A lurker no more!
Wanted a pool very badly when I was a little kid and, well, the universe has a sense of humour. "Married into" our pool in 1986: my MIL was only too happy to turn over the reins of pool chemistry to me. First thing I did was buy baking soda at the bulk food store and use DowFlake calcium which we normally buy for our family orchard. Saved a bundle and got into her good books at the same time!
25 years later, still at it. Our pool is aging and desperately needs a "cash injection" but we are able to have clean, swimmable water each summer on a shoestring budget. I especially want to thank this site for finally clearing up the mystery of over-stabilization for me. Those mid-to-late August algae blooms, seemingly impervious to shock treatments, always drove me mental. Now I use pucks for half the summer then switch to Cal-Hypo or liquid bleach.
See you poolside!