Chemical Romance - Buying a Pool
Everybody in the Pool!
It was a hot and humid Saturday afternoon with not a whole lot going on. I could hear the growl of a lawn mower in the distance as I stood quietly contemplating if I should flip the burgers one last time on the grill and risk over-cooking them. Yes, I remember it very vividly, the day it was decided that I would become a chemist.
Now interestingly enough, it was not I that made this decision. Nor was it my parents, or even my wife. It was a 9 year old child, my son, and his conniving younger sister. As I stood there minding my own business I was suddenly attacked with a relentless barrage of questions as to whether or not we could buy a pool.
It had been brought up once or twice before but today the troops were not letting up. They even brought in the heavy artillery when my wife chimed in with her opinion that maybe it was not such a bad idea. After a couple of minutes, I caved and agreed. I also burnt the burgers.
Why not I thought? How much work could it possibly be? I asked my wife, as I bit into my charcoal sandwich. Being a pool virgin, I immediately went to work researching the topic. To the computer! After an hour of surfing the web I found myself over-whelmed and decided to ask some coworkers on Monday.
It seemed that everyone had an opinion and it was going to be up to me to figure it all out. After a couple of days of speaking to friends and neighbors and visiting pool distributors we finally pulled the trigger and purchased our first pool! Nothing too fancy, a 15’ round above ground 54” inch vinyl liner job. To the kids it was a big kid’s pool!
Almost immediately after giving the down payment I began having a bad feeling about the entire venture. For starters, I needed permits? Plural! A construction permit was required by the town - for an above ground pool? Then I also needed an electrical permit prior to having the electrical work started. Worst of all I was expected to be home between 9AM and 5PM to wait for these different inspectors!
After this initial shock, my downward spiral accelerated as I learned I would be required to ask the township for a variance. Yes, it seemed my intended corner yard location would put my pool 9 feet from my property line fence while the code required a minimum of 10 feet! There was even more bad news when I found out that the pool installer only installs the pool and I would have to hire a licensed electrician to do all the wiring and electrical work. More time off from work!
After weeks of torture we finally had the pool up and running. Unfortunately it was late in the season and we really only had a couple of weeks to enjoy our new investment. My new headache was learning about all of the chemicals required to keep the pool clean.
Who knew? I mean, I sort of knew about chlorine, and that you needed a filter, but what are all these other chemicals? It was off to the computer for many more hours of Internet reading and study. So, how hard could it possibly be? Little did I know. Bromine and algae killer? Stain fighters and clarifiers? Enzymes and water balancers? I have to balance water? Oh boy, more work!
When did owning a pool require having an advance degree in chemistry? I never intended to go to school to study this field. I just wanted a pool, not hours of grief. On top of all this I was shocked when I learned the cost of chemicals.
It is now a couple of years later and I have learned to cope with the daily routine of maintaining a pool. I have learned the tricks of how to clean it, when to filter it, and just the right balance of chemicals. The problem now is that the kids will never go in the pool!
I stood silently and flipped the burgers again as I contemplated that my daughter had only gone in the pool once this year. Wow, I thought. I spent about $100 dollars in chemicals for her to go in the pool for about 15 minutes! It was almost a crime! My annoyance turned to anger as looked down and realized that I burnt the burgers once again.