Hello all! I really don't feel I'm new to TFP, but certainly long past due in my own introduction.
My wife and I purchased our home 3 years ago, and it did include the above ground pool. I knew I was in for some efforts in maintenance, and for the remainder of our first summer we just maintained it with the same chemicals and brands that the previous owners utilized - the typical pH+, pH-, clarifier, pre-packaged shock mix, and lots of the large chlorine tablets. We only had to maintain it a month this way and already had most chemicals in hand thanks to the previous owner, but did start fighting some issues at the end.
The next year, I started off fresh and purchased a batch of those same chemicals - quickly realizing it was going to be a lot more expensive over the summer than I had really considered. That was my first point of concern, but then after just a couple weeks started having some cloudiness problems. I know what was happening now, but at that point then I was getting advice from the pool store tech who basically kept giving me poor, very expensive advice. Somewhere along this routine of shelling out too much money and never getting the results I expected, I started searching around on the web and stumbled my way into the TFP corner.
The initial draw for me was the inexpensive chemicals in the TFP method, so I kinda went all in. I did a TON of reading on the site - Pool School, figuring out PoolMath, and lots and lots of long user threads that started with the most horrifically green pool photos I'd ever seen which ended up in crystal clear waters and very happy owners. I was completely sold and immediately ordered the fantastic TF-100 test kit and waited anxiously while I read and re-read instructions so I truly understood the entire water problem and solution. I hit the ground running, got my chemical levels where they needed to be, and even had a bout during the summer where we went away for a couple weeks and had to do a little SLAM. I'm disappointed that my wife got impatient and made me just drain and refill it, but I could totally see the progress and was excited as the results became evident.
So far this year, all is going well and I intend to keep it that way. It's such a great pool maintenance method, and I do nothing but promote it and this site to everybody I know with pools. Thanks for all the great information and fantastic people on this site, it's completely changed my attitude regarding pool maintenance.