Scenes From A Swimless Summer

Having a pool sounds great, doesn’t it? Especially this time of year, when it’s nearing 90-degrees Fahrenheit (and 1,000% humidity) in New Jersey.


Hub #1, Peppermeister, and I were thrilled when we purchased our first home in 2010 – there was an in-ground pool in the backyard! We knew nothing about pools, and weren’t sure what lay beneath the forest green tarp, but hoped it was salvageable. We scraped together our last hopes, dreams, blood, sweat and pennies to open the pool that summer. We assumed things would get easier after that.

Here’s a brief recount of the last month.



JULES: We need to do all of the shrubbery trimming BEFORE we take off the pool cover this year.




JULES: I just dumped another $100 of shock in, and emptied the vacuum 12 times, but it’s not going to get clean if we can’t keep the filter running.

PEPPERMEISTER: I’ll replace the <blah blah whosiwhatsit widget gauge thingamajig blah blah>. For the third time.



PEPPERMEISTER: Filter still not working. I called Pool Company #1.



PEPPERMEISTER: Did Pool Company #2 come? You made sure to ask them what they did this time, right?

JULES: Yes, they think we need to replace the handle thingy? And you need to call Hector.




PEPPERMEISTER: So it turns out all of those problems with the filter were because…we needed a new filter.




JULES: I got the backwash to work, but can’t get the filter back on.

PEPPERMEISTER: Where did you put the DE powder?

JULES: In the skimmer basket by the pump.

PEPPERMEISTER: That’s not where it’s supposed to go.

JULES: But I watched three YouTube videos! THREE!

PEPPERMEISTER (dialing Pool Company #2): Yeah… uh-huh…okay… yeah… we’ll try that. (adjusts black knobby thing by one of the pipes) Well, now it’s working. But clearly it wasn’t a problem with the filter.

JULES: You’ll have to show me how to do that.




CLERK: Can I help you?

JULES: Yes… I need alkaline.

CLERK: How low is it?

JULES: Umm… 6.8?

CLERK: That would be your PH, not your alkaline.

JULES: Oh right, right, of course! The alkaline is like a greenish-yellow on the test strip. Maybe more like a baby puke.

CLERK: How many gallons is your pool?

JULES: Does 50,000 sound like WAY too much?

CLERK: Well just how big is your pool?

JULES: Pool-sized?

CLERK: You probably have 20,000. You’re going to need to balance the alkalinity first, then the pH. You’ll need 1 lb of this for every 10,000 gallons.

JULES (to self): Well played, math and science. Well played.

CLERK: You’re gonna wanna add half this bag, then wait an hour, then the other half, wait an hour. Then add half of the second bag, wait an hour, then the other half, wait an hour. Keep the filter running the whole time. Tomorrow morning, test the water, then add half of this pH.  So you won’t be swimming today.




JULES: I tested the water. The alkaline is baby puke color again.

PEPPERMEISTER: I think I’m done with the pool.


What are your summer peeves and/or pay-offs?


101 thoughts on “Scenes From A Swimless Summer”

  1. Is this your new screenplay? The pH Incident? Love it.
    Pools are evil, evil I say. You think you’ll just be floating around, sipping cocktails all day, when in reality you are constantly checking the chemicals and cursing the filter.

    I have a solution for you: Pool Boy. Maybe JT is free?

    1. Hey D, I didn’t see your comment before posting mine, we’ve both mentioned cocktails and pool boys (although I went for ‘man’ rather than ‘boy’). I wonder what that says about us!

  2. If I had a pool, I’m pretty sure it would just be like in that very first picture of you daydreaming, with birds tweeting and everything. Actually I did have a pool for a while when I lived in the states (Vegas), and we just had a nice pool man to take care of all that, seriously, that’s the only way to go – he takes care of all that, and you can just lie back on the sun lounger sipping cocktails and admiring his tanned muscly body while he does all the work.

    In terms of other summer stuff, my man can’t understand the joys of BBQs, he says “Why would you want to leave your kitchen, where you have all the modern conveniences you need, including reliable cooking temperature control, and go outside to cook in a primitive way, with inadequate equipment and end up with burnt stuff?” Because it’s fun right? Doh! And food I burn on the BBQ is so much tastier than food I burn inside.

    1. Oh yeah – it seems like most homes have pools in Vegas, don’t they (or have I just watched “Fools Rush In” too many times?)?

      My ‘Dream Household Staff’ list is growing longer by the minute. Wanna bring some charred burgers over and we’ll discuss in more detail? Specifically the finer points of the pool boy’s abs qualifications.

