Yeah, Baby, Yeah!

I’m finally getting the hang of this pool thing.  Not billiards (yet), but the swimming pool.  The pool company opened it right before we left for six days over Memorial Day weekend.  It was a mess, since the previous owners didn’t bother to close it properly, but just threw the cover over it a week or so before we closed on the property last year.  We got lucky that it was a mild winter, and no damage was done because they didn’t bother to winterize it.

The pool company guys shocked it, and told us to give them a call in a few days to come back to finish the job.  It looked much better when we returned, but still a little greenish-blue, and cloudy.  It took another half a week to schedule “Beef” and “Beefier” to return to finish the job.  I’m okay with the pool company, in terms of pricing and job quality, but their office is really lousy about returning calls to communicate with customers, unless I keep pestering them until I get a live person answering instead of the machine.

So, I decided it was in my best interest to do my damndest to learn about pool maintenance, which includes everything from chemical testing of the water, to chemicals needed to cure various water issues, to using the Zodiac automatic pool vacuum.  Having studied chemical engineering for two years before switching my major, and having a chemist for a husband, I figured that with a good water testing kit, adjusting the chemical balance as needed to obtain and maintain clear water would not be difficult.

Most of the chemicals required are available from the big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards this time of year for about half the price of most local pool supply companies.  Depending upon the type of filter system the pool has, some chemicals in tablet form are not recommended, so reading the label is key.  Beef and Beefier showed me how to backwash the pump when the pressure gets to 30+, and were good about answering my beginner questions regarding when, for how long, and how often, to run the circulation pump.

The previous owners left their Zodiac automatic pool vacuum, and all their other pool supplies, including unused chemicals.  Their “new” house a couple of miles away doesn’t yet have a pool, so until they have one built, which they want to do, they had no use for them.  I saw that thing in action last summer, when we scheduled a second showing of this house, before we decided to put in an offer on it, but had no clue how to hook it up, and operate it.

Fortunately, there are YouTube videos for everything, and this pool vacuum is no exception, right down to the make and model I have.  Initially, I got it hooked up properly, but the thing wasn’t wiggling its way around the pool the way it’s supposed to do.  A few troubleshooting videos helped me check out possible issues with it.  What none of them mentioned is that the adaptor that fits into the intake on the skimmer has a valve that must be flipped.  I wondered what the heck that was for, so on a lark, I flipped it to see what would happen.  Voila!  The hose started jiggling, and the vacuum started wiggling.  That baby really started moving its way around the pool!


I’ve had friends who had pools when I was a kid, but this is the first one I’ve owned.  The good news is that it’s a small one that doesn’t require nearly the quantity of chemicals that large ones do, and I’m a really quick study.  My husband is far more interested in our tractors and their attachments than in our pool, so it’s up to me to get a grip on this.  In the half a week since Beef and Beefier returned to complete the opening, I think I’m 80-85% up the learning curve.

If need be, I suppose I can ask my neighbor a few questions.  His pool is twice the size of ours, going roughly by width and length, but it’s maybe 3x the gallon capacity because his has a deep end deep enough for a diving board.  He’s been maintaining his own pool for 15 years.  I’m sure he’d be happy to answer a few questions, but I don’t want to be a pest or hog up more than five minutes worth of his time.  Gotta keep that supply of free range eggs coming, along with an occasional load of sheep shit for fertilizer, in exchange for summer/fall veggies we grow that they don’t.  I love farm living, and I love having a fantastic neighbor.

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