I grew up wanting a pool. A few of our neighbors had pools and I wished we had one too.
Our family always went sailing on the summer weekends. We’d swim off the boat while my mom cooked steaks on the grill. I didn’t know how lucky I was, being more concerned with stinging sea nettles, annoying brothers, and having no refuge, such as the deep end of a pool.
When I moved to L.A. in my mid-twenties, every apartment complex had a pool and a hot tub. It seemed unbelievable to me. I lived near Venice Beach, but I spent most of my time in the pool (and hot tub).
I didn’t care much for L.A. and moved up to Napa, where I eventually bought a condo that had a pool and tennis courts. Then I met my husband and we moved to Coronado, California (near San Diego), where we had a pool, hot tub, and lived near the beach! Kids birthday parties were a breeze out by the pool (although I was nervous about a little kid falling in when no one was looking).
Six years after we moved to Coronado, we spent a summer in Vermont. We loved swimming in the rivers, gardening, and the general Vermont way of life. We moved here the following summer in 2003.
Now we have an above-ground pool, which is mostly my domain. I’m the only one who uses it these days, since Alec lives in Burlington, and Evan likes to swim in the river. Occasionally, Dylan will make a guest appearance, but that hasn’t happened yet this summer. Rich makes a big splash about once a year when the weather is unbearably hot.
Mostly it’s me, lying on my super giant float staring up at the sky. I try to do this at least once every day or so, lie around floating in the pool, doing nothing. This kind of time is important for me as I need to take breaks, otherwise I work too much and get stressed out. Sometimes I swim, if it’s really hot, or I pretend I’m the bionic woman and run around the pool in slow motion.
The pool is my refuge. It’s where I take time for myself. I’m always fiddling with it, pulling out a leaf, wiping pollen off the walls, checking the filter. I often stare at the water when it’s raining, or for no reason at all.
Come on over if you want to lie around the pool with me sometime. You can swim or do nothing. BYOF – bring your own float.
Pool Care Notes
Over the years, I’ve learned a bit about pool chemicals. My brother Rob used to have a pool and he mentioned that he used baking soda rather than expensive, fancy chemicals. So I started experimenting and I’ve gotten pretty good with keeping the numbers aligned to what’s recommended on the test strip. I add Borax if I need to raise the PH and Baking Soda to raise the alkalinity. I dump in regular old Clorox Bleach, but also use the chlorine “cakes” which have cyanuric acid, which helps chlorine last longer on sunny days.
I grew up going to a local pool, and on vacations with pools and hot tubs. My father loved to swim, therefore so did I. When I was 14 we bought a house with a large in-ground pool, 26×48, my dad swam in that pool every night in the summer, and he took such good care of it. You two could have had some nice conversations about pools and alkaline ;-).
My brother got the pool going the first summer after my Dad passed away, out of nostalgia I suspect, but none of us kids live near by, and as you know you just have to keep up with the maintenance, so the next summer we didn’t open the pool.
My Mom had the pool filled in last summer and all I could think was how my father would be so upset. I miss it too…
Marjorie Ray says
I would have loved to have met your dad. I still remember when he went into the hospital when we were in grad school. I know you were very close. Thanks so much for sharing this memory.