A Short But Sweet Swimming Season
By Thomas Morrone CFP®, CPA
Swimming pool ownership certainly has its pros and cons. In the northeast, the swimming season is so very short that over the years I have often asked myself, “is it worth having a pool?” June can be a hit or miss month with the weather and then only July and August are left. After all, come September and the changing of the leaves, it seems natural to close the pool even though it often feels like it was just opened. When we were designing our new home, the pool question previously mentioned was discussed often, and in the end, we decided to install a pool…which I do not regret. It is ironic though, if you did an actual pro/con list side by side, the cons far out weigh the pros. For the cons there are all the costs starting with the installation of the pool itself, opening and closing, electricity, chemicals, maintenance and let me emphasize the maintenance. I am a bit anal about keeping the pool clean. If I see one leaf floating on the water, I start to twinge a bit and not until I get the skimmer pole and remove that leaf, can I relax.
When the pool is first opened in the spring it takes up to a week or so to get the water not only clean but chemically balanced that encompasses several trips to the pool store for complete water testing. The walls and floor need to be brushed to remove any algae growth and the pool vacuumed of the sediment from the winter. After that startup process, I settle into a routine. I have my daily ritual that starts with sweeping off the patio, need be and skimming the floating debris and whatever has settled to the bottom of the pool overnight. Of course, the skimmer basket needs to be cleaned each morning and at the end of the day as well. There is an occasional surprise such as a frog, mole, vole, mouse, chipmunk or some other creature that needs to be removed. Saturday morning is water testing and chemical maintenance encompassing shock, chlorine sticks, algaecide and water clarifier. There is also the need for a periodic vacuuming throughout the season.
The irony, I am not a big swimmer. I am more of a quick dip kind of guy. The whole body cool down is wonderful after doing some chores around the house, kayaking or just sitting around soaking up some sun. Sometimes just sitting on the stairs is refreshing enough for me and I never make it all the way into the pool. What I believe is most enjoyable is just looking at the water and watching others enjoying themselves in and around the pool. I look forward to coming home at the end of the day and looking outside over the pool area. It provides a calming and soothing sensation and it erases the thoughts of the work day. More than one glass of wine has been consumed sitting poolside without ever feeling a drop of water. It can be very relaxing, and that pro for me far outweighs the long list of cons.
Children tend to love the water and our kids grew up with a pool. Their friends were always around, and beach towels and suntan lotion were plentiful. Those are some fabulous memories. We look forward to an entire set of new memories as we prepare for our grandson. Maybe not this year but he will certainly be in the pool next year. We will have every possible floaty thing for that baby that you can imagine. Already looking forward to next summer but thoroughly enjoying this one right now.
Life is Good!
Until the Next Tom’s Take…