March 24, 2011


You can tell summer in the Valley of the Sun is right around the corner when it’s time to drain the pool and slap another coat of wood preservative on the tiki bar in preparation for the hot weather, which, for us, is right around the corner.

While swimming pools add value to the houses around here (whatever value is left, that is), they require regular maintenance to keep them looking sharp. I know for some of our neighbors it’s a constant battle, but for whatever reason I’ve never had a problem with green, black, greasy, or anything other than crystal clear water – even though, believe me, I don’t work hard at it. The guy at the pool place says I’m one of the lucky ones. I guess…

Every two years it’s time to replace the water and get the pool acid washed and glass bead blasted. The first step is making sure you’ve got $700 in the checking account because it is not an inexpensive proposition. The process for draining the pool is simple: the guy comes out, shuts the valve off that replenishes the pool water, hooks a big long hose from the water vacuum into a pipe that goes to the town sewer, plugs the sucker in and off it goes. It’s important to hook the hose into the sewer connection if you want to avoid a nasty letter from the HOA; four years ago, the pool guy said it was OK to let the water run into the street, but I guess the HOA has a car that drives the entire subdivision every day looking for scofflaws and we got warned not to try something so reckless and foolhardy again. Which is stupid, because we’re on a slight incline and all the water ran down the street directly into a storm drain. Go figure.

Our pool holds 10,200 gallons of water, and, hard to believe as it is, it only takes the sucker four hours to drain the entire pool. The next day, out comes the pool guy again, and he’ll acid wash the entire pool floor and sides. You talk about a messy job! After he’s done, this chick comes out with a machine that blasts the sides with glass beads to remove the calcium and mineral deposit lines at the water level – it’s pretty new technology, I guess, replacing the manual task of rubbing pumice stone against it, which never worked that great anyways.

Once this is all done the pool gets a final broom sweep and you’re ready to go. It takes the pool a good 12 hours to fill, but then, a few bags of shock and a gallon of acid and you’re back to looking like a desert paradise. Ideal pool swimming temp is 80 and above (84 – 94 is my personal favorite range), but once it’s 76, while a bit of a bracer, it’s still good to go. When the water started draining it was already 68 degrees, so it won’t take too long to achieve nirvava – especially now that the nights don’t go much below the mid-’50s and the days are all around 80. As they say, do the math.

This weekend, out will come the Olympic wood preservative and it will be time to slap a new coat on the tiki bar and the big kahuna tiki that guards us from black and green water in the swimming pool. It’s not the most fun job in the world – it’s amazing how much wood is on the tiki bar frame and roof – but it’s critical to tiki bar preservation. The sun and lack of humidity absolutely destroys wood out here, so it’s something you have to do every year. How necessary is the treatement? All my colored tiki head and Christmas lights with a western exposure have all been bleached white. It’s a pretty amazing thing to behold. But that’s desert living for you.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:01 | Comments Off on Paradise Interrupted
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