Queen of the Pool

It’s summer again, which means I’ve returned to my Sisyphean quest of getting the perfect chemical balance in my pool. Just as background, if you hire a pool guy to take care of the pool, he typically siphons the dirt off the bottom and sides and throws in some chlorine with each visit. I fired our pool guy many years ago when I discovered I could do all that and occassionally clean (or replace) the pool filter as well, so the pool pump doesn’t blow up from trying to push water through petrified paper.

Last year, we spent a lot of time in the pool, and I decided to pay attention to things my pool testing kit often said was out of whack, such as pH and alkalinity. I had embarked on my quest. Every week (sometimes more often) I would bring bottles of my pool (and spa) water in for testing by the oracles of Leslie’s. And every week, there would be a new task for me to complete. First, I had too much copper residue in my pool, so I dumped in several bottles of a liquid to repair that. My pH was too low, so I had to gradually dump in tubs of soda ash. Then my alkalinity was too low, so I had to mix bicarbonate of soda in a big tub, and dump that (as well as my bicarbonate of soda covered self) in. And, of course, since it was a hot summer and chlorine evaporates from heated water, I put in lots and lots of chlorine as well.

For one brief, shining moment at the end of the summer, I had perfect pool balance. Unfortunately, by then, it was also getting too cool to use the pool except for a few mid-afternoon hours. And shortly thereafter, the pool developed an unsightly purple ring along its water line. Dutifully, I took my bottles of water in to Leslie’s and they gave me the message all pool owners dread: the water had too many contaminants in it, and the pool needed to be drained and refilled. In short, I had failed in my entire experiment and needed to start over.

Starting over isn’t the same as winning, though. I’ve lovingly babied the pool through the winter with the purest kind of contaminant-free chlorine. We fixed some funky electrical stuff. I’ve fished the leaves off the surface, and bought a whole new range of pool toys for the new season. And I took some pool water over to Leslie’s last week. They told me the alkalinity is now too high, and gave me the task of adding acid. And it’s still in danger of developing a new purple ring unless I’m very, very careful. Wish me luck, or at least a moment of pool perfection this summer.

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