When we moved into our current home about five years ago, we got 4 ½ acres, three bedrooms and three bathrooms, a partially finished basement, and a pool. (For more inside information about our house-hunting experience and general illustrations of how easily I can embarrass myself, read this.)
Since neither of us grew up having a pool (unless you count the plastic kind that is stacked outside of the Walmart garden center), we were skeptical if we could handle it. It didn’t help that when we saw it for the first time, it was a brilliant lime color with lovely, foam blobs floating freely in the deep end. This was way out of my expertise.
Now that we’re starting our fifth summer as “pool people,” it’s become part of our family identity—for good and for not-so-good:
It’s easy for an impromptu get-together but some mechanism breaks every year, costing at least $600 for a new whosie-whatsit that fits the whatsy-doodle and keeps the pool running perfectly (for about a month and a half).
We inherit lots of left-behind swim goggles and diving toys but—despite our efforts to encourage toweling off before going inside to use the bathroom—the floors are always covered in wet footprints.
Listening to the soothing sound of the pool fountain is a pleasant way to end the day but pulling dead frogs, moles, and mice from the skimmer basket is a depressing way to start a birthday party.
Even when it’s over ninety degrees, our kids spend hours outside swimming with their friends and cousins but I have to buy sunscreen by the gross ton.
Our kids’ friends enjoy hanging out at our house but sometimes those friends need instruction on how to use a tampon for the first time ever. (Side note: It didn’t bother me one bit to explain this technique. I love to teach things that I truly know how to do, probably due to the fact that I’m not an expert in many areas. It was just difficult to have to describe to a sweet tween friend the certain outcome when a maxi-pad is submerged in a swimming pool.)
Swim noodles are cheap and fun pool toys. You can float on them, hit your sister with them, and even use them to blow a large amount of water at your friend like you’re a whale with an overactive blowhole. The downside, other than the fact that pool water quickly disintegrates them if they are left outside too long and you’ll find pieces of neon pink, green, and orange in the skimmer basket for weeks afterwards, is that they are too often used by boys to imitate the male anatomy. You can’t make it that easy for them, folks.
Like everything else that has to do with owning and maintaining your home, we have learned a lot of things about the care of a pool, often from doing it the wrong way first. If I had a nickel for every time Brent or I ended a conversation with the phrase “Well, now we know…” I’d have enough nickels to buy a new whosie-whatsit or maybe even an entire whatsy-doodle. Okay, come to think of it, maybe this pool stuff is still way out of my expertise.