I really needed the pool gods to kick in a little time here. The pool walls were still curving in drastically, looking like they were going to snap at any second. I spent the time connecting the pump, filter and hoses to the pool. For a moment I flashed to Clark Griswold in “Christmas Vacation.” The scene where he is dejectedly connecting up the reindeer and the sleigh because he can’t get any of the 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights to work. That doesn’t go well either and he ends up kicking and smashing the decoration. I was feeling a lot like that.
I carefully followed the directions and filled the sand filter with 55 pounds of filter sand, $13.99 for a 50 pound bag. Why in the hell couldn’t they make the filter hold 50 pounds of sand? No, you have to buy two bags to get to 55 pounds. Like hot dogs and buns. Why do they do this?
I also needed 200 pounds of pool salt. Total cost around $60. This puts a 3,000 ppm salt content to the water. It then goes through a process that creates chlorine for the pool. Advertised as better for your skin, won’t fade your swim suits, won’t burn your eyes, just don’t drink the water. In comparison, the ocean has about 35,000 parts per million of salt. An interesting thing about salt is that it does not evaporate. Learn something every day. Adding water to the pool as it evaporates does not change the salt content. The temperatures were still in the 90s. The sun was shining brightly.
Miracle of miracles, as the pool filled the final few feet, the side walls began to straighten out. The swimming pool resembled to some degree, the picture on the box. But…..the two inch pavers started snapping like twigs. This pool has a water weight somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 pounds. Most of that is pressing down on the sand bottom, but some serious weight is being placed on the U-shaped supports holding up the vinyl bag. Enough weight to crack 2” of concrete in about eight locations. Be gone Satan. This is where I drew the line. I didn’t care anymore. If the pool collapsed and 8,400 gallons of water spilled out into the yard, so be it. I did all that could be done. I was formulating in my mind a way to get back at the moron that designed this thing.
I ran the filter, (It actually worked.) for two full days before taking the water sample into “Leslie’s Pool Supplies”for their “free” analysis. I left there with $300.00 worth of Acid, Conditioner, Shock, Cyanuric Acid, etc., etc., etc. We also bought a solar blanket, pool thermometer, and two floating tubes with cup holders.
I spent the next two days dissolving the chemicals in the pool; all in an attempt to get the pool water balanced. The weather now began to deteriorate.
Drought stricken New Mexico was now, over the next week, going to double its normal rainfall total. Literally set records. Every afternoon, the skies opened up and poured rain, flashed lighting and rumbled thunder. The rain, of course, affects the Ph., and alkalinity of the pool water which was still not balanced. The balance I was attempting to achieve with hundreds of dollars in chemicals. We are now at over 6” of rainfall for the year, and we are expecting at least two more days this week. The temperatures have dipped into the seventies.
Last Tuesday, after completely throwing my back out shoveling gravel back around the pool, during a break in the rain, (I now resemble the “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” I can’t straighten up at all.) I decided I was going to swim in this pool. A window of opportunity appeared over the Western sky. An area of blue sky, as my grandmother used to say, that was large enough to make a pair of sailor’s pants. She always insisted that was a sign the weather was going to clear up. It did, for about two hours. The pool water was just barely 78 degrees. I put air in the tubes, threw them in the pool, and climbed the ladder.
Oh my God, that water was cold. I swam a few laps, about two strokes each, and floated around on the tube for about an hour. I almost fell off the ladder getting out of the pool when the first roll of thunder echoed off the darkening sky, but I was satisfied. I had been in the pool. It’s been raining ever since, but it’s still standing out there waiting for the weather to clear up.
In the end, I wonder if this might have been some sort of “Rain Dance.” Naw, just the way it rolls for me. I’m looking forward to a dry and hot August so I can get some use out of it. You’re not supposed to swim alone, you’re not supposed to drink alcohol, two rules I plan to violate as soon as the sun comes out.
And just so you know, in case you have some idea that owning a pool might be for you, I spent well over the cost of the pool “kit” getting the pool set up, and I’m sure I’m not done yet. I haven’t gotten the water bill for one.