The Star-Herald

Too cool for pool?

There seems to be a fine line between “it’s too cold” and “it’s too hot” in our household these days as the peculiar spring season continues here in Aroostook County.

One day we are throwing the extra blankets off the bed and plopping fans into the windows in an effort to suck in whatever cooler air may or may not be outside. And then, it seems the very next day, we are reaching for our fleece jackets or sweatshirts during the day, and fighting for the blankets in bed at night.

Seriously, can we make up our minds on whether it is officially shorts or sweatpants weather?

On the first day the temperatures went above 70, my youngest daughter immediately started pestering me about when I was going to get the swimming pool ready. For the past nine years, we have had one of those above-ground pools you can purchase at your local department store. And every year it seems the struggles of getting it ready for use outweigh the benefits of being in said pool.

Unlike many folks, we leave our pool standing all winter long. Maybe it is because the thought of spending hours dismantling the thing does not appeal to me, but in honesty, taking stuff apart is easy. It’s putting it back together where I struggle.

We do not really have a ton of storage in our home for a 15-foot pool frame and its liner. We do have a shed, but I have heard horror stories from friends and neighbors who have dismantled their pools and stored them for the winter, only to find mice have chewed holes in the liner.

The one drawback of leaving a pool up all fall and winter is that it tends to accumulate a ridiculous amount of gunk. In our case, it is pine cones, pine needles and other debris, along with more than a few dead bugs.

This year, draining the pool of said gunky water proved tricky as well. It seems the designers of our pool, in their infinite wisdom, decided it would be good to require a special device to push open the drain on the inside of the pool. I wish I had known this first before climbing into the slimy water and trying to open the drain from the inside of the pool.

Once the water started flowing I thought that would be the end of it. Nope. I was wrong. It seems the drain hole also did not allow for all of the water to drain from the pool. So Sunday afternoon, my wife and I were standing in the pool scooping bucket upon bucket of water out of the pool so that we could start fresh.

After a few hours of this laborious chore, the pool was finally ready to be filled. I did not want to waste any time starting this process, because I learned my lesson all too well last time. Last spring, I decided to wait a day or two to start filling the pool and came home from work to find a gust of wind lifted the frame into the air like the headsail on a ship. I found the pool snapped in half a good 15 feet from where it should have been.

Of course, throughout the process, my daughter has consistently asked, “When can I swim?” Given our current weather patterns, I’m thinking sometime by July the water may be warm enough to take a dip.

Joseph Cyr is the assistant editor/senior reporter for Northeast Publishing, a division of Bangor Daily News. He can be reached at (207) 532-2281 or via email atjcyr@bangordailynews.com.

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