I’m Gary, father of two boys and husband of Julie, who you’ll hear more about later. Also a Professor of Physical Oceanography (Marine Physics) when I have time for it after dealing with the pool. Please see my signature for some details about the pool and let me know if I’ve buggered that up. I’ll be happy to try again if need be.
The following is the tale of woe that brought me here. I’m sure that most of you have heard this sad story before, but hopefully another telling will provide a little (well-deserved!) gratification for what you’re doing in this forum, and perhaps give you a laugh or two along the way.
I came here about 12 years ago from the University of Hawaii and, thanks to a remarkable difference in the cost of living between Honolulu and St. Petersburg, managed to buy a nicer house than a simple professor generally rates. The house had a pool, of course, which was the first step on the path that brought me to this forum.
It was a marcite pool and not in very good shape, so after I met and married Julie we decided to have it re-done in fiberglass. One son came along with Julie and another, who for some reason looks a lot like me, somehow appeared about a year after the wedding. It seemed important for them to have a nice place nearby home to swim.
Enter Pool Fool (not his real name), who was a one man band recommended for pool service by the installer, since at that time none of the larger companies, including the one I’d been using up to that point, would have anything to do with a fiberglass pool. Please don’t ask me why. I don’t know.
Six months in I wanted to fire Pool Fool, but Julie was adamant that chemicals and small children would not be allowed in the same house, meaning that I was not allowed to give it a go. Since Julie is very smart, pretty, usually funny, a great mom and not often this much of a pain in the nevermind, I decided to stay with Pool Fool in order to stay with Julie. Life is about choices.
For years now after the water temperature gets above 80 degrees (meaning when I want to start swimming), the pool has spent about 60% of the time green. I spoke to Pool Fool about it many times and got many entertaining explanations. My personal favorite was the one about it all being due to raccoons pooping in the pool at night. When I pointed out to him that the pool was completely enclosed and that there was no way for them to get in, he nodded sagely and, while looking around suspiciously, said, “Yep, they’re really tricky.” When I mentioned that my dog was also there 24/7, he just nodded, as if to imply that my beloved Spot was in on it.
After many years, Julie finally got tired of listening to me complain (and the boys had gotten older, of course), so she gave me permission to fire Pool Fool about two months ago. I know it’s somewhat small of me, but I really enjoyed the subsequent conversation with Pool Fool.
Please note for future reference that part of the deal with Julie was that I was not allowed liquid chemicals, meaning liquid chlorine in particular, around the house, so I have to admit up front that I can’t do the BBB thing exactly. I know what you’re thinking, but please remember the “very smart, pretty, usually funny, a great mom and not often this much of a pain in the nevermind” part and be patient with me.
Next I entered the Pool Store phase. This didn’t last nearly as long. The pool was pea green when I went there. Almost $200 later the pool was clear, but the algae would come back after a day or two. Not to mention that the six times I visited the store over two weeks’ time I talked to six different people. Half of them seemed competent and half of them seemed honest, but I couldn’t find one person where the two features seemed to co-exist.
I went to another Pool Store after that. This was one that my neighbor recommended. I think that these people are quite honest, actually, but they’re very much “fly by the seat of the pants” sorts, which makes me uncomfortable. They don’t think much of testing. After I’d started doing my own testing, but before I really knew much about what the results really meant, I took them a sample a day or so after putting in the 8 pounds of 73% cal hypo they insisted I use to get rid of the algae and they told me that the chlorine level was 6 ppm, and it was fine to let the boys back in. This was when I was still reading levels over 30 ppm. And now with a little more experience I think this was just because their kit saturated, so the guy just guessed. Needless to say this didn’t give me a real warm, fuzzy feeling.
During the Pool Store(s) phase I discovered (via many Google searches for various questions) the Pool Forum. I sure hope it’s not in bad taste to mention another forum here, but I found you all from them (when I found out that one couldn’t register there anymore), and I also noticed that many of the expert posters here were also posting over there. If I’m committing a faux pas here, please let me know and I’ll be very careful in the future not to do it again.
In any case, I bought a K-2006 kit. BTW, I wish I’d known about the TF-100 kit earlier because of the larger reagent sizes and the larger CYA test path length, but I just found out about this a few days ago. In any case I started testing every day while also doing a huge amount of reading. I also got a short course in carbonate chemistry from my Chemical Oceanography buddy down the hall. Cost me a couple of beers, but it was worth it.
After two months of this I’m hoping that I’ve learned enough that I can ask intelligent questions. I definitely have some questions, but I’m working through your existing stuff first to see if my questions have already been answered.
Sorry to take up so much of your time if you were willing to read all the way through this silly introduction and are now wondering why you did. Just trying to have some fun. But I did seriously want to say thanks for what all of you have already posted in the past. I’ve learned enough already that anything else I get is just gravy!
Best regards, Gary