Help! My monster pool is holding me captive.
It forces me to toil until my back aches and my hands are raw. There are no days off. The pool’s ugly maw must be fed. It must be groomed and cleaned for hours or it is not happy.
What am I to do? I am a pool owner who never goes in to swim. Yet, I must toil to keep the monster clean and fed with chemicals designed to keep it benign. If I fail to do these things, it will literally turn into a green monster.
A Monster from the Green Lagoon may one day emerge from my pool and go on a rampage spewing olive-colored slime on unsuspecting Castro Vallians. Or it may turn into a mass breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Why am I complaining about owning a pool? Isn’t a pool in the backyard a sign of someone well off? Not in my case. It is not my pool — it was here when I bought the house and it came along with the mortgage. Little did I know it would cause me such grief.
Yes, years ago, my kids did have fun swimming in the summer, followed years later by the grandkids who could brave the cold waters. But they are all grown now and rarely come by. In the winter, the monster pool misses the attention and insists that I meet its many needs with or without swimmers.
My pool is a tempter of small animals. I have pulled a dead, very stiff cat from the freezing waters and another time a small opossum. Several thirsty mice have met their maker following the siren call of clean cool waters.
“Have a drink,” it beckons to the unwary.
I finally admitted that I needed help to break free of the pool monster. I bought a little robotic pool cleaner called a Kreepy Krawler. Kreepy scooted around the bottom of the pool slurping up what had fallen to the bottom like a vacuum having a nervous breakdown.
“Should I go here, should I go there? No, go here, no go there. Slurp, slurp, slurp.”
It always missed the areas I wanted it to clean. I pulled and tugged on the hose trying to lead it to a dark murky area. Just when I thought I had succeeded, it decided to head the other way. There was no program to set. It had a mind of its own and skittered hither and yon without a preconceived plan of action.
One day I found Kreepy lying listlessly on the bottom of the pool — no sign of suction. I poked him with a long pole, but he lay limp and unresponsive at the deep end of the pool. Had he died? He couldn’t have — he was too young.
Carefully I pulled Kreepy up from amid a growing scene of dirt and debris. The water spilled out of him and his flaps went limp. I turned him over at pool’s edge and found a huge pinecone blocking his intake hole and a lot of leaves and pine needles clinging to his screened lungs. Kreepy was suffocating.
I cleaned him up and put him gently back into the pool. I heard him bubble and gurgle as he happily sank back into his aquatic workplace. I have to admit, I was proud of myself for diagnosing the problem and rescuing my faithful but neurotic helper.
I once checked on how to get rid of the pool that became a monster. A nice grassy area with fruit trees sounded enticing. A contractor told me it would cost $25,000 and that would be just to fill the hole. They would have to wheelbarrow in large rocks and dirt to fill it in and then that would have to settle and more dirt would be piled on top.
Suddenly the pool seemed like an asset not worth getting rid of. Maybe the next owner would have kids who would want to frolic in clean 50-degree waters.
I decided to hire a pool guy to feed the finicky pool and bought a more powerful and obedient pool-bottom sucker. Some day, I may even invest in solar to heat the darn thing. But that would mean cutting down many shade trees that keep my house cool in the summer. Decisions, decisions.
I wonder how much a wetsuit costs.