Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frustration Fuels Determination! (What's your gopher?)

This is a funny clip! :)

I have been relating to the original Caddyshack movie, specifically Bill Murray's obsession with killing the ever elusive, destructive gopher. That was such a funny movie!

Anyway, I came across this Tiger Woods commercial and liked it better than what I could find of the original Caddyshack.

Why do I relate to this movie right now?

Because... after owning and maintaining a pool with mostly pristine water... for 12 years... this 13th pool season is frustrating me greatly.

One summer a friend came over and admired... * ADMIRED * I tell you ... the crystal clear water and told me it was an art form to maintain total clarity in the water.

I was beaming. :)

And... I used to go to the pool stores, test the water and buy everything they said. But over time..I discovered that I didn't need to run in with water but just eyeball it and maybe use a tester every so often. I have always tried to get by with as few chemicals as possible. A little algaecide once a week and chlorine tabs and only shocked during real hot weather. Ph conditioning..once in a blue moon.... and the ever so occasional clarifier.

I have never had the good fortune of opening it with pristine water... but it's usually not bad... a little cloudy and a bit of shock clears it right up.

Well last summer it opened like a swamp and there were tree frogs living in the bottom... but that was because the cover broke over the winter and let everything in and then with hot days before we can open the pool... it was an olive green swamp. UGH!

BUT...even with that... I had the pool clean and looking good.

Not this year.

And this year... the pool opened with the water looking pretty good. I asked son to bring the water to the pool store for testing. I told him we only needed stabilizer and algaecide...oh and one shock... because I prefer the liquid shock Pelican sells.

I did add one bag of Walmart powdered shock a couple of days prior.

Just as I thought... water was basically good. It needed stabilizer, shock, and something for the ph. The only thing different is that the girl wrote we should have 3 lbs of stabilizer vs the usual 2 lbs I remembered putting in. I hesitated and then figured I'd do it her way.

The water got cloudier! I could barely see the bottom. The chlorine level was very high and not coming down and we couldn't swim in it. Maybe partly... because NJ isn't getting much sun and so it wasn't evaporating. We couldn't put chlorine in it...ever because it was staying high. This never happened before. I also wondered if putting two different brands of shock in close together did something.?

So.. after a week of still very high chlorine levels with no additional chlorine being added... I made the trek down to Pelican with our pool water on ice so the results wouldn't be compromised. The guy told me the water was good but the chlorine was high. He didn't know why it was cloudy.


*** Warning -Water conservationists look away from this point on!

So the next day... I drained the pool water down to the bottom of the skimmer. Suffice it to know...that is a whole lotta water! My reasoning was that if I exchanged fresh water for pool water that it would clear up and the chlorine would drop down.

That was back in mid June.

After refilling the pool, the chlorine dropped down to high normal... but... the water was still cloudy. Not as cloudy... but cloudy... and definitely not pristine.


It didn't appear to need it, but I added the usual weekly does of algaecide to the water.

* The chlorine level was so high... I never bothered to add the algaecide because it seemed no respectable bit of algae would want to reside in such an obviously chlorinated pool. But that day I went through the motions thinking..what if..this just does something good? A girl can dream! :)

I was hopeful.

No change the next day.

I inspect the water every day... *sigh*... get frustrated because it just won't clear.

So... A few days after adding the algaecide... I figured that perhaps a water clarifier would do the trick. So I back washed the water and added clarifier ... leaving the filter on for 24 hours straight. It helped minimally. I rarely swear... but if I did...it would be *%($! I'm just sayin...


Not to be daunted.. a couple of days after that... I drained the pool water down to bottom of skimmer... AGAIN! Filled it back up with fresh water... better.. but still CLOUDY!!!

What the heck?!!! Does not make sense!!! ???

I wondered if maybe too much stabilizer and so is why the chlorine levels take sooooo long to go down that I didn't need chlorine. ?? Is the sand too old and the stabilizer is somehow trapped and affecting water quality. Are the sand bags leaking that hold the drop down stairs in place? No..no sand anywhere, is the well water cloudy (no), is the filter hooked up right?

Now I will say... once the pool filter is hooked up... unless a hose breaks... Mr SeaSpray does not feel any obligation toward the pool. He gets it going and I maintain. Well..he takes the heavy ladder down for me and he lifts the big heavy containers of shock and empties it around the pool for me... but other than that... he disengages from said pool maintenance and does not want to hear anything about the filter until Labor day.

