Farewell to the Pool

When Jack and I moved into this house in 1976, the swimming pool in the backyard was lagniappe.  We loved the house, and it came with a pool, so there we were.  Even though we moved here from Florida, neither of us had ever owned a pool, or we might have kept on house hunting.

It was a nice little pool, tucked on one side of our fairly large lot, kidney-shaped and no more than five feet deep, with a concrete deck and steps at the shallow end.  We enjoyed sitting in it, paddling around, swimming a little bit, although it was never really well suited for actual laps.  Albert, the basset hound who owned us in those days, knew his legs were not meant for swimming and refused to join us in the water, but he was happy to sit on the deck and attempt to lick us dry when we got out.  Among the many quirky things about the house was the half bath meant to serve the pool.  It had a sink and a shower.  No toilet.  That is not my idea of a bathroom, half or whole, and it has long since been converted to a storage closet.

Somehow I was in charge of pool maintenance, a job I hated passionately.  Cleaning the pool, running the pump, trekking to the pool supply store with the water sample bottle, battling algae.  Never my idea of fun, but a pool service was financially out of our reach.  One memorable summer a mallard hen with a limp got tired of migrating and settled in the pool.  Ducks have no respect for sanitary arrangements.  They will poop on anything, anywhere.  And the poor creature fell in love with Albert, a passion she expressed by nipping at his toes.  The poor dog would stick his head out the back door and look for her before he ventured out, until we finally caught her and took her over to an established flock on Galveston Bay where she was last seen limping valiantly away from several interested drakes.

A few years after we settled here, my parents moved from south Florida to a nearby neighborhood, and my dad loved the pool.  I’d hear a car door slam in the driveway and look out the kitchen window to see him in an open shirt and his favorite (and hideously ugly) harlequin patterned knit swim trunks.  He was the one who tried covering the pool for the winter, succeeding mainly in trapping water and leaves on the tarp and fooling poor Albert into stepping off the edge of the pool onto what looked like a solid surface.  (No dogs were ever harmed in this pool, but in Albert’s case it was a near thing.)  My mother, as far as I remember, never put so much as a toe in the water, not even when she lived with us for a couple of years after my dad passed away.

Albert the basset hound eventually crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and we were claimed by Fred the pit lab (the offspring of a smallish labrador retriever and an unidentified traveling sales dog), whose two favorite things in the world were tennis balls and the swimming pool.  Combine the two and you got a dog who would chase a ball from one end of the pool to the other until he could barely crawl up the steps and out of the water, exhausted but happy.  Evenings in the pool with Jack and Fred made the maintenance work worthwhile.

But over the years the pool, built sometime in the 1960s, began to deteriorate.  I kept it up as best I could even after Jack passed away, although Sandy the scruff terrier, Fred’s successor, refused to join me in the water.  Keeping it clean became ever more a battle, thanks to leaky plumbing and a faltering filter system.

Shortly before this area was hit by Hurricane Ike in the fall of 2008, the technicians refilling the filter tank damaged the electrical line to the pump; one morning I realized it was smoking.  By this time the plumbing was so unreliable that I never knew where I’d find water in the yard, and the deck was cracked and tilted.  And then the hurricane hit, and I said to myself, I’ll have it fixed next spring.

Or the next spring.  Or the next.

So I’ve known for years that the pool was doomed.  A habitat for mosquitoes, frogs, and the occasional heron doesn’t really belong in the suburbs.  I wavered between rehab and removal, and finally decided I never wanted to deal with pool maintenance again.  But pool removal is expensive, and I put it off until my insurance carrier finally gave me an ultimatum.

Demolition begins tomorrow morning.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Liz
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 22:58:25

    Awww! You have some great memories there. Thank you for sharing them with us. Good luck with your soon-to-be new spot of landscape.

    Like

    Reply

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