Cup O’ Joe: At long last, warm weather has arrived

12 years ago

It has been a long time coming, but the warm weather has finally arrived. Many County residents spent this past weekend barbecuing, working in the yard or laying in a hammock underneath a shade tree, and rightfully so.
This past winter, with skyrocketing oil prices, was a tough one for many families. So it was somewhat refreshing to see temperatures soar Friday through Sunday, allowing windows to be thrown open and linens to be hung on the clothesline for that crisp, fresh air scent.
    Naturally, with the mercury rising to the 80s, thoughts in our household quickly turned to summer activities. Our children started asking on Saturday when the swimming pool would be ready. Explaining to a 5-year-old that it takes considerable amount of time and effort to clean and refill a pool somehow got lost in translation.
“Daddy, can we go swimming?” my youngest asked.
“The pool is not ready,” I explain.
“Well can you get it ready?” she asked again.
“It takes a long time to get the pool ready, but I will work on it,” was my response.
“OK. You tell me when it’s ready.”
And so it went Saturday and Sunday as time was spent draining out the old, cruddy water. Unlike last year, I decided to leave the pool up throughout the winter, because taking it apart and storing it in the basement was a big hassle. I hadn’t counted on the amount of crap that would accumulate in said pool over the course of the winter and early spring.
Cleaning out a ridiculous amount of pine needles (my disdain for pine trees has been well documented) and other debris gathered throughout the winter was more labor intensive than I really was hoping for on the first beautiful weekend of the season.
My attempts to appease the girls by hooking up a sprinkler and giving them a bucket for water guns lasted only a short amount of time before the questions about the readiness of said pool returned in force.
Getting the pool ready is easy for some. I have friends with similar style pools and they have no real troubles getting theirs prepped for use. Ours, for some reason, takes a Herculean effort.
First off, once the pool was properly drained it had to be moved. Last summer, it became evident once the pool was completely filled, that the ground it sat upon was not level, despite efforts to make it so by hauling in a truckload of gravel to build a base.
We love our backyard. It’s one of the nicer lots in town as it gently slopes to Pearce Brook. That gentle slope, however, can be a bugger when trying to get a 15-foot pool level. After moving the pool off its base, which became a four-person project, my father and I spent time re-grading it, in the hopes of making it even.
Once that step was completed, it was time to start smoothing out the bottom and begin the filling process. After a couple of hours, when the water reached a depth of about one foot, I noticed I failed to put the pipes inside the retaining loop of the pool liner on about half of the posts.
This led to some mild cursing (by now the kids were inside getting ready for bed), and resulted in draining out nearly half of the new water that I put in so the posts could be lifted high enough to be removed one at a time and replaced.
By the time darkness fell, I finished fixing the pole problem, but opted not to leave the water running all night, which led to some disappointed children in the morning who were hoping to go swimming after school.
Hopefully, the warm stretch will continue next weekend. Otherwise, there will be some very cranky kids in the house.
Joseph Cyr is a staff writer for the Houlton Pioneer Times. He can be reached at pioneertimes@nepublish .com or 532-2281.