How Do You Shock a Pool?


My above ground pool is so big that if it burst, it would wipe out my neighbor’s gardens the length of our street, maybe on both sides. It covers almost my entire backyard and for five days, the pool drew water from my garden hose, requiring 15,000 gallons of water to reach the fill line and to engage the filter, which some
idiot designed to sit just at the fill line. Probably designed by some stoner
who giggles every time he remembers the blueprint.
It is steel reinforced and my honey installed it all by himself, because the
video showed a small woman installing her pool in thirty minutes. Well, after
he had popped his hip out and sat down to read the manual, the instructions told
him to find at least three people to help complete the installation. So much for
the video. Now he was mad and he wasn’t calling anybody.
I almost wandered out to help him several times. Almost. I watched anxiously from
the patio, but because my hips are already damaged beyond happy and I have had
my fill of surgeries, I resisted the urge.
I had a feeling that two mature workers kicking the pool’s steel bars into
place wouldn’t help anything. I thought we needed three young bulls plus one
mature manager.
I also didn’t think two injured people in one house would be healthy for our
karma. I was right.
Now flash to pool installed, filled, sun-stroked man who just retired without
health insurance (popped his own hip back in place) recovering on couch.
Gigantic pool is all clean and sparkly and water is the perfect temperature. Iced
coffee is flowing, colorful floats are bought and sunshine is unlimited. Ahhhh.
Light the grill, here comes summertime!
Man hobbles out to tests chemical levels daily and keeps pool all clean and sparkly.
I can swim anytime I want and I get daily exercise for my arthritis.
Grandson visits and mistakenly thinks we’re rich because our pool is so big and
we live near Disney and the ocean. Promises not to pee in pool. (He ran through
the house while soaking wet to get to the bathroom, so I know he kept his
promise. Yay!)
Man says, “Pool chemicals are expensive, but it’s worth it to me because you can
exercise at home, and I love it when you are happy.”
I smile gratefully. “Thank you honey.”
Now flash to the rainy, thunder storming, unbearably hot and humid hurricane
Leaves and twigs fly over the entire yard but decide to rest when they see the
pool water. Pool overfills at least once a week. Water starts to cloud.
New $12.00 filters every day because of the thousands of bugs who thought they’d
like to take a swim. (That was their last thought.) More chemicals. Water cloudiness
increases. Water turns green. I wish the pool would turn pink when it goes bad
because I really don’t like climbing into green.
Thunder rolls, now no swimming.
“It can’t rain every day,” I keep telling my man. (Our favorite movie line from
The Crow)
We smile bravely and he buys more chemicals.
I start to wash and bleach the filters twice a day when he’s not looking so we
can save money.
He is buying his chemicals in fifty-gallon buckets now. The pool has been green
for a month. When the little stick says it’s safe, and it’s not thundering and
lightening out there, I bravely climb the weak, narrow six-foot ladder and tiptoe
down into the murky water.
“How is it?” he asks.
“Nice. Really nice.”
Making sure I never get any water near my mouth or in my hair, I do my
exercises carefully. Get out and RUN to the shower.
So, we dumped six bags of shock into the pool last week. It didn’t even
surprise the pool let alone shock it. (My skin was shocked into blistering, but
maybe I shock too easy.)
We take our water to the pool store to be tested again and we are told that our
water is safe.
Green turns to gray. Another trip to the pool guy.
Pool guy says, “Dead algae. Sweep the pool floor and the walls every day, vacuum
it and keep shocking.”
I hate to say it but I no longer trust the man at the pool store, especially
after his wife drove up in a brand-new BMW. I think he gave us the right chemicals
just long enough to gain our trust and now? Now he is paying for his wife’s BMW
with our money.
We snuck to Wal-Mart for chemicals last weekend, but ended up with soap bubbles
in the gray water and the pool man said it was our fault. I’m sure it was.
The live green algae were actually more inviting, maybe even Probiotic like my
yogurt, but I am learning to get into the gray pool and exercise with my eyes
shut. I wear my oldest bathing suits so I can bleach them after I swim.
I solved the “shock” problem fast the year a squirrel had sat at the bottom of
my pool all winter and my husband told me he could get the water clean again.
It was a good lesson for me too. I sliced the side of the pool and the force of the freed water
carried me right smack into my fence. Bought a new pool, filled it with new water. Okay!
The weight of the water in this pool would drown me if I sliced through its
wall. Good thing for my neighbor’s gardens that I learned that fact.
I even tried running around it naked, howling under a full moon but that didn’t
help at all and now the neighbors aren’t even saying hello anymore…
Well then, how do you shock a pool back to behaving so it’s shimmering with sparkly,
clean water?
I don’t know.
I was hoping you could TELL ME!

13 thoughts on “How Do You Shock a Pool?”

    1. Actually that’s how I get through life, by poking fun at it. Needless to say, I’m assigned a family monitor at funerals. Although often a willing source of my essay material, this was the first time my honey had to catch his breath before he laughed. Yes, nature has poo-poo-ed on my pool and his awesome struggle to keep it clean continues. A straight month of heat and rain has kicked the pool’s butt. On the other hand, my garden has turned into a tropical delight. I’m thinking of installing my next above ground pool in my heated and air conditioned garage.


  1. Glad you liked “in the pink.” Thank you. Sorry your husband doesn’t think what you wrote about your pool was funny. I thought it was. Usually, if you tell four people the same joke, one will take it seriously and/or mistakenly and get mad, one will stare at you without getting it at all, one will fall over laughing, and one will fall asleep. Response to humor is mysterious and unpredictable. Best to you.


  2. Thanks for liking “counseling cases.” Re your pool: Never build, install, provide, engineer etc. anything that tempts the “law of unintended consequences.” Best..and luck to you.


  3. You close your eyes and imagine you are in the carribean sea ! Other than that,try using some type of plastic cover over the night,so that no bugs and bees drown into the water and dirt stays out.


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