M. Giant's
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Tuesday, June 02, 2009  

The Dead Pool

I could tell you about my weekend in Wisconsin, but Chao already has. Check it out. There might even be a bonus photo of me, pretending to look like somebody who's fallen asleep in the car.

* * *

M. Edium has owned kind of a ridiculous number of pools for someone his age. And I'm only counting the inflatable backyard variety, and I'm also only counting the ones we used as pools (the one that served as his sandbox doesn't count). I guess the number is three. His first was round, with a fountain in the middle that we never got to work, because you had to insert a rubber hose through this long, narrow channel after the pool was inflated. Which was a lot like trying to shoot pool with a rope, to quote George Burns when he was talking about something else that this was like. At least we still have the hose.

By last spring, that pool was in terrible shape, all leaky and moldy in addition to not having a working fountain. So we threw it out and got him a new one, a three-ring circular model about six feet in diameter. Which he loved, even when that giant branch fell on the power line in the back yard and we had to drag the pool up to the front to avoid the risk of flash-frying him. For some reason, between that and my futile attempts to save the grass by moving the pool around all the time, it around it didn't hold up, and before we adopted our current philosophy of trying to stretch out the utility of items further, we pitched it out.

So a couple of weeks ago I went and picked up a new one. This is his biggest one yet, simply because it was cheap and available at Walgreens. Like the last one, it has three inflatable rings that make up the sides, but unlike the last one, it's oblong and about ten feet by four. Which means I'll be able to kill the grass in even larger sections than last year.

It wasn't until I had it inflated and the garden hose running into it that I noticed it had another difference between it and he previous pool: no plug in the bottom. Which means any time I wanted to empty this pool, I would have to do it over the side.

So let's do some quick math here. Ten feet by four feet is forty square feet. The pool can be filled to a depth of two feet. That means a total water volume of eighty square feet. Convert that to weight, and that means that if I want to dump out that pool, it means lifting eleventy-several million pounds of liquid.

And not dumping it out isn't an option, I'm afraid. Our arboreal backyard is shady enough, but it's also the time of year when all those trees are dropping all manner of shit into the yard, like sticks, leaves, seed pods, sap, bird shit, and squirrels. Plus you need to factor in a four-year-old jumping in and out of it, after running around our grass-challenged (read: muddy) back yard, without ever wiping his feet. So the pool water gets kind of gross.

Yesterday, less than a week after the first filling, Trash called me from errands and asked if the pool had water in it.

"Yes," I said. Dirty, slushy water.

"Can you dump it out and put in new water?" she asked as though this was a perfectly reasonable request that would not require either several hours or a sky crane.

"Uh, sure," I said.

Fortunately, I had spent an embarrassingly large segment of the morning already working on emptying the pool. One bucket at a time. Our front yard is getting distressingly yellow for this early in the season, so I thought I might as well kill two birds with one stone and use the water from the pool in the back to irrigate the dying vegetation in the front. It's a perfect solution, of only someone can tell me how I can do it without looking to passersby as though I'm slowly putting out an invisible fire in an imaginary structure.

Fortunately, Trash came up with an idea to stretch out the life of the water n the pool: drape a tarp over it. This actually works pretty well, except that one tarp isn't quite big enough to entirely cover it. It keeps partially blowing off, or sagging in the middle and getting wet, so the extra weight pulls it off the sides from inside.

In the next couple of days, I'm going to rig something up with ropes and tent pegs. Yes, it's dorky, but it's no dorkier than watering the front grass one or two buckets at a time, for six hours.

posted by M. Giant 8:39 PM 4 comments

4 Comments:

You need to use an old length of hose to create a siphon - it's how our dad used to empty our above-ground pool every summer. Just make sure you do it before you get to the green water/tadpoles/mosquito larvae stage, or you'll end up swallowing a bunch of the local wildlife (or was it only my family who neglected cleaning the pool that much...).

By Blogger ht, at June 2, 2009 at 10:52 PM  

First of all, M.Edium is awesome -- of COURSE he needs a plastic axe in the pool! And letters...and a space shuttle...

Second, is that the clothesline and the garden in the background? That's actually a pretty good place for the garden. If your yard is anything like mine, the heat the concrete sucks in will keep the soil warm, maybe jumpstart and extend your growing season. My front beds by the driveway bloom early and stay late -- last year, I had roses and snapdragons into November and December.

Seconding HTs siphon idea. Maybe you could rig up a soaker hose to water the garden at the same time? You could use the pool as kind of a massive rain barrel, maybe.

By Anonymous KKB (the commenter w/ the garden fetish), at June 3, 2009 at 6:02 AM  

If you don't care where the water flows to in the yard, do what I do - push down on the sides to let some of the water out until it's light enough to dump out. They're inflatable - they should give.

By Anonymous Patty D., at June 3, 2009 at 11:27 AM  

We used a tarp and tent pegs last year for this very same idea! But I agree with the other commenter... just squish down the sides! or... a lot of the big pools come with a drain in them so that you can pull the plug and let the water out the bottom.

May I suggest a slip'n'slide instead?

By Blogger My name is Andy., at June 5, 2009 at 4:15 PM  

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