After years of getting my parents pool ready for the summer months, I have finally given up any hope of being able to uncover the pool, add chlorine and let the swimming begin. The attached picture is after a few hours of ph adjustment, chlorine hyper-shock therapy and a large dose of algaecide. When I uncovered the pool, the shade of green was described by my daughter as a black green.
During the next few days I will document the steps I take to achieve that crystal clear water you see in all the commercials advertising pool supplies. But for now, I have to get started with the initial steps. We have several swimming pool supply stores located near our office and all of them offer free water testing. You take a sample of the pool water to the store, they electronically test your water and tell you which chemicals you need and what steps you need to take. Nothing could be easier. Not so fast I say. Patience and a lot of physical work will be required during the next few days. You add chemicals and wait. You vacuum and then you wait for the leaves disturbed by the vacuuming to settle back down to the bottom. You chase your Labrador Retriever from the pool. Vacuum again and then clean your skimmer basket. Backwash your filter. And you repeat this procedure many times.
While you are doing this it helps to visualize people actually having fun in the pool. Keep this mental image close at hand, because before you reach that idyllic setting there is a lot of hard work that has to be done. In the coming days, you will wish you had paid more attention in chemistry class. You will ponder whether it would be nobler to donate your swimming pool to the marine biology department of the local college as a living lab of pond life sustainability in a suburban landscape. I often think back to the swimming pool on Treasure Cay in the Bahamas where the owner finally had enough and filled his pool in with dirt and sand and planted tropical plants where once was a pool. But my favorite part was that the diving board, swim ladder and steps were left in place as if the pool were still in use for swimming. I have experienced those same thoughts that led to filling in the pool with some other low or no maintenance substance, anything but water.
The irony of water being so valuable because it supports life, breeds life and is necessary for life to exist, except when it is used in a swimming pool. In the pool our goal is to make the water uninhabitable by any life form. So we are fighting against nature when it comes to swimming pools. And given just a few days of chemical respite, mother nature will once again rule your pool. Given six months with no chemical or physical interference, it is no wonder that a slimy green mess occupies the area that was once filled with crystalline water that shimmered when disturbed. During the next week, our water will clear up. The leaves on the bottom will have been removed and the pool will once again sparkle.
But the best part of having a pool is when one of your friends comes over and brings the entire family to swim and they have a great time. This always leads to the statement “Honey why don’t we get a pool, look how much fun the kids are having. Can’t you just picture coming home and relaxing after a hard day’s work?” Now understand it is your obligation as a pool owner to encourage this idea. Misery loves company and you can add one more merry soul to the mix if he succumbs to the pressure of his wife and children wanting their own pool. The most entertaining part of talking someone else into owning a pool is when they come to you thinking you are an expert with their woes of how much work it takes to keep their pool looking good. Just do your best to have a puzzled look on your face and deny ever having had any issues with your pool. Just hope that he never sees the local pool service truck in front of your house then the cat is out of the bag.
Over the next week and hopefully no longer I will take you along as we get the swimming pool ready for a summer of fun and relaxation. So check out our daily updates.