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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Battle of the Green Lagoon!

I grew up in the Midwest with a pool. It was great spending the 3 months we had of warm, humid summers floating around carelessly in it's sparkling waters. I have great memories of swimming parties, learning how to do backflips, and swimming until my fingers and toes were wrinkled like a prune. So when my husband and I decided to leave The City for the burbs, one of the things we wanted as we searched for a home, was a pool. We figured we were finally leaving the fog and now would experience warm California living and what better way to do so than with a backyard pool? We traded our 1909 Edwardian for a circa 60's home (which I lovingly call my Brady house) and yes, it came with a much desired backyard pool. The one thing we didn't realize was how much maintenance and money is involved in having this liquid amenity. Take it from me, keeping a pool crystal clear is no easy feat--it is amazing how quickly it can turn on you.

I naively thought caring for our pool would be easy--after all I know how to backwash, vacuum, and check the chlorine levels. When my neighbor suggested the name of their pool service, I scoffed at the idea. I was surprised that people would actually pay others to care for their pool! I thought having a gardener seemed extravagant (which I now embrace), but hiring someone to dump chlorine in your pool and clean out the leaves for you once a week seemed over the top. That is until now--as we embark on our 5th summer in Sunny Suburbia and my pool looks like a swamp.

It never fails, our lovely pool goes from tranquil, aqua blue to emerald, murky green several times each season. You'd think we would have learned our lesson by now and not leave the solar cover on for weeks at a time, but the idea of warming it up to a near bath like temperature seems to take over our rational thinking. Our kids don't care, as long as it is warm they'd swim in it regardless of the color.

I'm ready to throw in the towel and hire a pool service, but my husband says "no way!" I think he likes to battle the algae--to conquer this aquatic creature. He doesn't seem to mind spending an afternoon scrubbing the filter, brushing down the sides of the pool and tossing gallons of chlorine into the water (usually ruining a pair of shorts or t-shirt). He likes waking up each morning to see what shade the pool has turned and assess whether or not it is headed in the right direction.

I, on the other hand, am ready to leave it to the "experts." I feel that every time the pool turns on us, it takes a week to get it back to swimmable conditions. This adds up. On average we end up with 3-4 algae blooms, eating up nearly a month of prime swimming (and buckets of chlorine)! My lazy days of summer are few and far between and wasting time on pool maintenance is the last thing I want to do.

I guess we will see how this summer goes. If the guys at Leslie's start to recognize me, I'm going to try and convince my husband it is time to retire his pool brush. If, on the other hand, we are able to manage the waters, I won't try and finagle a "pool boy" into our budget. I'll just stick with the one I've got.

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