June 2012 – On this particular day, I found myself driving to Wal-Mart to buy two specific items. I was on a mission to purchase bleach and ice cream. As I was on my way, I wondered what someone might think of that combination. I wondered if it would look funny for me to purchase just bleach and ice cream. The two items don’t really seem to go together.
However, they were the two items that I could not wait until the weekend to purchase. First of all, we needed bleach because we had finally decided to pull out our swimming pool and get it filled up again. The weather was rising into the 80’s on a regular basis and we were even hovering at around 90 degrees on certain days.
When I pulled the 8 foot by 2 foot round swimming pool out of storage, I noticed large brown spots of mold all over the blue tarp. The humidity of the garage must have caused a reaction inside the swimming pool. We used up the rest of the bleach that we had in our home, but it didn’t quite get out all the stains. I volunteered to go out and buy some more bleach to finish the job. As we were scrubbing down the “big” pool, Jared, Luke and Grace were playing with the toys in a small, round, plastic kiddy pool that we had recently purchased in order to give Grace a safe area to splash in without worrying about her drowning.
The afternoon weather was really beginning to heat up by the time I realized that we needed more bleach. So, Stephen mentioned that I should buy some ice cream while I was getting the bleach. So, there I was in the checkout line with nothing but my ice cream and bleach.
Now that we are in October, I reflect back on those two ingredients that kick started us into the summer. I remember wondering how much money we might be spending on pool supplies this year since we put the pools up at the beginning of the summer season. Last year, we didn’t put the pool up until after Jared’s fourth birthday on July 25. The weather dropped below freezing on the weekend before October that year, and we packed the pool away in our garage after only three months of use.
This year, we’ve had two pools out and maintained since May. The weather is finally starting to cool down again and we are in the first week of October. Surprisingly, we’ve been able to continue using all the pool supplies we purchased last year and only ran out of the chemical used to prevent algae from growing in the pool. We make weekly trips to a nearby pool store and they test a sample of our pool water to see if we need to do any treatment to the water that week. We haven’t had the drought conditions or extreme heat that we had last summer, and our maintenance on the pool has been low.
During the hot summer months of June, July and August, our kids were out in the pool at least once a day. This summer, Jared and Luke taught themselves how to swim. Luke is our daring underwater swimmer. Even though our pool is only an eight-foot, round pool, Luke would spend a lot of time swimming circles underwater in our pool. Jared still feels the need to hold his nose when he jumps into the pool and swims around. Neither of them requires water wings to be in the water anymore. It has been a fun experience watching them develop into confident swimmers.