Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ever worked on a swimming pool?

Brother Bob has a pool business. Pools are like owning a boat, only different. A boat is a hole in the water lined with wood, or fiber glass that you throw money into. A pool is a hole in the ground filled with concrete and water you throw your money into. Bob also sells high end Spa's and Big Green Egg Grills. Irish tinkers have nothing on my brother...he'll try to sell anything...and usually does.

I am working for him a couple days a week, drilling holes through concrete, filling cavities UNDER the pool with sand, whatever. Pools are a nightmare to work on, and a bigger nightmare to own. I knew the job was dangerous when I took it...the usual story of my life, but he is blood.

I life guarded at the local Country Club pool for a number of years. A maintenance nightmare. Big huge sand filled steel filter tanks with 6" pipes and valves as big as bicycle wheels to backwash and maintain. My least favorite job was hooking up the tanks of Chlorine gas " to protect people from germs"....I don't know what was suppose to protect them from the chlorine gas...certainly not the lifegaurd. I hated hooking up those pressurized cylinders! I was too young to die! That ain't allowed anymore, thank God. Still it takes an engineer with a degree in water technology to manage a pool. How do they maintain a water park? Thank God for polio shots.

At the Country Club pool, it took 50 younguns about 20 minutes to release the chlorine out of the water. 12 cannon balls in a row off the diving board usually did it. They knew how to turn the tables on the life guard who was "mean to them". They loved to watched me sweat trying to "get the pool back back". They also gained some sadistic pleasure from hearing  their irate mothers complain about the pea soup to milky white color of the pool. It wasn't green enough to entice them to take their bratty kids home! Though the management would trudge up the hill and ask if I would try to make the pool blue...we both knew it was a work in transition. Blue today, Green tomorrow!

The pool slowly to on a life of it's own, green to milky white clear to green to blue green...waiting for the fall, and school to open. It was biding it's time for the return of the leaves and the frogs of fall.

Every summer it usually happened that we had to drain and clean. That was the last resort. Bleach clean it  and fill it back up and hope for the best. Not an option in these days of state controlled water. it worked until the water warmed up again, and the algae overcame the chlorine that the kids knocked out for meanness every day. I got a great tan and spent the day with  the pretty girls, but I had a nightmare of a boss...that damn pool,and a bunch of mean ass little kids.

In fact, when I was life guarding in PonteVedra in the early 60's, that's exactly what we did every Sunday night. The pool was closed on Monday, so we pumped the sea water back to the sea on Sunday night, Chlorine and all, and used bleach to clean it, trying to kill the black algae spots they grew and grew and GREW. We refilled the pool on  Monday night to be ready for buisness on Tuesday morning. I don't guess that happens anywhere anymore.

So when people call their local magacian pool guy and say their pool is screwed up and they are having are  having a play date, or a big "let's have a drink and compliment me on my gorgious pool I work so hard to maintain", they DO NOT want not frog green pond. They want it fixed.  DO SOMETHING ASAP!  MAKE IT BLUE, NOW, You are RUINING my party, click, or in some cases BAM! 'Course with cell phone you don't  get a click or BAM, just silence, like a black hole.  Better get in the truck, get over there  and get ready for a cussin'.

It takes a sainted angel to deal with some pools and their masters. My little brother is not  blessed with a great deal of patience. His M.O. in  life is to create a crisis situation so he can "manage" it, and prove you are the one who screwed up.  It's sorta like the IRS. They do their best to create an adversarial relationship with the ones who support them. His son is just the opposite...he smiles and tries to weather the storm, and keeps customers fairly happy all summer. It's a perfect storm.

The pool service boys have a long row to hoe from March to November. I guess I've signed on to hoe the same row a couple days a week. Looks like I'll be learning to replace a solar panel... next  in what I'm sure will be a long line of " I don't know what I'm doing, can you tell?"  I DO know that water and electricity don't mix, and underwater lights make me nervous.

Give me a river, a lake or an ocean anytime, but I have to admit Bob and Marth's salt water, pristine blue pool feels pretty good from about mid May until mid July. Most of the summer it is about body temperature. I guess pool water air conditioning is the next horizon for pools. The may already have it!

So, goodbye Hardware Store, hello Pool and Spa. We'll just see how this goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment