I have had to learn some new words lately.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

When Martha and I bought our Suffolk home it came with a swimming pool. I have never owned a pool and knew n actually know n nothing about them.

The first thing I had to learn was how to ‘open’ the darned thing. The word open refers to attaching the pump, filter and all the hoses that will be needed to filter the water.

I checked around and discovered that everybody in Suffolk was trying to open their pool at the same time. At least that’s what I surmised as every phone call or visit I made to a pool store in the city was met with a similar phrase n “We are booked up right now and it will be two weeks (or more) before we can get to you.”


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I finally asked around the office and was able to locate a phone number for Pools-R-Us, owned and operated by Brandon King, of Suffolk.

He responded to my call that same day and told me it would be a simple operation, although he could not do it for two more days. Well, I figured, that’s a whole lot better than two weeks or more.

Two days later he showed up as promised and he and his father, Randy, opened my pool.

“You know you’re going to have to shock it, don’t you?” Brandon asked.

What voltage? I wondered.

Actually shocking the water refers to the chemicals used when the pool is first opened. It helps turn the dark, dingy water, sitting through the winter, into something more reminiscent of the Bermuda coastline. Well, maybe not quite, but it does clear it up.

So, with his direction, I dumped two gallons of the chemical into the water. And it worked. By the next morning it looked almost ready to jump into n but not quite.

The next word I learned was flocculent, or ‘floc’ as Brandon called it.

The idea behind this crystallized product is that it makes particles floating in the water heavier, thus forcing them to the bottom of the pool. Then all you have to do is vacuum them up.

And it worked, also. The water went from a cloudy to clear condition overnight.

As for vacuuming the pool, I tried the hose and gizmo that came with it, but decide I needed something better suited for me. So, I took my garden hose, attached a four-foot pole to it, and by creating suction through the hose, used that to clean the floor of the pool.

I also learned the word backwash, which has nothing to do with cleaning one’s backside.

The water pulled from the pool n by the pump n is sent through the filter and then back into the water.

Every now and then, either after using certain chemicals or heavy use, the filter needs to be cleaned out, or backwashed. It’s a simple process that is done by the unit itself.

I have also had to learn a little bit of pool maintenance.

I came downstairs one morning and looked out at the pool. Something was wrong. The pump was running but the water wasn’t moving as it should be. Then I noticed the water level was low.

Somehow, and I have yet to figure it out, a small hole appeared in the liner. I found it after an inspection of the entire pool. The hole wasn’t much bigger than the diameter of a pencil eraser, but it was enough to allow nearly six inches of water to seep out.

And the funny thing about it was the water level was now about one inch below the hole. And I never found a second tear or hole in the liner.

I cut off a piece of excess liner and used a ‘super’ glue to secure it over the hole. After waiting about 30 minutes I got the old ‘standby’ fix out of the garage n the duct tape n and put about a half dozen strips of it over the patch.

That was two weeks ago today, and it is still holding.

As I said before, I never owned a pool. But now that I do it isn’t so bad. It sure is refreshing at the end of the day to go home, put on the old trunks, pop open a cold brew and climb aboard the inflatable float. And then I just move with the current created by the pumping system. It’s sort of like the lazy river ride at the water park, only cheaper.

Grant is the managing editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. Contact him at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com, or 934-9603.