Before you jump in the deep end…

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Andy Sauer

We have a pool, which is kind of like saying I have a 33,000-gallon creature in my yard and feeds on chlorine, a lot of chlorine.

For those of you that have a pool – or rather who are the person appointed to take care of it, you may be familiar with the anxiety of unbalanced water chemistry, the preoccupation with the enigmatic nature of phosphates and dread and disgust of fishing out dead animals whose poor choice of a convenient water source led to such tragic consequences. Let this be your trigger warning.

For those of you thinking about getting a pool, consider:

Step 1: Know your limitations. I didn’t ask for a pool, it came with the house. Still, I was naïve and excited about the possibilities, the first of which was turning a gunite pond teeming with algae into a crystal clear swimming pool. Days of removing waterlogged leaves and dumping hundreds of dollars of shock led me to the conclusion that I was in over my head. I called in the professionals. I’m a reasonable guy, but their speed and efficiency has provided me enough proof of the existence of magic.

Step 2: Appoint a pool person. Understand, that a pool may as well be a pet, a large un-trainable pet. It needs to be fed. It needs to be cleaned. It needs attention. You need to keep an eye on it. And, as with all families who love their pets and view them as a source of limitless fun, someone needs to do the dirty work. In my house, that’s me. I advise you to immediately call “not it.”

Step 3: CONSTANT VIGILANCE! You need to check the chemistry, daily. You need to check the pump pressure, daily. You need to clear the skimmer, daily. You need to pull the pool toys out, daily. If there was an app that could connect to your pool, you would have to check it daily.

Step 4: Open early, close early. Open early to get a jump on the algae. So, 60-degree water makes for an uncomfortable dip. It’s crystal clear! Still, don’t fall into the temptation to keep that pool open after Labor Day. Maybe, just maybe, you can stretch out the season a little bit longer, but you’ll find yourself doing a ton of work with no one dipping a toe into the water.

Owning a pool is a lot like having a big party — people are going to enjoy themselves and have a lot of fun, but someone is going to have to clean things up. That’ll be you.

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