In the spring of 2002 I sold enough long distance service to choose from the various prizes they had for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ECT... I asked Jennifer which prize I should ask for and she said the 18 ft above ground pool with all accessories including an inflatable shark, beach ball and assorted beach towels. She said we could set it up in her back yard as she owned her own property while I was renting.
I was working one day when Sonya, the head of the communications group in the St Joseph area sat down beside and listened in on the call. She said she thought it was very good. I asked her about the prizes and when they would be given out. I told her I knew I had sold more long distance service than anyone at that time and I wanted the pool. She said she would consult with my supervisor, she told them to release the pool to me and that I could take it home that day. On my lunch break I called Jennifer and she had her husband, Eric, and his father, Dan, come by in the van and try to load it that day after work. The pools, the ladder, liner, were packed in a large box but the shark, beach ball and towels were loose and the shark was huge and inflated! We had a time trying to deflate it. It refused to go down easy. After awhile it bent enough to fit it in the back with the kids.
We dropped off the towels and shark at my house then took the big box over to Jennifer’s. We opened the box and took out the instructions. There were so many instructions and parts, rims, walls and the liner. Dan and Eric couldn’t rap their minds around the work that was involved. First they needed to dig out a level area; Jenny had told them where she wanted it, in the big back yard below the fenced small yard. This was the most level ground; they got the measuring tape and the shovels, the rake, and a level for exact precision. This took several weekends, and then came the sand and the leveling process began again.
By the first of July, 2 months after I had notified them the pool was up and ready to fill.
The pump and filter was made in one piece and fit on the side of the pool. It was virtually worthless and the algae began to grow. It was impossible to keep clean. I bought different types of algaecide, large 3 inch tablets of chorine and a vacuum. This was starting to run into large amounts of money which I wasn’t used to spending. Jenny and Eric helped out with the cost and I decided to call some pool places to see if I could get a used sand filter as we had had on the farm with the 24ft above ground. I called a place on St Joe Ave and a man said he had a used Jacuzzi sand filter that would be able to handle all the water and that I would need a pump he had just rebuilt. The sand filter was 120.00 and he would sell me the pump for 90.00. This was a great savings as we had priced new ones which cost more than a new pool. He came over and installed the set for free and I asked about a skimmer which he said he could order a new one for 35.00. He didn’t charge me anything for the installation. By the middle of August the water was sparkling clean. On September 1st Eric decided it was time to shut it down even though the weather was still in the nineties. We didn’t want to wait until it got cold to do it of course but it looked so good and I had waited all summer to see the clean clear water it was heartbreaking. I came over after work every day to check the pH and chlorine levels, back wash the filter and mostly stare at the water surging out across and around the pool. Finally I relented and switched the filter to Winterize and watched the water flow out of an old fire hose and down across the yard into a drainage ditch. I had bought a cover, between the three of us and the kids we were able to tie it down for the upcoming seasons.
By spring of 2003 I reluctantly began to unfold the cover and had to gasp at the ugly black water beneath. Limbs and leaves covered the top and had torn open a hole in the cover allowing the leaves and debris from the fall and winter to clutter throughout the pool. I started sweeping the water with a pool net which had an extension pole attached, stirring and filtering and back washing. I added shock treatment, tested the chlorine level and made the necessary adjustments. We filled the pool to the brim once the dark water started to fade to a pea green hue, started the filter and prayed a lot! By mid June it was ready.
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