Summer is wrapping up here in Northeast Oklahoma. That means we’ll soon be winterizing our above ground pool.
Ah…the joys of owning an above ground swimming pool. It looks so lovely when you’re on Pinterest and see how people have elevated what is essentially a giant, round, metal water trough and turned it into a work of art.
It’s so appealing when you’re at the pool store and they’re showing you all these lovely photos of decks and landscaping and lovely things you can do to make your above ground pool a part of a scenic yard. And you get sucked in, totally sucked in, because your yard isn’t really big enough for an in-ground pool and this is so much less expensive. Plus, it seems like a great way to get the whole family to your house on hot summer weekends. So you take the plunge, sell a kidney, and start making payments on your own personal oasis in the plains.
That’s when the fun begins. No, not the fun of floating on a lounger on a hot day, or a game of Marco Polo with the kiddos. The fun. And by fun, I mean work and frustration.
Because once it’s filled up, you have to get your chemistry degree and start balancing the water. Well, not really. You take a sample of water to the pool place and after mortgaging your house, you leave with a wide assortment of things that, if improperly mixed, will make the neighbors think Al Quaeda targeted your backyard shed.
After reading 5 pages of instructions about what to add to your science experiment, you wait another couple of days and take your sample back to the pool place and after about 5 more of these trips you’re finally given the OK to swim. And it’s only the end of June so you’ve got at least 6 more weeks of swimming time left, right ? Yay!
But it’s still a lot of work. Here’s what a typical week with an above ground pool looks like:
Sunday – Vacuum the bottom of the pool to get sand/dirt/debris out. Strain the bugs and leaves floating on the top. Empty the strainer basket that has 1000 june bugs in it and add Chlorine sticks. Go for a 30 minute swim.
Monday – It rained last night, so add a healthy dose of shock. You have to wait an hour before you can go swimming so do this before you go to work in the morning so that it’ll be ready when you come home. Come home in the evening and strain the leaves and bugs floating on the pool. Clean out the strainer basket that has 1000 june bugs and a couple of wasps in it. Go for a 30 minute swim.
Tuesday – nobody has time to go swimming. We don’t even go out and look at the pool.
Wednesday – nobody went swimming yesterday or checked it so the bottom of the pool got dirty because nobody was in there to kick up the sand/dirt for the pump/filter to do its job. You can either vacuum the bottom of the pool or get in and walk around on dirt and hope you kick enough of it up to let the filter get it. Strain the bugs and leaves off the top and go for a 45 minute swim. Yell at your teenager because he never comes swimming with you even though you really bought this pool for him to enjoy too. Get out, check the strainer basket which still has 1000 june bugs, a few wasps and something unidentifable in it. Put in more chlorine sticks.
Thursday – bad storm last night. Leaves, branches, debris and a dead squirrel in the pool. Run screaming into the house. Have a cocktail and send The Husband Dude out to deal with it. The Husband Dude strains and vacuums everything. He throws the dead squirrel in the neighbor’s backyard because their redneck bug zapper is annoying and scares the dog and it’s an eyesore with it’s bright orange extension cord. He throws shock in the pool. He starts trimming back the branches from the giant bush-tree-vine thing that has taken over half the backyard and is causing all the debris in the pool. He falls off the ladder backwards and saves himself by grabbing a vine. He hangs upside down with all the blood rushing to his head for at least 5 minutes because wife is inside drinking and doesn’t hear him. By the time he’s done with everything, it’s too dark to go swimming.
Friday – no storms last night, thank God. But there’s still debris in the pool. Start planning ways to rid the yard of the foliage menace. The Slash and burn method and napalm make the top two of your list. Vacuum and strain everything. Check the strainer basket – 1000 june bugs, enough wasps to fill a nest, a family of frogs and what’s left of the dead squirrel’s tail. Put in chlorine sticks. Get on your floating lounger and fall asleep. Wake up at 11:00 pm in total darkness to the sound of the redneck bug zapper, eaten alive by mosquitos and…wait…what is that? There’s something swimmning around in here with me…
Saturday – time to put the weekly chemicals in. Do it all without any gloves or safety equipment whatsoever, despite the warning labels on everything. Vacuum and strain everything. Nothing in the strainer basket. Probably because everything just landed on you and had a poolside dinner for a while when you fell asleep in the pool yesterday. Just as you’re finishing up, the motor on the pump quits working. Of course. Because it’s freakin’ Saturday and nobody will be able to come out until Monday and by then, the uncirculated water will turn black and require a whole ton of additional chemicals to get it back to normal.
Go back inside the house. Pour yourself a drink. Call the realtor and list your house for sale “as is”.
Consider leaving and changing your name.
Winterize the pool so you can start all over next year…