The zen art of pool skimming

by DaniGirl on June 15, 2005 · 7 comments

in Uncategorized

We have one of those oversized inflatable kiddie pools in our backyard. It’s 12 feet across, and the water is maybe 26 inches deep. I got it last year at the end of July as a birthday present from my men, and I think the temperatures were nice enough to swim maybe four or five times the rest of that summer.

Through the winter, we debated on whether to put it up again this year. It was, frankly, a heck of a lot of bother and wasted space considering the amount of enjoyment we got out of it. One of the major impediments to my enjoyment was that my darling Tristan pooped in the pool around day five that we had it up, and no amount of chlorine ever convinced me the water was clean again.

We finally decided that putting the pool up again this year would be less work than filling in the 12′ crop circle in the back yard. I’m so glad we did! We’ve had an early summer heat wave for the last two weekends, and temperatures have topped out around 30 degrees before the humidity. Factor in the humidity and we’re warm enough to be our own sun. And sweaty enough to fill our own saltwater lake.

We’ve gotten more than our money’s worth so far this season. We’ve been in swimming each day on the weekends and on my Mondays off. A couple of days it was hot enough to go in twice. The only problem is, we’re a dirty lot. We’re sweaty, we’ve got sunscreen glommed on us, and we have to walk through the grass to get into the pool, grass which loves to go for a swim with us.

It probably doesn’t help that I got a great deal on a sand and water table at a garage sale last Saturday, and somehow we managed to buy the kind of sand that has a mind of its own and hides in cracks and crevices, using sunscreen as glue, only disengaging itself from the boys when they are in the middle of the living room — or in the pool.

You see, I’ve become a little bit obsessed about keeping the pool clean. I’ve never had a pool before, so this whole routine is new to me. I feel like a scientist with my little box of chemicals and test strips. I run the filter regularly, setting the oven timer so I don’t leave it on all night (or for an entire week, as happened last summer.) I even have a bunch of pool care Web sites bookmarked, where I learned the wonders of baking soda for Ph balance.

But what I really love to do is skim the pool. I could skim the pool for hours. There is something oddly satisfying about working my way down the flotsam chain from drowned wasps to grass blades to dandilion fuzz to sand grains to particles so small I have to squint to see them. There is a meditational zen in scudding my skimmer into a settled pile of sediment and scooping up the debris, sweeping it through the water and slapping it out onto the lawn. Move over two inches and repeat. Move over two inches and repeat. I could pass an entire afternoon ensuring the water is as clean and clear as anything that flows from a Swiss spring.

And this summer, I’ve realized that the optimum place to stand is not at the edge of the pool, but in the middle of the pool. The water only comes up to the middle of my thigh, a few inches under the cuff of my shorts, but it’s surprisingly refreshing. Bright sun, warm air and tepid poolwater – the summer trifecta.

Now if only I could get half as interested in picking up the avalanche of toys that are taking over my living room. Or de-crumming the kitchen. Or maybe even putting away the folded laundry. What is it about outdoor chores that makes them so much less tedious than indoor chores?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 yvonne robinson June 15, 2005 at 1:59 pm

I am now completely obsessed about my garden. I water them. And they grow. So, I water a little more and wait…. Move over two inches and repeat.

2 Running2Ks June 15, 2005 at 2:55 pm

Indoor chores are stuffy and they require perfect cleanliness. Outdoor chores are like a laundry commercial–fresh scented and still allowing dirt under the feet ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for making the outdoors seem more zen-like. I was so busy cleaning inside, I seem to have forgotten ๐Ÿ™‚ Claritin, take me away!

3 mgood June 15, 2005 at 4:35 pm

Too bad we don’t get the same satisfaction from scooping dog poo.
Similar range of motion, atmosphere and noticeable result – different density and aesthetic, I guess.

4 AnnaJ June 15, 2005 at 4:53 pm

Yay!! So happy to hear you are enjoying your pool. Ours is still in the basement as we can’t put it up until the fence goes in :(. I spent many summers taking care of a friends pool, it seemed that any troubles I was having I could let go in cleaning the pool. I got a great tan, good workout and a dip in refreshing water all the while wishing my cares away. Inside can wait for a rainy or snowy day, enjoy the hot ones while they are(were)here.

5 Troy June 15, 2005 at 9:16 pm

Our pool goes up next week, as soon as the kids are out of school. I’ve never found the maintenance of it quite so meditative, however. Maybe I’m looking at it from the wrong perspective, but I’ve always kind of thought of it as a bother. I’ve actually been accused of being the “pool Nazi” by Mrs. Scribe whenever I tell the kids, “Hey, I just CLEANED that!”

6 nancy June 16, 2005 at 4:04 am

u r hilarious

7 Bren June 21, 2005 at 4:10 am

Wanna skim my pool? Puleeeeease?

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