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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Off The Deep End

As anyone who has ever known me can tell you, I'm a rather simple girl. In fact, there are really only two things in my life that, on a grand scale, I've consistently wanted. Those things are a dog and a pool, and not necessarily that order. I also want a full on waterfall wall in my house and a personal salad bar that is stocked at all times, but that's not important now.

Last fall, after getting married and moving into our new home, we attempted the dog thing with disastrous results. It's weird how you can spend so much time wanting something, but still give no thought to what wanting said thing actually means. While I wanted the dog, when it came right down to it, we rushed into the actual decision, if that makes any sense. We took on a puppy that would require a lot more maintenance and care than either of us were prepared or ready for. We also took on a puppy that within a few short months time would clearly pass me in height and weight. So needless to say the dog, that dog, didn't work out. But most of you knew that already.

However what we did inherit when we bought this house was an above ground pool. I was so excited to get this pool as all my life, my parents had a huge yard that was oh so pool ready, however ready for a pool they never were. I think I could have talked my dad into it easily. My mom, on the other hand, was another story. So when I moved into this house I was super excited to finally have a pool of my own.

Only the problem was this. Last year we moved in in mid July. A few weeks after that we were getting married, and a week after that we would be on our honeymoon. Then, a few weeks after that the summer would be over and I'd be back at work. So last summer, although my first official summer with a pool, was not the summer to truly enjoy said pool. Instead it became an expensive headache of maintenance worries. My husband wanted no part of the pool, swimming or otherwise, so the burden, since I was the interested and seasonably unemployed party, rested on my shoulders.

Last summer I had to make a lot of phone calls to get someone to come out and help stabilize our pool and try to teach me some of the basics. Some people laughed at me when I called 1. because I couldn't answer their "simple" pool related questions and 2. that I wanted so much help to maintain a *shudder* above ground pool, of all things. Ultimately I did find one guy, and his son, who were willing to come out and assess the situation. He was a little rough around the edges, but a nice enough guy and hey, he was probably making more money than he should of off of us anyway.

When the season came to an end, the pool was stable, but our cover was not. Still, not being home the day we got the pool closed, my husband who wanted to be done with it just had the pool man put the old cover on the pool. Apparently the pool guy did warn that the cover was not in great condition, but my husband was tired of dealing with it for the season and just wanted it to be over for now. Of course that was a decision he'd pay for some eight or nine months later.

As fall turned to winter and winter to spring we slowly but surely started to see our crappy cover, the one we were advised not to use, cave in bit by bit. So when it came time for the big reveal, a stable pool that really should only need to be shocked needed a hell of a lot more than that. In fact, my husband and my father in law ended up having to drain the whole thing after finding a slew of organisms, both dead and alive, inside. It's probably better off I didn't see this first hand for myself. I did however, get to see the husband actually put on waders to do the job which in itself, was a sight to behold. Apparently the pool drained, but the last bit of "stuff" wouldn't come out so some thing a ma jig had to be rented to finish off the job.

Once the pool was drained, it had to be filled up like new and stabilized from the start. But stabilizing a pool, if you remember, was something I never fully mastered from the year before. Oh and did I mention that I had about a week to figure it all out as we were having our first bbq and told people to bring their bathing suits? So off to the pool store I went. Now going to the pool store is a funny experience. While I love handing over a sample of my pool water and being told what to do, the skeptic in my always wonders how much of it I really have to do, or if it's just another lame attempt to get me to buy more chemicals than I really need. It's just like when I take my car in for an oil change and they inevitably tell me I need something else, like fuel injection service, whatever that is. Maybe I do need it, maybe I don't. But the fact that I don't know if I can trust the source is what upsets me the most.

One thing I will say though is the girl I got at the pool store to help me totally gave me instructions like pool maintenance for dummies. Not only did she tell me which chemicals to use, she saw how panicked and overwhelmed I looked, so she went that extra step to put specific sticky notes on each container telling me what I had to do and in what order I had to do it. Thank you pool girl, wherever you are. Yet even with the directions it was a time consuming and somewhat awkward process, mainly because of the way our pool is situated. It's hard to explain, but I'll try. Our backyard is a little bit hilly, so it's almost as if our pool was built into a hill. Nice shrubbery surrounds the perimeter of our pool, too. Together this gives the appearance of our pool being an in ground pool although it's not. It also makes say, broadcasting chemicals over the surface of the pool harder to do because it's not easy to actually walk around our pool. It also makes plugging the vacuum in a two person job since you can't be in two places at once and like I said..there's the whole "you can't easily walk around the pool" thing.

So for the most part, I maintain the pool solo as much as I can. We bought these test strips and I stared learning pool terminology enough to at least halfway hold my own if a pool related conversation should ever arise. And since I am home a lot this summer, I've been using the pool a lot, too. I have no idea if I'm maintaining it the way I *should* but considering I haven't grown any extra arms or legs and my hair hasn't turned green, it can't be all that bad. And while we run the filter faithfully and I need my husband's help to vacuum, overall skimming it is easy since I go in every few days and clean out the miscellaneous bugs and leaves in their majority before they settle at the bottom. Yes, overall things have been a lot better since last year.

That was, of course, until yesterday.

Yesterday started off like any other, sun filled day and so I decided it would be a good time to vacuum the pool since I was going to be out there anyway. My husband plugged the vacuum in and all was well. After about a minute he told me he wanted to turn off the filter pump for a second to add more water. I couldn't see what he was doing. All I know is that when he went to turn it back on, it wouldn't turn on. At first we thought it needed a minute or two...or ten. But a few minutes turned into a few hours and still nothing. All we did get was some humming which might have been a good or bad thing, who knows. He swears he saw smoke at one attempt so I told him to cool it for a while. He was certain that the next day it would work fine as it has happened before. I'm certain that was just a feeble attempt to try to stop me from worrying about the inevitable.

This morning I woke up and tried the switch again. Not only is it still not working, now the humming has stopped. I don't know if I should have or not, but I liked the humming. The humming gave me hope. Now all I hear are the sounds of silence and as a result, I feel frustrated. I have no idea how to troubleshoot a problem like this safely, even after researching possible causes. It could be a clog or a tripped circuit, but while both of those are I suppose easy enough to fix, neither are easy to fix by ME. In fact, I'll be honest and say that playing with electricity+water scares me anyhow.

So now I feel like my false sense of security has been snatched out from under me. My husband says he'll look at it again today, but that doesn't give me hope as we both know he does not know what he's looking for. I suppose there are some ways he can troubleshoot it if he does try. But more likely he'll want to call someone to come out. And once again I feel that burden falls on me....and our wallets, too. It might seem like a shallow thing to want your pool to just be usable, but that's really all I wanted. Right now though I feel like I'm more inclined to sink than swim.



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