LOL! Then he wants to close the pool and I want to keep it open for that one hot day that I know will hit after he closes it. Then I am in the pool in frigid water vacuuming it for the last time of the season because we waited too long to close it and leaves are dropping in and with cold night temperatures... water temp is just shy of formed ice... well... it feels like it anyway. :)

I called Pelican pools and relayed the whole story. They asked me about ph and all that stuff. All good. He was nice, but didn't help at all.

So..one day as I was just staring into the water... I decided to vacuum the pool on waste and took the water level down AGAIN and refill (still cloudy.. but better) ... only this time I added this fluffy stuff mixed with water into the skimmer. Filter aid. I figured if anything wrong with filter... maybe that would help. I left the filter running another 24 hours.

It helped minimally.


So..I went to Mr SeaSpray and suggested..maybe it is the filter... but he suggested it was fine and let it go for the summer. *sigh*


I told my friends the water was safe to swim in even tho cloudy because no respectable bacteria would hang around as the chlorine levels were good. I said their bathing suits might get eaten by the chlorine a bit but they'd be fine. I'm kidding! The chlorine levels were normal... but that is weird since I wasn't using chlorine tabs like I have always had to do in past.

So.. I was leaning toward a stabilizer problem.

I did have to use ph increaser or decreaser through this.. minimally tho.

I drained the pool down to bottom of skimmer... AGAIN!

Refilled it and it looked somewhat clearer... but still cloudy. This time I let it sit for hours because I wanted to see if it looked clearer without the filter running and it seemed to ...but not great.

Ran the filter the next day and chlorine level was nonexistent and so I added one of the big chlorine tabs to the skimmer to put some chlorine back in. The water got cloudier through the day and so by night time I decided... okay... maybe now it needs some shock. So Mr SeaSpray added a half of container of liquid shock to the pool. We ran the filter awhile and then shut it off.

I was optimistic in the morning. I actually expected to see the ashy stuff to be vacuumed on the bottom and pristine water. It was an ERRONEOUS LINE OF THINKING!

The water was CLOUDY!

Not only that... but on the test kit...a high chlorine level would be bright yellow. This chlorine level tested as dark amber..bordering on brown for a high chlorine level!!!!

I was fit to be tied at that point..internally anyway. 12 previous pool seasons of shocking pool water...and I have N-E-V-E-R seen it test as BORDERLINE BROWN! That ruled out swimming for a few days at least and I wouldn't even discharge that onto the ground!

I wondered... "Where is the SUN anyway??? ", because it helps dissipate the chlorine.

So i left it alone... but checked it every day. I went on line to research a little and it said if there is too much stabilizer to drain a little every week and add fresh water. Well I did that by hundreds if not a couple thousand or more gallons!

So..when the chlorine went back onto the test levels... I drained it again, still cloudy and I tried to resign myself to this is how it will be for the summer. Who cares if it's cloudy? You know it's clean.

But as fate would have it... a couple of days ago... a filter hose broke. Ha! my golden opportunity!

I asked Mr SeaSpray if he would please take the filter apart and could we please put new sand in it and start over. Resistance again. Mr SeaSpray felt that we could just let it go for the summer since it's half over anyway.


But then before son went to pick up the hose... I called that pool store, explained and they checked in the computer and said it was the right amount of stabilizer. I secretly disagreed... but let it go. Then I asked son to pick up filter sand too.

Then when Mr SeaSpray came home, I informed him that we have filter sand and asked, "Could you PLEEEEASE replace the filter sand? I just HAVE to KNOW if it is the filter.... pleeeeeeease!"

So Mr SeaSpray will be taking the filter apart, replacing the sand and setting it up again... this afternoon. I wondered how could he go through the summer not knowing the cause of the cloudy water. ??

For the first time... this pool season... I also notice the water pressure flowing into the pool is so strong... that it repeatedly causes this little sucking sound, which seems to happen because the water takes on a little cyclone action near the water return.

So... tomorrow morning... I REEEEALLY hope I will see clearer water in the pool. The water will be have been refilled AGAIN and have NEW filter sand!

So this is why I can relate to Bill Murray obsessing over the gopher in Caddyshack.

The cloudy pool water this season is my ever elusive gopher!!

What's your gopher?

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