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Albert L Isaac

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The Joy of (Cess) Pool Maintenance
By Albert L Isaac   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, August 11, 2007
Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2007

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The Trials and Tribulations of Owning a Swimming Pool

My pool is green again. Alas, I have let it fall to ruin. There may be more aquatic life in there than in the Santa Fe River.

It takes no time at all for a pool to go green, even in cold weather. This time I let it go without maintenance a mere week or two or – okay, all winter.

I have come to find that owning a pool requires 5000 hours of labor for every hour of play, with yours truly doing 99.98 percent of the labor.

Our pool has no cover. We have five thousand trees on our property, which translates to 20 billion leaves, sticks, seedpods, frogs, and caterpillars that can potentially drop into the pool.

And they do. Usually right after I have spent an afternoon fishing them out with the net. In fact, one day as I pulled out the last loathsome leaf a big wind blew. Ten thousand leaves dropped into the crystal clear water of my pristine pool as I helplessly stood by and watched, net in hand.

So I have developed a technique for retrieving leaves while expending the least amount of energy: I make my kids do it.

Just kidding. I still do the majority of the work. But since the kids do the majority of the play it is high time they share in the labor.

What does ‘high time’ mean anyway? We'll get back to this later.

I am still learning the fine art of pool chemistry. According to my pool maintenance newsletter, there is a lot more to balancing the pool’s pH than one might think. In fact, there is more to it than I care to read about.

My method is based upon sight and smell: if the pool is green-brown and smells like a swamp then chlorinate. If the water is clear but your eyes aren’t burning and you can’t smell the chlorine, dump some in.

These days one needs a PhD for proper pH determination. Many factors come into play in keeping a pool clean and clear, such as total alkalinity and calcium hardness. Unfortunately, I neglected to pick up my chemistry degree before ending my college career. But not to worry, there is help for the chemically impaired, I mean challenged.

I bought a water testing kit. It has little vials that you fill with pool water. Then you put in drops of food coloring that are labeled with skulls and crossbones and then the water changes color and somehow you can tell how much bromide or acid or some other chemical (none of which I actually have) you need to put into the pool to make it balanced.

I brought a sample of my pool water to the pool store. They ran it through some kind of fancy machine and handed me a printout showing what amounts of acid and chlorine and bromide and beer would be necessary for me to fully enjoy my pool.

I have also learned a lot about pump repair and plumbing. I had to replace the motor on the pump. After I put it back together I hit the switch. But gremlins had come into my yard and turned off the spigots that allow water to flow into the pool.

The pump ran and ran but the water would not flow out. Like an idiot I watched the pressure build, scratching my head. I’m lucky it didn’t explode. It wasn’t until the pipes began springing leaks that I realized the valves were closed.

I went back to the pool store and asked for a can of Gremlins-B-Gone. They looked at me like I was insane so I settled for PVC sealant and I was back in business. Sure, it still leaks a bit, but I hear that leaking pipes keep gremlins away.

Now that July is upon us, I would have to say it is high time the kids get out there and clean – I mean swim in their pool.

And as I conclude this exciting saga, it is high time I provide you with the definition of “high time”, culled from the most reliable of sources, the Internet.

High times: The right or latest time by which something ought to have been done.
Example: “It's high time you get out there and clean the pool.”

Also: 'High times' comes from the same root as 'high days and holidays', i.e. days of religious note and festivals. High in that sense has been used in English since the middle ages, although there are few references to it in print until the 19th century, as in the following excerpt from the Canadian newspaper, The British Colonist Pool Party, 1858:

"The Johns had a high time, drinking brandy and eating fried hog and not cleaning the pool."

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