Pierce Pissed About Private Pool Putzes

Pierce Pissed About Personal Pool Putzes
Pierce Winslow

I have come to the conclusion that most people who own a pool should not. They have no idea how they work, how to take care of them, or how to keep their kids from floating face-down in them on national TV. Of course, Casey Anthony figured out how to parley her mother’s pool into an acquittal, but the vast majority of the rest are oxygen thieves. We’ll start with the mundane…

Most people who own a pool have no idea how to maintain it. I went to the pool store recently to buy an $84 bucket of calcium hypochlorite and a $13 bottle of water test strips. While perusing the rack of test strip choices (not unlike choosing at a strip bar, but with fewer redheads), I happened to be parked right next to the counter where the employees of the store test the water of the pool-owners—the population incapable of doing it themselves. There were two employees furiously working the line that ran to the back of the store. It was the day after a major thunderstorm, which will totally screw up your chemistry, and the masses were lost.

Some woman came to the desk. The unfortunate employee responsible for servicing her started with an innocuous question, “How does your pool look today?” The fool. The woman responded by saying her pool looked like a glass of milk, and that her husband had been at the store a day or two before and he was told some $42 worth of chemicals would remedy his problem.  He, of course, had refused to buy it because of the cost. Now the woman was there to spend the $42 and clear up the problem, as they were having guests that afternoon. I laughed out loud. This is, sadly, indicative of the intelligence of the typical pool owner. Nothing is going to clear it up in a couple of hours, moron. How long have you had this pool? I can’t imagine this is the first time you converted the water to sludge.

Maintaining a pool requires five things: eighth grade chemistry skills (only to truly understand what’s going on, but optional), fifth grade math skills, third grade reading skills, pre-school color recognition skills, and high school drop-out scoop-and-dump skills.

Note the expert six-year-old hands performing the test
Note the expert six-year-old
hands performing the test

Start with the water test. Buy the strips, dip one in, wait 15 seconds, compare the colors on the strip to the colors on the bottle that the strip came in. Do they match? If so your wife is pregnant…wait, wrong test. This procedure takes about the same ability to open a non-child proof bottle.  Take out a strip and dip it into the water. My eldest daughter opened her first child-proof bottle at about 18 months, and could count to 15 by two years. She could also dip French fries into ketchup (yeah, Heinz dammit; there is no substitute), so I presume she could dip the strip into water. The color matching may be a bit more complex, so let’s summon the skills required for a two-and-a-half-year-old.  l looked back at that long line at the pool store with a snicker.

There are four chemical levels you really need to monitor. The others, regardless of what the pool store that sells that $90/gallon algaecide says, are generally superfluous (we call that a Zano here at the Discord). Anyway, the levels of these chemicals build upon each other. If you try to set them in the wrong order you will fail. You will waste tons of expensive chemicals, and you will have cloudy, or infected, or algae-filled water. Learn the fucking order: 1. total hardness, 2. total alkalinity, 3. Ph, 4. free chlorine. And if you forget, look at the test strip. Coincidentally, they are in the same order on the strip.  Shit, she’s pregnant. 

Total hardness is generally a no-brainer. Depending upon the water coming out of your faucet, you probably won’t have to adjust it, ever. The other three are all handled in the same way: check the back of the bucket of chemicals and find out how much you need to add per volume (gallons) to move the level a particular amount. Generally the numbers are pretty straight forward. If your Ph is at 6.7 and needs to be at 7.0 (again, as told by your test strip) you need to move it by 0.3. If your chemical requires 1 pound per 10,000 gallons to move the Ph by 0.1 then you need 3 pounds per 10,000 gallons to move it 0.3. If you have 15,000 gallons of water in your pool*, then you need 4.5 fucking pounds of the fucking shit to fix your fucking water.

* If you don’t know the volume of your pool, either call a pool service to do everything for you, or call an excavator to come fill the pool in and plant some flowers.

Moving on, pools aren’t free. They aren’t the most expensive things on the planet but I’m sick of hearing people who just had to have that pool then bitch about the maintenance cost. If you’re gonna bitch about the cost of your pool then sell your house or call an excavator to come fill the pool in.  Oh, you should also do this if the pool has upset an Indian burial ground.

People drown in pools. Water is dangerous. You can drown on a tablespoon of water; imagine what 15,000 gallons can do, unless you’re Rosie O’Donnell. You always see people in the news (except on Fox) that were doing things around the house while the kids swim. Then one youngin’ croaks (hopefully the pool owners’ so as to cut off the genetic line). Not only should these people not have a pool, they should not have children. If you’re having a pool party, hire a 15 year old certified lifeguard for three hours. That way you can neglect your children, get loaded, and have some peace of mind to go with your small piece of mind for a lousy $15.

Once upon a time (cue the wavy, blurry screen transition), I was at a friend’s back-yard wedding where they had a pool (nice one too; they have $$$; way overkill on the filtration system though; come on, two filters? Puh-lease). Everyone was running around getting loaded, throwing cake, etc. so no one was watching their kids in the pool. A friend, a fellow pool-owner, and I commented on this and hung out next to the pool while we weren’t standing in line for a drink (the caterer’s service was beyond terrible). At one point some kid got into trouble, serious trouble. Did the other kids help? No, of course not, they’re kids. They bolted for the hills. I kicked off my shoes, jumped in and pulled the poor sap out of the pool. All I got for my efforts was a dirty look as he bolted and joined the pre-bolted kids; a lot of grief from other wedding guests about being soaking wet; and diaper rash from walking around in soaking wet clothes for the rest of the night. No one even noticed that it had even happened, except my friend, who was kind enough to hold my drink through the whole thing. And he didn’t even drink it; I would have drunk his…but I’m a dick.

Anyway, my friend gave me a chuck on the shoulder and an “atta boy” and that was it. Strangely, the pool was empty until sometime later when the bride and groom started chicken fights in there, still in their wedding garb. I wasn’t about to pull any of them out. Anyway, it would have served the parents, and the pool owners right to let the kid sink like that guy in Titanic (well, those 1500 guys in Titanic). I have no patience for stupidity or laziness, which reminds me, “Zano, you’re fired!” It would have been very gratifying to see the notoriety, the litigation, the subsequent deportation to Canada and that country’s refusal to accept them…but, then again, I hate to see a perfectly good pool ruined by a decaying body. It would take two days to clean that mess up. OK,one day.

So, to wrap up what could be a three day rant, if you are a pool owner and are unwilling to take care of it then you are a lazy sack of shit. If you are unable to take care of it, you are a moron. If you complain about paying for it, just shut the fuck up. If you are unwilling to monitor it then you need to be taken out and maimed. If you are any of the above then you should be neutered and your children should be terminated in an effort to chlorinate the gene pool.  

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Pierce Winslow

Pierce Winslow is the Discord's Brain, Chief Engineer and C.E.O. He co-founded the Discord along with Mick Zano in 2008 and they have both been sorry ever since.