Cyanuric Acid. Free Chlorine. Total Alkalinity. PH Level. Acid Demand. Algae Bloom.

You get the idea?

It all began simply enough…the weather improved. The sun came out. Spring blossomed. The water temperature of our pool rose. Then I turned on our new solar heating system, which pumps the pool water up onto the roof through hundreds of tiny black tubes until it damn near sizzles and then circulates back into the pool. The water temp rose higher.

I’m not sure what the tipping point temperature was — 80, 82, 86? But suddenly, and I mean shockingly suddenly, the bacterial world came to vigorous life in my backyard lagoon!

Well, maybe not quite as bad as this picture, but my pool was bad enough that it needed immediate and serious attention. My attention.

You see, I’m the type of person who’s hands-on. I like to take care of things myself. I take a certain pride in it. I had a pool man for years taking care of this pool in Los Angeles, while Nettie and I were living in St. Thomas. Since I’ve been back, though, I’m taking care of it myself.

Apparently, not that well.

I went to Leslie’s Pool Store. I spent a bunch of money on their fancy chemicals. They made matters worse. I spoke to grubby pool guys hanging out at other pool stores and read blogs online. That helped more.

I assessed and collated the data. I ferreted out the contradictions and outright lies that stores use to sell the unwitting pool owner more and more chemicals. I began to understand the chemical interplay in the watery world. It has a certain fascination.

I turned off my solar heater to lower the water temperature and give myself a more level playing field to do battle with these algae invaders. They’re a tough adversary. They’re out there everywhere just waiting for an opportunity to strike. In every drop of water, in every breath we take, in every cell we make, in every cake we bake.

I made a cup of tea.

I sorted the problems. I listed the solutions. My head cleared. My pool water was still murky, but at least I now had a plan of attack — I’m draining the pool. Not in defeat (well, not totally in defeat), but rather as a way of establishing a new offensive strategy. A clean slate is needed.

It’s actually a freeing experience. A way to erase the errors of the past and begin anew. With knowledge this time. With confidence. (And, yes, the life metaphor is on the tip of my tongue but I’m resisting making it here. Oh, I guess I just did.)

I’m visualizing the pool to come. My perfect Platonian pool. Like it was the day I first filled it. When the world was young and beautiful! Surely, it can be that way again.

Oh, dreamer, dream on.








5 Responses to Pool Nightmares

  1. cynthia Maxwell says:

    I get a spring bloom of algae every year in my pond. I use a UVlight and it really helps with keeping the bloom down. Remember when Miles (then a teenager helped me adjust my jandy valve). Plat water lilies and enjoy them 🙂


  2. Mark says:

    maybe you need a salt water pool like you had at Cabrita?

    • fz says:

      Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking of doing since the cyanuric acid level is so high and gets higher with tab chlorine and the liquid is super volatile. Great to see you commenting, Mr. Mark.

  3. Stephanie says:

    can’t you just shock it? i don’t seem to have that problem here.

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