Soon after purchasing VT we started to notice a pattern. Everyone loved the house. Enjoyed the island. Appreciated the new efforts we were making on their behalf. And then half of you asked for a hot tub......really? A hot tub in the caribbean? Seriously, the pool is unheated and we have not seen it below 78. Normally it is over 80. Anyway, we kept seeing these requests.
Then it happened......Dan Boyd (you might remember him from the solar blog) said that the water recreation boondoggle conference was being held on St. Thomas. As such our friends at Angel Electric had floor models for sale at a discount. Additionally we would not have to pay for shipping!!! Keep in mind that shipping said spa to St John would cost roughly 5k.
We love our guests, of course we can spring for a 15k spa for 7.5k! We would only need two additional rentals to cover it! We told Dan to bag that spa and put it on our deck! Thus started a downfall greater than Brian's solar folly.....On the face of it, we got quite the deal. Then it sunk in, where the heck are we gonna put this thing? As we were due to visit in a few weeks I was certain that we could find somewhere on our 2000 square foot deck to put a 25 square foot spa! Cue the Jumbies....
The day after we arrived I reviewed our itinerary for the trip. As we had owned the house for less than a year, we were still mid remodel. We had a list of things to check and people to see. High on my list was to find a place for the hot tub. No problem, it is a big deck after all....(and the Jumbies arrived in force). Breaking out my trusty tape measure I went about locating the perfect location.
So I wandered around the deck waving my tape measure like Excalibur.....though I might consider myself a construction King Arthur, in reality I turned out to be the village idiot. I bought a hot tub, yet had no where to put it. The areas where I thought it would work blocked all passage....thats a no. The other area would mean moving the outside table we just bought....my wife really likes that table.....um, no. Further, we need higher voltage electric run to it...um, drilling through our precious VT would put me in the doghouse, or perhaps sleeping with the iguana's.
I called in reinforcements. Which meant I called Dan and begged him to help me find a location. So we wandered around the deck and he came to the same conclusion I did, no joy. The hot tub would not fit well on the deck. Which left us with putting it at the end of the the driveway next to the stairs.....seriously. After looking at each other and realizing Lisa would kill us, we looked for a more appropriate solution.
Dan and I wandered around the property looking for an appropriate location to put the bloody thing and came up with either in front of the Craver suite (also known as Francis Bay suite) or build a new section of decking below the rotunda. We also wanted the amazing view visible from the hot tub. As we have plans for the area in front of the Craver suite (eventually we will turn it into a grassy area for our dogs). We opted for plan B. This is where things got completely out of hand.
As the location is not even close to being level, we knew there would be a need for support piers and a retaining wall. It would however have an incredible view! The plan called for a 14 by 14 foot deck level and offset from the pool deck. We also wanted to do our best to make it blend in with the existing deck. Travertine tile was the closest we could find to the existing tile. We designed Stone posts, a stone retaining wall and found the gentleman who did the original railing. We even ordered 3 extra sconce covers for the post lights from Catherine Perry.
When estimating the deck, Dan came up with a rough 20k cost. I could hear the Jumbies laughing, but we owned a hot tub and were committed. After the footings were poured and the forms were in place for our new deck, Dan realized that we needed a pumper truck for the concrete. One rents the pumper truck and its crew for a day. These guys are worth every penny. The problem occurs when the Jumbies interfere with the concrete truck. It shows up late and you are still paying for them to sit for half a day. Half of your concrete mysteriously disappears before the truck gets to you....you will still need the pumper truck the next day. Yes, another day renting the truck and crew.
While the pumper truck was there Dan pointed out to me that the hot tub would not fit through the walkway....he did so while grinning at me. I figured he had a plan. And it was a doozie. We are going to tie the hot tub to the concrete pumper truck's boom and fly it over the house and to the new deck area. After mentally processing this idea and realizing we can't very well have a hot tub deck without a hot tub. So we were already committed, and might need to be after this adventure, I agreed to his plan. Now to inform my wife.
Lisa's initial reaction to the idea of a flying hot tub was one of absolute confidence in Dan and I. That is to say, she was confident we were going to drop it on the house, us, in the pool or some natural disaster would strike. Tempting the Jumbies in such a manner was not a bright idea in her mind. She decided this would be a good time to go visit our good friend Gretchen Labrenz and drink lunch, I mean have lunch. Call me when its over she said, and off she went giggling at Dan and I. I swear I heard her muttering "fly the hot tub over the house, what a bunch of goofs."
Dan's guys tied up the hot tub, and it slowly lifted up and over the house. VT is about 700 feet up the mountain. It gets a bit Breezy up here. As I watched the Palm trees swaying I realized my wife was right, we are goofs. So I broke out my camera and started to record the event. I would at least have proof that a hot tub did fall from the sky onto the house.
The gentleman handling the Boom is an artist, he barely cleared the house with the hot tub to keep the wind issue low. Then he slowly lowered it to the area next to the new deck. The whole flight took about 15 minutes. After which I texted Lisa that the hot tub has landed. She and Gretchen apparently thought I meant it had fallen. After explaining that it had not in fact fallen and was now proudly sitting next to its permanent location. Must have been a good lunch!
The rest of the install was uneventful. We did however make a mistake and put a light on a post which can't be used. It is too close to the hot tub and violates an electric safety code. So we have a beautiful Catherine Perry sconce unlit. Which brings us to the final tally. To recap, the project was supposed to take 1 month, it was finished in 4...more or less. We had disappearing concrete, a pumper truck, wiring issues, lighting issues and a flying hot tub. So this would explain how a 7.5k hot tub with a 20k deck truly costs 65k. It is the Virgin Islands after all.
The ironic part is that we gave away our hot tub in Pennsylvania the same week we agreed to buy one in the caribbean. We hope everyone enjoys the hot tub. We do have a video of this and if i get enough feedback I will try to put at least part of it up.
Lisa has put the flying hot tub video up on the Villa Tesori Facebook page. Click the link to be taken to it.