Pool Party


Summer’s here at last in Southern Pennsylvania, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to open the pool. We have a 20 x 40 outdoor pool here on Chez Murphy, and every year in late August we cover it for the winter with an aging pool cover made out of equal parts fragile, fraying canvas and duct tape. The cover doesn’t do much to keep the leaves, frogs, mice and bugs out of the pool or anything, but at least we can’t hear them screaming while they drown.

Cheryl Burke lounging at a pool not unlike ours (in that they both can be found on the same planet).

Come early summer, we gingerly remove the cover, revealing a soupy mixture of goo not unlike week-old guacamole shot through with the decayed bodies of the aforementioned leaves, frogs, mice and dead bugs – sorta an algae terrine. Noms.

After uncovering the noisome stew, I totter off to the pool store to purchase several hundred bucks’ worth of chlorine, algaecide, PH rasiers and lowerers, hardness enhancers, diatomaceous earth, clarifiers, shock, and crushed garlic for the vampires lurking at the bottom of the pool. (Seriously. The pool is 12 feet at its deepest point: there could be a minibus down there and we wouldn’t be able to see it through the green murk.)

Upon returning I begin the ancient “dance of the chemicals,” part science, part religious ritual to a dead water god who didn’t much like me when it was alive. I gingerly clean out the nasty traps and reassemble the various pumps, add the magic elixir (around forty pounds of chlorine and other assorted chemicals that according to the Geneva Convention are illegal in warfare but which are totally suitable for unsupervised backyard use by clowns like me) and fire up the pump. It runs gamely for about half an hour and then grinds to a halt, choking on the sludge accumulated in the filter. I clean out the filter, add some more chemicals and start it up once more. Rinse and repeat.

If successful, buckets of dead algae gradually fall to the bottom of the pool or rise to the top in a thick scum. I clean the bodies out of the filters and vacuum the floor and eventually the pool is clean. Of course by then it’s late August, and it’s time to close the pool up again for the winter. It’s all part of the great cycle of nature out here in the wild.

Well that’s not totally honest. I usually get the thing clean after about a week, and we frolic about happily for the summer, carelessly exposing our pasty white bodies to a horrified world.

Would I recommend owning a pool to anybody else? Hell no – it’s far too expensive and far too much work – unless you can afford a Cabana-boy named “Ramon” to open and maintain it. Also he should bring you drinks with umbrellas in them and know how to give foot massages.

But I digress.

Anyway, that’s it for today: I’ve got to work on the pool. If I can’t rid it of all life by Sunday I’m calling in BP.

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7 Responses to “Pool Party”

  1. JLB Says:

    when is opening day?

  2. Scott G Says:

    http://www.poolservicecompany.com FTW!

    Without them, our pool would be totally illegal in at least 41 states.

  3. Pool Boy Says:

    You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. The best pool boys are named Raul. How did you even get this job?

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