Here in about 90 days, many East Texans will be back in their swimming pools--or doing their best to find one. But before we can get back in the pools in which we love to spend so many languid summer hours, there is a ton of work to do. As a pool owner, mid-April is usually the time I start paying attention to getting the pool into a somewhat reasonable shape.

Because truly there are some wonderful things about having a pool. It makes the perfect place to chill out when the temps are high with family and friends. One of my favorite things in the world is night swimming--incredibly calming to many of us. And also we can live out our childhood dreams of being a mermaid...or mer-man, as is applicable. ;)

At the same time, there are some definite challenges and even downsides.

When this house was purchased ten years ago, it was primarily because of its location. It just so happened to have a pool. “Okay,” I thought, “that might be fun.” Well it was, and is, but that’s certainly not all of it. Anybody who has been responsible for keeping a pool operational knows--the struggle is real, y'all.

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Both current and former pool owners know. You see someone in the store looking for a part, or shock, or tablets, and you catch their eye. And you know that they know. The knowing glance means each of you knows the sometimes ugly reality of "parenting" a pool.

It’s funny, a work acquaintance would occasionally mention, “you have a pool don’t you?” Perhaps sort of hoping for an invite. I think they may have been surprised by my less than enthusiastic response. Not regarding their invite, but regarding pool ownership.

To them, having never owned a pool and being water-happy-type people — they were totally flummoxed by this. Over the years they’d comment on how they couldn’t believe I wasn't in the pool all the darn time. I'd probably have thought something similar in years past.

After owning the home for just a couple of years, it became clear that the pool liner needed replacing. That was several thousand dollars. Then it became quite evident, since there are many trees on the property, that a pool cover would definitely need to be purchased. This is something they must measure and custom make. Does that sound expensive? Why of course it does. Cause it IS.

And guess what? It's been about ten years and so---that means it's time for another pool liner. (Obviously some people don't have to fiddle with pool liners, but they have their own maintenance struggles.)

At one point or another, there were air leaks here and there. “What’s this air bit about,” you may ask? Pools circulate water, right? Well, if you have a connection somewhere that isn’t sealed well, air gets into the lines and the whole thing just craters. Thankfully, East Texas Pool Service sniffed all those out and got the fun going again.

Now you might not think about it, but occasionally you must add water simply due to evaporation. Some pools are set up to with an auto fill apparatus. This one doesn't and that’s okay. REALLY, I want to be oh-so painfully aware how much fine drinking water we are using to fill the pool. You know, just to stay grounded, and whatnot.

Now this water circus that is "the pool" doesn’t live on good will and H2O alone. It also requires electricity. Last year, the pump motor was switched off in order to do some things around the pool and when we went to turn it back on, buzzzzz – grrrrrr, then nothing. ...Ugh, yeah. Let's just leave it right there. You get the point. More than a few dollars were spent.

This is just a little of the spectacular reality that is pool ownership. On the bright side, it'll hopefully be ready to go in a few weeks, so grab your floatie things and come over.

I’m reminded of a funny line someone once said:

"A boat is a hole in the water you pour money into, and a pool is a hole in the ground you pour money into." There’s a lot of truth to that. But there are also a lot of nice memories to be made, too.

Oh look, I think I see something slithering in the pool. I'm scared to look. *sigh*

Goosebumps and other bodily reactions, explained

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