Pond, I mean Pool

My entire routine has really changed these days. Maybe that’s a 2020 truism for everyone though? Back in my previous lifetime, I often trained or coached CrossFit at the 9am class. Which means me and my children were out the door by 8:30am at the latest. I’m not sure what exactly has gone wrong, but I’m now waking up earlier than ever before (thanks to my youngest ball of sunshine), and yet no one is ready to do anything or go anywhere till around 11am. It’s out of control and I’m avidly working on it but I think I need professional help at this point. Several things about me are still the same though. I do still train hard (just not at 9am anymore) I still drink coffee in the morning and I still wear short shorts. And with this Tennessee summer weather (which I’m LOVING), short shorts every day and no complaints here! So around 10am, when Saylor goes down to nap and I have kicked the other two out of the house (with threats to their very existence if they step foot into the house during naptime), I get my coffee mug and my short shorts on and go to check on my pond, I mean pool. We began working on opening the pool in late May. We weren’t sure if it was actually holding water well since it was raining so much. We knew very little about the plumbing, pump situation, or even how deep the pool was. After beginning the cleaning process we learned that while the liner is very old and quite stained, there was just a small hole near the top that needed patching. The pump ran decently well and only needed a few replacement parts. The plumbing of this pool is a nightmare however; there is no main drain, and only one air jet and return/skimmer, making for really bad circulation.

While it’s now clean and swimmable, it’s still quite the daily ordeal. And if you have heard about my struggles with the frogs, let’s just say it has now broken into a full war. I suppose one could say that I have initiated it since they were here before me…but I’m making it known to them that I’m not going anywhere. And I really hate them. It’s really starting to mess with me. Things will be very good and I will get hopeful that they have vacated our property, and then we will get a few days of solid thunderstorm action and those f#$%ers come hopping right back into my life. What’s so frustrating is just over the fence our neighbors have a pool. And when the rain comes, I don’t hear any frog chorus coming from their pristine property. I need to go over there and have a chat with them; maybe their pool is saltwater, or maybe they sprinkle frog attractant over their fence into our yard, or maybe they have just been lucky that the frogs have had our pond over the past who knows how many years as their claimed habitat.

my pool help

So every morning I go out there and skim, brush, vacuum, dream about a complete pool reno (I’m really digging Morrocan pool style these days) add chlorine tablets, check the pH, Isla usually helps check the skimmer basket for any dead froggies and points out bugs I need to fish out of the pool, and I sprinkle my coffee grounds around the fence edge (apparently they hate coffee). Every evening I pour a ring of salt water several feet from the entire pool and spray the whole coping edge with a vinegar solution. Yes, it’s over the top.

Jordan, our pool guy, (our lagoon might not look like it but yes I have had professional help getting it swimmable out there) likely gets texted more than anyone else I know. How does this pH strip look? Add MORE chlorine?? Can you come over at your earliest convenience and test it with your kit? How likely is it that my daughter will get salmonella if she just licked the coping? He’s been very patient and supportive.

But then again I’m no stranger to intense pool maintenance. If there was a hierarchy of pool types, vinyl liner pools are probably a 3 on my personal 10 level rating system, preceded only by plastic kiddy versions and my pool growing up. My pool as a kid was a giant tractor tarp. Yes you heard that correctly, a tarp used to cover a tractor from nature’s elements. It was incredibly big and very thick, quite dirty, and so old I think we might call it vintage. Let’s just say they don’t make tarps like that one anymore.

the original tarp and my little sister Corrie (I’m not pictured because I wasn’t nearly that cute)

On hot summer days, we would use this tarp to fashion a good ol’ pool. The pool construction was intense, and the pool maintenance was even more laborious. First, the tractor tarp would need to be cleaned – solid hour at least- to remove bird/duck poop, mud, tractor grease, etc. Then we would need to gather big lawn furniture, wood pieces, rolls of chicken wire, and whatever else we could get our hands on, for pool siding. The next couple of hours were spent trying to keep the tarp sides fixed to the structural siding, refilling the pool, patching the leaks from the holes in the tarp, and removing the grass and dirt that inevitably worked it’s way into the water from us doing all the construction and maintenance. The wind in our valley where I grew up, would pick up around 3pm and the afternoons were usually cooler. Meaning just about the time the pool was good to go, it was too cold to be out there in swimsuits anyways and the wind was blowing farm debris in faster than we could bail it out, and so our efforts would be abandoned. Looking back, not a bad set up for my parents though; their overhead costs and personal efforts on our childhood water play was zilch. I don’t even want to add up what I’ve spent on our pond so far nor how many hours I have tinkered around out there. But honestly I would probably do it all over again because the girls have absolutely loved our time out there during this strange summer of 2020 when we don’t go anywhere (well, not Saylor – she’s pretty much hydrophobic at this point) . And let’s not forget that it has all given me some much needed sense of satisfaction and accomplishment! Surely worth celebrating both our hard work and…the power of strong chemicals.

bye bye to the bushy trees or shave and keep?

I would LOVE your feedback on the following in comments:

  1. Keep the bushy trees around pool fence or ditch them? They are likely attracting frogs, bugs and other critters to the area, they are messy with stuff falling into the pool, and they are ugly imo. But I’m hesitant to just go full lumberjack on them. We could also shave them way down and shape, which Ronny is seriously not too excited about.
  2. Pool Safety: We have small kids and I never planned on having a pool with little ones and obviously there’s a lot of anxiety that comes with that. It is fenced and we are vigilant about locking. The girls are in swim lessons. I’ve told them that if they ever go into the pool area without an adult, I’m having Mr. Jordan come and take the entire pool away (which they are starting to have some valid logistical questions about). We don’t want to install a hard cover now because we plan on changing the pool at some point, but any advice on pool sensor alarms? Worth the cost and reliable?
  3. Fiberglass pools yay or nay? Our plan is to squeeze another summer or two out of this very old liner if possible. When looking at future redos, I’m considering going the fiberglass direction. If you’re a pool owner, what are your thoughts there? If you’ve installed one, I would love to hear any feedback you have and if you went a different direction with your choice, why?

2 thoughts on “Pond, I mean Pool

  1. How about putting alarm sensors on your doors so you know when the girls leave the house or a Ring camera at the pool area will ring and you can see who’s down at the pool? We had the same scenario because we put our pool far from the house. It was scary until they all did survival swim school. As for the bushes – do they shelter the wind at all or provide shade? You might want to shape them for now because new trees or shrubs are costly and take a long time to grow

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no advice or helpful hints about pools. This post made me laugh though! It also reminded me of the children’s book The King, The Mice and The Cheese. What eats frogs? Import them! Geese? Ducks? Have fun!


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