The saga of ” The Pool” began innocently enough, while attending Mass with my wife and children.
It ended two years short years later, as I sent a large pile of vinyl, metal & plastic to the landfill. A massive pile, that will remain for thousands of years.
For a brief period in between, I achieved suburban backyard nirvana.
This is the story of “The Pool”.
“Some brief announcements.
This Saturday, is the first Saturday of the month. Please join us by attending the 8:00 a.m. Mass, followed by a Holy Hour of praying the Rosary, meditation, prayers and songs in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.”
“It will begin right after the first Saturday Devotion. Please come and show your love and honor to our Holy Mother. Everyone is welcome.”
“And finally, if there is a parish family that is interested in an above ground pool, complete with filtration and accessories, please see Monsignor Perez after mass.”
“Missa est. Deo Gratias.”
I could feel the eyes of my wife and children burning laser hot on my skin.
“No Pool.” ( Interior voice… No fucking way!)
“Pu h-leese? It’s free dad!”
“No.” ( Interior voice…Absolutely, no fucking way!)
As with most things, I lost the battle after massive guilt tripping by my wife and kids…”How could you turn down a “Free” pool? “Puhlessseeeeeeee dad?”
So off to Anaheim we went the following day, to inspect and begin the process of disassembly of what would be know only as “the (*fucking) Pool”. (* Only expressed internally…)
It took me 2 full days to drain and dismantle this behemoth … a 15 x 20 above ground pool, complete with a giant sand filter and monster pump, a ladder and all the accessories…net. pole, test kit…etc. 8,000 gallons of pure suburban nirvana.
The components of the pool were transported back to my home, in multiple trips to Anaheim, in the back of a mini van, and deposited on the side of my house to await reconstruction.
And wait, it did.
I was in no hurry to put this thing in…
The pressure began to mount sometime in late spring, with the realization that the weather would be warming and the pool would be nice to swim in during the summer.
“Dad…when are you going to build the pool?”, became a daily mantra from my kids and my wife.
Sometime in May, I did the research required to figure out how to erect this thing, and found out that it was a major mechanical engineering challenge.
Somehow, I failed to realize that I was dealing with 8,000 gallons… fully 64,000 lbs of water. Water that would potentially come pouring into my house with no warning, if I somehow fucked up the reconstruction.
Of course, I ignored the requirements to pull a permit from the City to erect such a structure. As far as I was concerned, it was merely a tax on my backyard nirvana.
The realization soon set in that I would be unable to install the side supports on one side ( The ones that held back those thousands of gallons of water…) without blowing a 10′ x 10′ hole in my patio. So I did.
I spent another day smoothing and screeding the soil, removing every last rock and dealing with the worlds largest nest of Jerusalem crickets, other wise known as “Potato bugs”. At one point I had no less than 40 of these disgusting creatures squirming in a 5 gallon bucket.
I then set about reassembling the pool from memory and a handy guide I downloaded from the manufacturer. After a full day of reconstruction and set up, The pool was now ready to be filled with water. I put a garden hose in it, turned it up full blast and went to bed.
I was overjoyed to find the pool full the next morning. I was NOT overjoyed… to see that it was leaking. Apparently in many places.
So I drained it. That took another day. I looked at the entire surface of the liner… every square inch… and patched what must have been the culprit holes. I then tossed the hose back in and began filling it up again. In the middle of a drought.
Once full again, it was apparent that I had missed a few holes. Donning swim fins, a scuba mask and snorkel, I dove down with a bottle of blue food coloring and shot it towards the suspect areas. The food coloring soon found its way to the remaining holes, which I patched with some “Underwater ” patches.
I was beginning to feel like Mike Nelson from Sea Hunt.
Once the pool was patched, of course, my children demanded to swim in it immediately. I had to tell them no, because the filtration system was still not hooked up and the water chemistry was not right. They walked back in the house dejected and scowling, carrying their towels and impromptu pool toys.
I set about setting up the sand filter. I filled it with sand , hooked up the pump and let it rip. Within minutes, my clean pool was filled with a fine layer of sand that was ejected from the jet right back into the pool. Fail.
I then learned how to reverse the filter and suck up all the sand.
Until I noticed a leak in the sand filter.
I shut down the sand filter and disassembled it. I noticed a small crack in one of the fittings and decided to Mcgyver the repair with two part epoxy.
” Can we go in the pool now?” “Can we”?
“No”. Its not ready”. More dejected looks and much grumbling.
After waiting a couple hours fro he epoxy to set, I fired it all up again and….
Houston, we have a pool! Albeit, an above ground pool… a symbol of wanna be neer’ do wells everywhere!… but… a pool it was.
I checked the chemistry of the pool, loaded it up with the proscribed amount of chlorine, and told the kids to wait a few hours, lest they die of poison gas attack.
At approx 5 in the afternoon on an early June weekend… our backyard Nirvana was finally achieved. All three kids jumped in, along with assorted boogie boards, surfboards, noodles, balls, goggles and swim fins, cats and dogs.
The fun continued long into the evening.
I then began my career as a chemistry major, monitoring the PH, alkalinity, chlorine levels etc. and running off to Home Depot constantly to buy PH Up, PH down, test kits , chlorine, muriatic acid …all I was missing was the lab coat.
In early July, there was a random late afternoon thundershower. I thought nothing of it until I woke the next day to find the pool a bright shade of green. I then spent the next two weeks trying unsuccessfully to restore my pool to its former pristine glory. After much effort, the pool was finally back in stasis for approximately 2 weeks before I could not keep it properly chlorinated and had to then kick everybody out again for a few days.
Near the end of Summer, the pinnacle of suburban backyard nirvana was achieved as I grilled hamburgers in the backyard while my kids played in the pool.
Summer was quickly followed by fall,and the pool was deemed to cold to swim in.
I decided to drain it and ride out the winter.
With the vinyl liner exposed to the elements, it became brittle. It began to tear in key points, and I realized that I was now on the hook for a new 400 dollar liner if the pool was to be put back into service for the next summer.
The pool then became a collection point for rainwater and a breeding ground for mosquitoes, despite my efforts to drain it.
Orange County Vector Control flew a drone over my home and sent me stern warning to get my shit together… “Or else”… or something like that.
With the decision to renovate our home made, It was decided that he pool would have to go. It took up most of the backyard and was actually a pain in the ass. Once we began prepping for the remodel, a 20 foot blue Rainbow roll-off became the final resting place for the pool. It took Sawzalls, wrenches, hammers, utility knives and shovels half the time to dismantle the pool than it did for me to carefully assemble it the summer before.
I dragged it piece by piece into the dumpster and bid a good riddance, as the pool disappeared down the street, on the back of a disposal Roll Off Hauler…
It now resides in a landfill, somewhere.
I know not where. But thousands of years from now, archeologists will stumble across it and will never know the fun we had as we achieved suburban nirvana for that one summer.
A representaive from OC Vector control stopped by yesterday, no doubt to cite me for my mosquito factory. One of my contractors showed him to the backyard, where he saw the large U shaped break in my patio and remarked… ” It’s Gone”.
Yep. It’s gone. Sometimes free… isn’t quite so free. Beware of Priests with Pools.