        1. That’s so true, V. Burned stuff on the grill is the distinctive taste of the great out-of-doors experience! Burned stuff in the kitchen is just lousy cooking.

  3. Lol. Sounds like you need a scientist as husband #4!

    Doesn’t it have a drain so you can let the water out and then fill it with fresh water? That’s how our white trash silver galvanized pool works.

  4. Lol, I knew there was a good reason not to want a pool in my own back yard. I prefer to go use someone else’s haha. And Don is right, you need a husband #4: I’d go for a poolboy-man though. (Science takes forever!)

  5. I’ve never had a pool, but I’ve lived next door to people who did. The neighbors in our last house invited us over all the time, the current ones? never. We set up the sprinkler for the grandkids. The upside is they can’t drown and we can watch from inside the air-conditioned comfort of our home, besides, the grass is already turning brown as it is.

      1. I didn’t think you’d want to travel to the Philly end of the state just to jump around in the spray with the grandkids. FYI: you have an open invitation, even if the little buggers aren’t around – the dog would love the company.

  6. I feel your pain. Well, actually, the HUBS feels your pain. It’s his job to deal with that blasted pool. I just have to pay the bills for all the damn chemicals we have to buy continuously. But, since he had a pool growing up, he know what needs to be done and has experience with all the chemicals and stuff. But it seems like he is forever saying, “I’ll be right back, I have to run out to put stuff in the pool,” ad infinitum.

    I say you set up a kiddie pool, jump in with a cocktail (or 5) and call it a day!

  7. I had a house with a pool once…Never again. Yes, I was in it every day but it was to clean it, test it and generaly throw words around it that would make a sailor blush. I went away for a vacation once and came home to a pool full of frogs. Never never again. I will pay to go to a hotel and use their pool. It would be cheeper even if I don’t spend the night.

  8. That’s why I just lie down in puddles and occasionally dig holes and fill them with the hose. Much more eco, and much simpler. Plus, you can swim, like, 100 laps in no time flat.

  9. This is a nightmare, Jules! And the chemicals!! Ugh. By the time you get it right, you’ll go for a long, languid swim and your hair will turn green. But then again, that could be a hilarious post!

    My summer pet peeves. Humidity. Flat sandals that make my feet hurt. And not having a pool.

    1. Oh, R-Poo, did you even KNOW my first summer blogging I wrote about my hair turning green (or are you just psychic)? Ah, yes. At the end of all this, I get to look forward to putting ketchup in my hair!

      I was just talking to someone at work yesterday about how flats can be more uncomfortable than heels.

      I will lie and tell you the pool is open, just so I can see you in a bikini.

  10. I think the problem is probably with your fratastatoid. Send me a plane ticket and I’ll be there to fix it in a jiff, Jules. Get the sangria a-chillin!

      1. Um, a dinglehopper is a fork-like contraption one uses to comb one’s hair. Didn’t you ever see Little Mermaid? Some people are just not mechanical – jeesh!

            1. Pretty sure it’s NOT a snarfblat, ladies. That’s a musical instrument you blow on to make noises. Assuming that it’s not filled with seaweed, that is. Might need to clean that out first.

              It’s quite obviously the franastan. I know . . . I OWN a pool. That the family swims in. Because the chemicals are balanced. :p

  11. I have a manageable hottub. It is manageable because Danny does all the managing.
    You need a pool boy for the summer. Someone who can also mix a great pina colada and work shirtless. Preferably with six pack abs; not abs that look like he has a 6-pack for lunch and dinner…. Now Go Jules GO!!! I am sure Peppermeister will understand….

    1. I’m with Peggles, thank you for remembering to state, in writing, that crucial six-pack distinction. I’m including that in the contract along with “Long Island Iced tea prep skillz.”

  12. Don’t hunky pool men do house calls anymore? They seem to be in abundance in “Wisteria Lane”! Speaking of alkaline, did you know they have alkaline water now and claim that it’s good for drinking and neutralizes our acid and boosts our metabolism? If only you had known that back then. 🙂

    1. Kind of off topic, but part of this 2013 pool drama was paying people to cut up and remove the skeezy old hot tub next to the pool, and one of the companies I (seriously) considered was called, ‘College Hunks Hauling Junk.’

      No lie. I bet they stay fit on a steady diet of alkaline water.

  13. All of this is exactly why I will never have a pool unless an attractive pool boy (who I’ll subsequently have an affair with) comes with it. This sounds like some Breaking Bad-level chemistry.

