devices as I nervously paced around the perimeter of the rink. A blowout in any section would be a disaster, and once I realized where my low end was, I hustled over to pound in some rebar as reinforcement. After 20 long minutes, the fill was complete. The end result is that I have a very distinct low and high end, where I thought initially that my rink was relatively flat. The water in the deep end is right up to the top of my plywood boards, or about 12″ high. The shallow end is about 4″ deep. My dad and I shot down to Home Depot, where I was psyched to find a bunch of scrap plywood in 2’x4′ pieces, for $0.51 each. Can’t beat that! We came back to the house and wedged these taller pieces between the liner and the existing 1′-tall boards to gain another foot of height, stapling the liner in place.
As I write this a few hours later, we’re getting smacked with a little under a foot of snow. The snow appears to be melting nicely into the water, which should aid in freezing. The wild card is Sunday’s storm, which might be even bigger. Either all the snow will melt into the water and freeze with next week’s below-freezing temps, or I’ll be left with a slushy mess and no ice to walk on and shovel. I know I’m in good hands with so many other members of the Yahoo Backyard Rink group filling around the same time, but still nervous and optimistic for a Christmas skate.