Corona Diaries: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

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The definition of insanity, according to Einstein and the internet, is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

So I must be insane.

Right now, as I sit at a desk in my kitchen writing this, there’s a 2700-gallon, 15-foot “quick-set” inflatable pool slowly emptying through a garden hose into a storm drain in my back patio.

Bought the thing a month ago as an early Easter present for the kids, filled it up one night while we grilled in the backyard and swam in it a couple times. I even used it in a music video that my daughter shot for me two weeks ago.

Anyway, the pool is draining because, after a few weeks of use, it has become a petri dish filled with green powdery algae, significantly grosser white wispy algae and half-submerged oak pollen clouding the water and turning it into an unusable sludge.

I’m gonna empty it out and start again. Or maybe throw it out. Who knows… depends on what it looks like tomorrow morning I guess.

The reason I might be insane, though, is that I’m literally repeating myself.

Last summer, I bought a different above-ground pool, spent hours setting it up and filling it and then spent hundreds of dollars on chemicals over the next few months to try to keep it healthy.

We had a lot of fun with that pool. The kids figured out how to make a whirlpool by running around in a circle while I would clean up all the leaves that gathered in the center. We wrapped it in a bamboo fence and surrounded it with tiki torches to create our very own Bali resort. We hosted a movie night in the pool – brought a TV outside and watched “Jumanji” while drifting on “seashell island,” a $20 raft we bought from the T.J. Maxx in Elmwood because I found a gift card in an old drawer. Good times.

But man did that Intex 15′ X 48″ Prism Frame Pool kick my ass.

I watched dozens of Youtube videos on pool maintenance. I bought at least 25 of those cheap replacement filter cartridges along with chemicals to bring the pH balance up and down and adjust the alkalinity. I bought chlorine in powder and tablet form. I added chlorine stabilizer and lots of gloop to fight algae. No matter: once the pool got cloudy and gross, I was never really able to save it and it became a horrible eyesore. The little filters that come with these pools don’t seem powerful enough to keep them clean. I drained it, eventually dismantled it and, more recently, cut it up into pieces and chucked it in the trash like a bad citizen.

So. Lesson learned and I’ll never do that again, right? … Except I did. So, yeah, insane.

But you know what? I’m just going to make peace with that. If wasting money and time on a fruitless backyard project is crazy then I don’t want to be sane.

For me, there are four major takeaways from this experience: 1) I Really Like projects – and can easily talk myself into starting a new one or repeating an old one. 2) I’m a kid at heart and I get fired up by the idea of making things as magical as possible for my own. 3) I’m not very handy. 4) And despite plenty of evidence to the contrary over the span of my life, I’m always optimistic that, this time, everything’s going to work out great.

I can live with all that. Heck, I consider it all a point of pride. And everyone in my house, meanwhile, is endlessly patient with me as I get caught up. So, props to them. Thanks guys.

Last year, during my first summer of pool headaches, we met this guy Curley, who works at Leslie’s Pool Supplies on Veterans. He’s great. He obviously cares about his products and his customers. He gave me his cell number last summer in case we had any urgent water quality questions, so I’m gonna hit him up. Maybe he’ll suggest the perfect magic formula to make this year’s pool sparkling clean and true blue.

Who knows? Maybe the 2020 version of my backyard pool project really will turn out for the best. (Note to reader: It almost certainly won’t.)

Meanwhile, if you see me struggling a giant box on the “summer fun” aisle at Target or Wal-Mart next summer, you’ll know I’m going back for round three…

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Categories: Corona Diaries