    1. Ha! I’ve wished for a pool boy more in the past 3 years than I ever wished for a pool in the past 30.

      I feel like some ‘We Only Sell Sprinklers and Hot Tubs’ company should hire me to spread the anti-pool word.

    1. Note to self: always buy a house NEXT to a house with a pool. Immediately make friends with neighbors with hunky college-age son/poolboy.

  14. Just one (or many) reasons that chipmunks have a severe aversion to water. No good can come of this. No one ever drowned sitting in an air conditioned room watching movies in a Lay-Z-Boy while sipping gently on a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. I wouldn’t do that. I’m just saying…cheeper.

    Though I am intrigued by the thought of 20,000 gallons of Mike’s.

    1. Filling this pool with hard lemonade (side note: this has been my drink of the week! But I make it myself with vodka and Simply lemonade) would have been cheaper.

      AND it’s scaring off chipmunks. Lose-LOSE.

      1. Vodka and Simply lemonade. Hmm…that is sounding significantly cheaper per ounce. And depending on my mood…more effective.

  15. And this would be precisely why we walked away from every house in our price range with a pool. Sorry.

    1. Just think of all the drained pool possibilities… I could use it as a holding cell for potential future spouses. Or finally, the proper-sized vessel for my vodka!

  16. OMG, LOL, this is all so true. Always makes my wife and I ask why we even had the pool built in the first place. Oh well you didn’t want to swim anyway, we say that quite a bit, but then we’re in denial too.

  17. And yet, you’re doing a better job than my Dad after 30+ years of pool ownership. Calling in a pool company? My parents won’t even hire a local teenager to do the routine stuff. He has to do it all himself. Like let it turn green with algae, then shock it with chlorine the morning they have company coming over to swim. And then tell them they can’t swim because of all the chlorine as the small children are running towards the pool.

    Which is why I live in an apartment and take cold showers all summer.

    1. Ha! Our chlorine is still too high. Peppermeister went under for few seconds on our first swim this week, and came up with bloodshot eyes.

      We need a cold shower by the pool. An eye shower.

  18. Of course you would right this the week our (tiny) pool is just finishing being built! Of course! I will block all of this information out until this time next week, when I will inevitably be crying because just filling a concrete hole up with water out of the garden hose will not be sufficient pool maintenance. But, until that moment, it’s all birds and pina coladas in my imagination!

    Maybe we just turn them into koi ponds? Fish are pretty, right?

    1. Oh, none of this applies to YOU! You’re covered by the ‘new pool’ clause, effective February 5, 2013, wherein it’s clear skies pina coladas for everyone!

      1. Jules,

        Not to worry, a little motor boat is not so bad… unless your description is painfully inaccurate… I wouldn’t worry about a little motor boat… unless of course it turns out to be a gateway boat…

        -Soul Walker

  19. My husband number three’s mother has a lovely pool, that she maintains as a full-time job. I like to show up a lot, make a show of helping her take the cover off and then help myself to her cold beverages she keeps in a handy little fridge poolside. It works great for me!

  20. ‘Well played math, well played.’ Definitely just made my day with that little beauty.
    Your pool sounds like a dirty bitch. I don’t want to make you punch me through the computer but we literally opened ours and it was perfectly clean. We added one bag of salt and we haven’t vacuumed it once, the creepy crawly does it for us. I’m thinking I’m pretty glad our pool is itsy bitsy because I am not picking up what you pool is putting down. I also fear your pool may be polluted from proximity to the Jersey Shore House. I’m sure there’s hundreds of miles between…but really, is that enough?

    1. Heh Thanks, Dawn! *whispering* That was my favorite line, too.

      Your pool is immaculate. You don’t have any trees over it, right? That’s a big part of our problem. No. I take it back. That’s just one of our many, many problems, along with our proximity to the air pollution caused by Snooki’s poof maintenance.

  21. Pools are a nightmare!! This pool had one when we bought it. We used it for one summer. It was a money SUCK. Plus I always worried about someone drowning on my watch. (Aren’t a super relaxed person?) Anyway, we had it filled in the next summer. Every time I see that patch of grass out there over the former pool space I’m deliriously happy. Best money I’ve ever spent.

  22. Oh man, what a tease–a pool that you can’t even swim in. Maybe you can get all suited up in some protective gear? We once had an indoor pool and it was the worst. Made the whole house humid and we never used it because who wants to swim in a dark room when you can be out in the sun? I hope you guys figure out the secret fromula soon! I can imagine it’s going to get hot, hot, hot in NJ and you’ll need some sweet pool relief.

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