Monday, October 14, 2013

Some thoughts on having a swimming pool

Many years ago when the boys were little putting in a pool seemed like a good idea for all the reasons you can imagine, and so we put one in the back yard. We chose a Gibraltar Pool which is an above-ground model with a 16' x 24' swim area, a large deck on the end for sun-bathing and there's a 4' high railing around the whole thing. It's a nice looking unit and it's low-maintenance so I have to say over the years I have been very happy with it. Now that the boys have grown up I pretty much have the pool to myself so it has gone from being a recreation place for the neighborhood kids to a place where I can sun-bathe in the nude and skinny-dip to cool off, which is pretty much the extent of my summer recreation lately.

This year I was incredibly late getting the pool opened up and ready for use. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that by the time I went out to pull the winter cover off I discovered a whole eco-system of critters living in the water on top of the cover. Since the surface of the pool is four feet above ground level I wondered how a bunch of frogs and tadpoles came to be up there, but that mystery was cleared up when my younger son, who was home for the summer, remembered that he had found a frog while he was mowing the lawn and he had put it up on the pool to keep him safe while he mowed. How that one frog turned into a whole friggin' community is still not known but the fact remained that I had to do something about the whole population before I could open the pool.

Well, long story short, a woman who comes into the hardware store occasionally remarked that she was building a frog pond in her back yard and I, knowing a golden opportunity when I see one, asked if she would be interested in the tadpoles inhabiting my pool - she was, and the deal was made. I would transfer the critters into a pail and she would come pick them up to take to her frog-pond. This is what we call a win/win situation, and after not too much longer I assigned the task of gathering the little swimmers up and getting them into a pail to my son and he did a pretty thorough job of scooping them out and transferring them to their container to travel to their new home.

It was mid-summer by the time all this transpired and by the time I got the cover off the pool and got the water cleared up through repeated applications of shock treatment it was later yet. I did get to sit on the deck several times but I think I actually went in the water only once, so I guess I have to ask myself if it was really worth the effort because now it's time to close the pool again and put the cover back on for the winter. But yeah, it was worth it and I'll just have to get an early start in the Spring to extend the season next year - I just hope I don't have to cope with any more vernal pool fauna. I wouldn't want the Department of Environmental Protection to designate the pool as a "natural habitat" subject to regulation - then I'd never be able to use the pool again!

It's a sunny day and still pretty warm - maybe I'll just go sit on the pool deck and think about it for a while longer. I can always close it tomorrow.

(Here's the note Martha, the tadpoles' new mom, left in the pail when she brought it back:)

And here's a song that seems strangely appropriate to the situation:

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