First Words — 11 July 2014
A pool and his money

By Mark Gauert

City & Shore Magazine

I am sitting by my pool, sipping something cool on a summer’s afternoon, when, suddenly, I start to worry.

The water level in the pool does not look right, I decide after long scrutiny from my lounge chair. I’m pretty sure it was up over the tile line we use to gauge the water level just yesterday. It’s down under the tile line today.

What will happen, I worry, if the water level keeps falling? What if it falls so far the pool pump starts sucking in air instead of water? What if that blows up the pool pump and turns the backyard into a smoking crater.

Trouble for sure, I think. Especially at resale time.

Four bedrooms. Three baths. Great schools. Crater?

The next day, the pool man confirms the worst.

“I knew it,” I say. “My pool pump is going to explode.”

“No,” he says, “you’re just losing water. We could try patching it, but your pool surface is old and cracking. It should be replaced.”

“You mean,” I say, suspecting the answer before asking, “pools don’t last forever?”

“No,” he says. “They do not.’’

This doesn’t seem fair, considering how much it costs to put in a pool in the first place. We expect a refrigerator or microwave to give out after a long, productive life. But what’s the pool been doing productively over the past 22 years, other than holding water?

“What if I fill the pool every time I see the water level go down?”

“You could try that, but if you forget and air gets into the pool pump, it will explode.”

“I knew it!” I said.

“No, just messing with you,” he says. “But it’s a lot cheaper in the long run to fix it. Better for the environment, too; better not to waste all that water. Just better all around.”

It better be, I think, six weeks, 12,000 gallons and thousands of dollars later.

I’m sizing up all the new work from my lounge chair, sipping something cool on a summer’s afternoon. This is better, I decide after long scrutiny, watching sunlight streak through crystal-blue waters now captive in my pool. I splurged on a special kind of LED pool light, too. At night, with all the features activated, it looks like the Mother Ship is landing in the backyard. (Or like the pool pump is exploding).

If you’re sitting by the pool now, sipping something cool – or relaxing in your favorite spot – allow me to suggest some summer reading this issue, About what keeps singer-songwriter John Legend coming back to South Florida,; how other people, including some actual experts, are designing their pools,; why more women are learning to play golf,; how to dress chic and comfortable at a resort,; how to get a summer deal on vacations,, dining and happy hours, ; and, my personal favorite, the best champagne you’ve probably never heard of, .

I should go back to my own reading and relaxing. But I can’t help glancing up from my lounge chair, across the newly resurfaced pool with its LED Mother Ship Lighting System, to the rangy hedge now creeping over the neighbor’s fence, edging out the view.

What will happen if the hedge keeps growing? What if it grows so far the tendrils start jamming the pool pump. What if that blows up the pool pump and and and I really could start worrying again.

But better not to waste a summer’s afternoon. Better all around.

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