The pool and I are having a disagreement.
I believe a swimming pool should be a crystal clear place of refreshing dips and a producer of delightful childhood memories.
My pool believes it is a murky, mysterious pond, one where kids dare not venture lest they be eaten by the inevitable swamp beast lurking beneath.
Needless to say, this has been a trying pool year. I’ve had this pool for 13 years, and each year I have my occasional pool snafu. Usually once, sometimes twice a year, the pool decides it will go to a lovely greenish color. At this point, I solve the problem thusly: A full-on chemical assault that immediately clears it up and lets the pool know who is in charge.
This year, apparently, the pool revolted. It decided chemical warfare was no longer something it would comply with and decided it was, in fact, easy being green. I spent the vast majority of my free time this summer vacuuming my pool, adding chemicals to the pool, vacuuming the pool some more and then adding some more chemicals. Toward the end of the summer, I started wondering if I could save time by just throwing cash directly into it.
The rain is getting a lot of credit for the algae. And while it has rained a good bit this summer, I see other folks’ pool, and they do not look like pool tables.
Fortunately, kids really don’t care about the color of a pool, at least when it’s just them splashing around. And, as I would often tell my wife, “Hey, they swim in the lake. How is that different?” Her somewhat valid point – it’s a lake, and we are not paying lots of money to put chemicals in said lake in an effort to clear it up.
Plus, it’s nice to have a good-looking pool. It doesn’t matter how much effort you have put into your pool. If folks see it’s green, they immediately think you do not tend to your pool and have possibly abandoned your home.
I did learn one little trick to masking an almost clear pool this year. We were having a pool party and expecting quite a few folks. Because I did not want them to think we were sneaking into an abandoned home to have our party, I did my level best to get the pool as clear as possible leading up to the party. I added chemicals. I vacuumed. I added more chemicals. I let my wife vacuum after she decided it was not good for the neighbors to hear me having animated and occasionally threatening conversations with the algae in my pool.
As the party approached, the pool was looking the best it had all summer – not crystal clear, but not emerald green either. It was a bluish haze now, but you could at least see all of the bottom. How to finish the deal of a sparkling clear pool illusion? $10 in beach balls. Blow ‘em up, throw ‘em in – voila! Look at all the summertime color filled fun! Lemonade anyone!?!?!
Alas, a few short days after the party, we were back to square one, which, by the way, is a green square.
The folks at the pool place are a little flummoxed, too. A few times, they have checked the chemical levels, noted that they are all perfect, and the looked at me as if I was possibly insane. “Are you sure it’s green?” I now take frequent pictures of the pool with my phone. I’m like proud father with his brand new 20,000-gallon green child.
I continue to hope that this is a fluke season and that eventually I will get the right combination of chemicals, vacuuming and patience needed to get the water back to its see-through splendor that we all strive for. Granted, based on how this year has gone, that should probably take place juuuust in time for winter.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.