Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster …
After Labor Day, for all intents and purpose, summer is over in this part of the world.
Granted, we can still have some hot weather but ever since the first day of summer in June, we’ve been losing a minute or two of sunlight daily.
Eventually, that means we get cooler and, if you have a backyard swimming pool, that means that water which refreshed you in July and August can get downright chilly.
My wife and I just closed up our pool for the season.
Pool closings are a lot easier than pool openings in my opinion.
You drain off a little pool water, load the remaining water with chlorine and algaecide and put on the winter cover.
You also have to drain the water lines as best you can and load ’em up with anti-freeze but then you’re pretty much set until next spring.
Now before we purchased our first pool, which was an above-ground model, I was really concerned that it would be a lot of extra work.
I’ve come to find that if you stay on top of cleaning your skimmer basket and maintaining the proper water level and test the water and keep it “balanced”, it’s not really all that much work.
A word about “skimmer baskets”.
I’ve found no more effective mole trap than a swimming pool.
The little critters with poor eyesight wander from their burrows and fall into our pool on a somewhat regular basis and usually wind up in the skimmer.
That’s why regular pool skimmer checks are important./
You don’t want to have a bloated mole spinning for days in the skimmer in the hot, summer heat.
We’ve also had all sorts of insects, the occasional bunny, field mice and even a toad or two try their luck at swimming.
But most times, the skimmer collects leaves, grass clippings and numerous small insects which I tap out on the ground.
Years ago, we used to have a small bird that would visit the skimmer “dumpsite” and select the tastiest of the bugs for dinner.
I mentioned that staying on top of pool cleaning and prep is important and that’s why I open the cover a couple of times each winter to refresh the chlorine and algaecide.
Still, when the pool gets reopened the next spring, we find varying shades of green plus water-soaked earthworms.
Lots of them.
And they’re disgusting.
Years ago, when we had a Boxer, I would dip scoops full of soggy worms and drop them in the yard until I saw our dog rolling in them.
So, even without dogs today, we quickly scoop up the worms and they get deposited in the backyard composter.
But once the big chunks of winter debris are skimmed out, it’s amazing how quickly the pool cleans up and gets clear and sparkly.
It’s one of the joys of spring for us.
When our grandkids were younger, there was a lot of swimming that went on during the summer.
But as they’ve grown up and moved away, the grandkid swims are fewer and fewer.
When we had dogs, we would get them in the pool on occasion.
The Boxers would try to pound the water into submission.
The Dachshund would seek the pool steps as soon as possible.
I’m reminded of the time we saw our Boxer, Bootz standing by the pool and occasionally glancing over her shoulders towards the house.
She acted like she wanted us to see something.
So we looked and there was Sofi the Dachshund splashing wildly in the water.
She was rescued and none the worse for wear.
My wife and I don’t really “swim” a lot ourselves anymore but when we have family or friends over, folks enjoy sitting on the edge of a pool with feet dangling in the water.
I love to sit on the pool steps after lawn mowing and sip a cold beer.
It’s always relaxing and refreshing.
Now this summer, I got challenged by a failing pump which I decided to replace on my own.
It resulted in having to do some pipe re-plumbing but I got it operating better than it has since we had the pool installed over 25 years ago.
My wife even offered up a “high-five” when she noted the pump working properly after strongly urging me to hire “pros” to do the work.
“One small step for a married man…a giant leap for husband confidence.”
And, wifely trust.
So the pool awaits the winter ahead after a summer that produced several months of warm, yet refreshing dips.
How long will we keep the pool functioning?
As long as we’re able or until I figure out a creative way to repurpose a 4 foot deep 24 foot octagon hole in our backyard.