Boy, oh boy.  Man, oh man.  Girl, oh girl.  Woman, oh woman.  Whichever applies.  Have I got some thoughts about swimming pools for you today.

In ground or above ground, those things are work!  Of course you might not be doing the work yourself.  Perhaps you hired someone to do it for you.  In either case, it’s still hard work.

As an example of how a pool manufacturer (nothing against Intex, they actually sell good products) would have you believe one reality, the actual, factual reality is far different.  The picture of these five people in a pool can be taken apart in so many ways to demonstrate this.

OK, first question: Could they all be having that much fun?  Answer: No.  The kids, sure, but the adults?  No way.  First, they’re way too young for the little kids in the picture to be theirs.  Unless they started when they were about 14.  So if they’re not parents, then maybe an older brother and sister.  OK, then they could be having a bit of fun.  Wait, look at the size of the pool.  No, they’re just smiling for the camera.

But that’s not the point.  And it’s also not the point of this story.

Perhaps the best way to address the point of this story is to ignore the people and focus on the pool.  Specifically, the pool’s filter pump.  How does it work?  Well, there are two hoses.  One for in and one for out.  But how does the pump function?  It needs power.  Where does it get it from?  Batteries?  Perhaps the electrical cord is buried under the grass.  Or maybe it’s inside one of the hoses, gets routed into the pool, then down out of site around the bottom edge to the other side of the pool?  Wait, no, that would be dangerous for swimmers.

In reality the cord has either been digitally erased or was simply cut with a pair of wire cutters before the picture was taken.  The point to take from it is that there’s something missing.  The most obvious, because I just mentioned it, is the electrical power cord for the pool filter.  But what else is missing?  Let’s see, there’s the pool, water, filter, and people.  Maybe some toys.  Nope, not enough room.

What’s missing is all the hard work that it took to set up.  And even more important, all the hard work to keep it nice and clean.  Do you know how hard every person at any given water department for a city (except maybe that city near Detroit) works on creating and delivering clean potable water?  VERY HARD!

There’s all sorts of chemical additives to consider.  Algaecide, pH up, pH down, cleaners (Chlorine based, Baquacil, etc.).  Other cleaning equipment like skimmers, filters, etc.  Oh, and from experience, I can definitively say that little pump would have trouble keeping just that side of the little pool moderately clean.  What about temperature?  Sure, if you live where it’s a hundred degrees, it’ll be fine at any temperature.  But what about those days when its in the 70s?  Still a nice day for a swim, but have you tried a 70 some odd degree pool when the ambient temperature is in the 70s?  Brrr.  And you better ?hope there isn’t a wind chill factor either.

None of it is cheap either.  Electricity for a pool heater and a more realistic pump.  Cleaning and maintenance equipment, cost of the chemicals, etc. can really add up.

At some point in the future I think I’ll share the practical knowledge I’ve gathered on the subject and post it on my technical site in the hopes that it might save someone a bad experience with their pool.

Oh, and what about shade?  An “EZ Up” (AKA portable tent / canopies).  Lawn chairs, music, tables…  See?  It never seems to end.

So don’t believe the picture exactly as you see it.  It is true, but it only represents a brief moment in time.  It leaves out a bunch of other stuff.  It kind of reminds me of the Home Depot and Lowes commercials about painting.  They show the “money shots” of people laughing and smiling, then kids that love the new room.  But they also leave out the hours of prep time moving everything out of the room, repairing holes in the drywall, driving out to buy the paint, hours arguing, err, agonizing over the right color, and then of course cleaning everything up, moving it back in, on, and on, never ending work.


Categories: Thoughts