Great to be part of the group. I have a long story of how I ended up here...
We moved from North Carolina to Florida just under two years ago. My grade-shool-aged son's "condition" of the move was that the new house had a pool. (Pool or not, we were moving, but I thought a pool would be fun, too!) With a very quick move, and never having owned a pool before, I though it best if I had someone maintain it for me. Did that for about six months -- water always looked great and was always told that levels were great.
So, I thought I could do it myself, still using the pool store as my testing place. Not living too far away, a once-a-week trip did not seem too bad. I did that for about a year. Things started going funny about three months ago when I started having stains appear on the bottom. I kept doing what the pool store told me to, and the stains never went away. Following what I now think (know?) was bad advice, I was able to get most of the stains gone. I went away for vacation, and had the pool store come and keep levels correct, etc. When we returned, the water started getting cloudy. Of course, the store blamed the dreaded phosphates. I did what they said, and have taken a week to get rid of the cloudiness. But that is the last time! I am ready to do this myself. (With the help of the great people on this forum!)
I have already read the introductory material, have a general knowledge of the proper chemistry (based on what the pool store guys told me). I am just waiting on my test kit. Will work on my signature soon. I will post specific questions in the proper places!