Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Welcome Back!!!!!!

I love my pool.

I don't mean that in a bratty, elitist or exclusionary way. I am fully aware how unbelievably blessed and lucky I am to live in this home and have this luxury available to me. I have felt like a kid in a candy store since we walked in the door the first time. This house spoke to us. It fits us. It's old(er). The bedrooms are too small. There is not anywhere nearly enough closet space. The kitchen is outdated and tiny. And yet I love it here. The light in the nursery is beautiful. The back room has a fireplace, celestial windows and a huge plate glass window that overlooks the pool... ohhhhhhh, the pool.

Our first summer here, we swam every day. I would often swim during the day either before or after my shift at the spa. We would sit on the pool steps each night - usually with a glass plastic cup of wine - to talk through our day then swim with our dog. The maintenance that a pool requires seemed like nothing back then. We were already out there. It was no big deal to skim out a few leaves, check the chemical levels and quickly balance the water.

Our next summer was different. I was pregnant and we were separated. Then I was newly post-partum and we were living together, but we were kinda busy. The pool was swim-ready, but mostly unused.

Last summer was just a weird time. Daddy Don was so busy with work, and Lily Ruth and I did our swimming at Miss Diana's. The pool verged on readiness most of the time, but we only brought it up to par and used it a handful of times.

Over the winter, it got out of hand. REALLY out of hand. At one point, a neighbor reported us to the City for a code violation. They claimed that our pool was a stagnant breeding ground for insects. Now, I will grant that we had an algae problem. I will even grant that it was unattractive. What it was not, was stagnant or full of bugs. The pump ran every day, and it always had enough chlorine to keep it bug free. The City inspector came out, took one look at it and apologized for the inconvenience. She complimented my home, then took her leave.

We've struggled to bring it back since then, but it has been a losing battle. On more than one occasion, my sweet husband had threatened to drain and power wash it. I talked him out of it each time. We finally conceded defeat, and rearranged our budget again - we needed professional help. I contacted the service used by our close friends. The guy came out and gave us a quote for weekly service and another amount to bring the pool up to par. I said GREAT - do it. It was a week before I heard back. He came out last Thursday, and left without saying anything or (more importantly) doing anything to the pool. I was confused, and my pool was just a filthy as before. Two days later, he called to say that our (poor, poor) pool was worse off than he had initially thought. He couldn't just scrub, vacuum and balance it. It truly needed to be - yep, you guessed it - drained then power washed. He'd be happy to do that for us for $375. Hell, we could do it ourselves for less, right? I mean, how hard could it be?

SO, at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, we decided to drain our pool. We did a (very) minimal amount of on-line research, and learned a few things. 1) Our pool doesn't have a drain. 2) Home Depot will rent us a submergible pump. 3) The City wants our pool water drained down the sewer and not out into the street. 4) The location of our sewer tie-in. 4) My uncle's power washer is broken. 5) Home Depot will rent us a power washer.

We started draining the pool at 12:30 using our pool's pump. The backyard is nicely watered now. Don got back from Home Depot, and we stared at the pump with trepidation. It didn't come with a manual or any sort of verbal instruction. It looked like we were just supposed to plug it in and drop it down into the pool. Um, really? Drop something plugged-in down into a big thing of water? I asked Don if he wanted me to dial the 9 and the 1 in order to save time in case this went horridly wrong. He laughed (nervously) and sent Lily Ruth and I inside to monitor the drains. He plugged in the pump and sent it down. No sparks. No water backing up into our drains. Water flowing quickly through the hose and into the sewer tie-in. Success.

From then it was a waiting game. As the water receded, my husband and my uncle took turns power washing the sides.

In the down time, they fixed the fence and worked on what we loosely refer to as 'landscaping'. At 8:30 p.m., the pool was empty, and the power washer was silent. We turned on the hose, and called it a night.

Somebody told Don that if we called the city water system, that they would send out a truck of water to refill our pool. Not only would it be faster (duh) but it would be cheaper than the hose. Sounded great. I called. Not only would they not be sending out a truck, but since our city is now under Stage One water restrictions (due to our conspicuous lack of rain), we were obligated to fill a minimum of thirty percent of our pool with water not from our city's supply. Ooooops! 'Soooo, how do I go about finding someone to truck in water?' 'Call a pool company' *click*.

We talked it over. We could just pretend like we didn't know. Just leave the hose running and hope for the best. But that was the wrong thing to do. Morally wrong. Wrong for the water supply. Could possibly cause us to incur the wrath of the City in the form of a fine... etc., etc.

I called the company who installed our pool to find out how big it was - it's 18,200 gallons. That means that we needed almost 5,500 gallons of water.

I found the guy that trucks in water. That's right THE guy. Not the closest guy. Not the cheapest company. The one guy. He was nice, but booked. It might be a week before he could get to us. 'Oh, o.k. Thanks...' He called back in two hours. He might be able to make it out tomorrow. Would anybody be home. You bet your ass I would. 'By the way, how much will this run us?' 'Five hundred dollars for the truckload.' D'oh! 'How much is in a truckload?' 'Six thousand gallons.' Perfect. *sigh* Not exactly how we wanted to spend our heard-earned savings account, but do-able.

I was on the edge of my seat all morning. Pleeeeeease let him call! Well he did call, and he was on his way! My hero. He pulled his shiny silver transport truck up in front of our house and uncoiled a few hoses. We were in business. Keely put herself in charge:

It was awesome. Six thousand gallons of beautifully blue, deliciously cold water in about forty-five minutes. Keely swam for about thirty of those minutes :-)

I've gotta say, we didn't intend for our one day DIY project to cost us over six hundred dollars (plus next month's water bill), but it has already been worth it. My limping dog is already swimming her way to better hip joint health. My daughter and I have already taken our nude selves out to stand in the icy water and discuss how much we want to swim. Lily Ruth went all the way down to the last step (just over my knees and almost to her nipples) into water so cold that it took her breath away. She was ecstatic. I had to drag her out so that she could warm up. As I put long socks and thick leg warmers on her knocking knees, she babbled excitedly about getting back into the water ASAP.

Now she's talking about taking Lucy out to put her feet in. I told her that Lucy was too little to swim, so she decreed that Lucy would only put her feet in.

That's Lily Ruth saying 'CHEESE'. Lucy is not saying much of anything :-P

I think we're going to get quite a bit of use out of our pool this year. I can't wait!!!


  1. Whoohoo! While I don't envy the work, I do envy the reward. Hope the pool warms up soon! How long does that usually take?

  2. Who knows? Once the air temp warms up again (today or tomorrow?) it'll start warming the water as well. My guess is that it will be a few weeks. I dearly hope that it will be less.