The finest swamp in town

Our pool is still a murky chasm of waste water.

Oh, I know it’s only been a couple of days. It could take up to a week, everything we read told us. Maybe two! I was prepared to be patient about it, except that I’d forgotten something sort of important.

I’m not a patient person. (Surprise!)

And it didn’t help that a family member who also has a pool sent out some pictures to demonstrate that their newly-opened pool was just as frightening as ours, but then they dumped in a gazillion gallons of liquid shock and just 24 hours later the water was fresh and clean and beautifully blue. Hmph. We prefer the old fashioned method of adding only enough chemicals to cause acute neurological damage each day, rather than emptying our bank accounts and all in one day making the water pretty but capable of instantly killing any renegade hippos who might wander by for a swim.

(Note: We have never had a hippo either wander by or come swim in our pool. I use the example of a hippo for scale. If the water were capable of executing a hippo, basically I figure the children could step out on the porch and the fumes from the pool below would fell them immediately, and that would totally mess up their chances of winning Perfect Attendance this quarter.)

(Also note: The family-pool-shockers have no children, so although what they did may be perfectly safe, I choose to mock their choice as being potentially risky for MAH PRESHUS BAYBEES because it makes me feel ever-so-slightly more justified in still having a swampy pool. Obviously.)

Owning a pool is a lot like enduring harsh winters, I’ve discovered. During all of the time I lived in the north, every single winter I would reach a point where I would’ve happily chewed off my own arm to escape, to go ANYWHERE that didn’t involve feeling my nose hairs freeze in the time it took to walk from the door to the car. To say that I am not a fan of winter would be an extreme understatement. Yet, during the spring, summer and fall, if I happened to encounter someone from a different locale who said, “Oh, the winters are AWFUL where you live, right?” I’d be all “Eh, they’re not so bad.”

It’s selective amnesia. I had Winter Amnesia for years, and this week I realize I’ve developed Pool Amnesia.

“Oh, it must be SO GREAT to have your own pool!” people say to me.

“It TOTALLY IS!” I answer, because I AM A BIG FAT MORON.

Look, there are many things to recommend having your own pool, it’s true. It’s right there, whenever you want it. You don’t have to wear a bathing suit in public. It’s not crowded, unless you’re not able to hide from the neighborhood kids quickly enough. There’s better-than-average odds of the pool being urine-free. “Going swimming” doesn’t mean hauling everyone out to the car and when you’re done there are no wet butt-prints on your car seats. If someone acts up you can send them to their room and KEEP SWIMMING. I mean, that’s great stuff, right?

Unfortunately, I totally repressed the other stuff. The pool maintenance. The cost of chemicals. The added electricity. The worried babysitting of the pool pump, particularly now at the beginning of the season. (Seriously, I spend more time with the pool pump than I ever did with my infants. “Oh, pool pump, your pressure is up! Let me readjust your settings! Pool pump, you don’t seem to be running the jets properly. Are you okay? Let me check the water levels! Let me empty the skimmer basket! Pool pump, WHY DO YOU HATE ME??”)

I spent half of yesterday doing actual work and half of it down by the pool, vacuuming leaves from the murky depths, scrubbing the walls right at the water level where an impressive layer of scum had accumulated, whispering sweet nothings to the pool pump, and wondering why in the world I wanted to have a pool in the first place.

This morning, instead of, I don’t know, SHOWERING or finishing my prep to go volunteer at school or NOT THINKING ABOUT BEING ON THE TODAY SHOW AT 10, I went outside to watch Otto attempt some pool TLC, and he angered the pool pump.

Not on purpose, you understand. But he did. It stopped circulating the water, and he assured me that it would restart momentarily. We stood there and waited. And waited. And I started saying extremely bitchy things like “WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” and “YOU BROKE IT!” and then I tried to do something to fix it and he snapped “THAT IS NOT GOING TO HELP!” and I stomped back into the house saying something loving and helpful like “WELL DON’T COME CRYING TO ME WHEN YOU BREAK THE PUMP!”

They say couple argue about money and children, but that’s only couples WHO DON’T OWN POOLS. Just sayin’.

Otto and I are fine and the pool will (someday?) be fine, but I may just need to make peace with the water being green and fuzzy. That’s not so bad, right? I mean, I like green. It’s a lovely color.


  1. Linda

    So anyone fess up to the wall mystery? Guessing not since your pool is still marsh. :).

  2. Gidget

    Ok, I don’t get it! I’ve had a pool for 15 years, why wouldn’t you just shock the heck out of it, check the levels for a few days, and let the kids in once it is rebalanced?

  3. Leandra

    And THAT my friends, is why I’ll never own a pool again. I spent so much time vacuuming the d-a-m-n thing that the enjoying of it was never worth it.

  4. Heidi

    Hey, one of the Google ads is for “No More Cloudy Pool Water.” What does Google know that you don’t?

  5. Astrogirl426

    Ohhhhhh a pool…even though we live in the Northeast, where there are approximately 2.5 days every summer that are actually warm enough to use a pool (c’mon Global Warming, where are you when we need you?), I totally have Pool Envy. Because let me tell you, those 2.5 days are MISERY if you have no pool.

    Fortunately for us, the Aunt has a pool, which is open to us whenever we want (and is in walking distance from the Bunker, yay!), so we get to enjoy a pool without doing any of the actual work (muhahahahaha!).

    Good luck with the fuzzy green water. Hey, my favorite color is green!

  6. steve

    Two words: coy pond.

    Or, since you’ve mastered the Fire Extinguisher, have Otto spread a layer of Kerosene on the top and set ‘er ablaze and burn off all the algae.

    Sorry I’m stuck at my orifice and won’t be able to see you on Today…

  7. TNMom

    Tore ours apart (literally) and are planning much more exciting activities for the summer. I HATED dealing with the chemicals and… in my case, the HUGE amounts of frogs that our pool seemed to spawn.

  8. Dani

    Reason #348 why we don’t have a pool.

    If you keep posting about the pool, I’ll be up to reason #400 by the end of the summer.

  9. Melisa

    We never close our pool, but that also means it has to be maintained all winter when we can’t even use it.

  10. ks grandma

    Dump in a bunch of cheap bleach. Really – I’m with the first commenter. You’re not getting in right now, so what is your concern about the shock levels? That’s why they call it shock and print on the packages “Don’t swim until. .” You don’t get in until the water is clear and well within appropriate levels. And then you’ll fall in love with it all over again.

  11. Kimmie

    Guess I’ll just keep loading kids into the car……

  12. Leanne

    You’re not a real hillbilly until you swim in a swamp. I say let’er get as green and murky as possible, and throw in a batch of leeches.

    Yeah. That’s it.

  13. Niki

    Oh goody – 9:56 and I haven’t missed it. Knew I was home today for a reason!

  14. Janssen

    Writing this post was much better than worrying about the Today show.

  15. All Adither

    I’ve never had the desire to own a pool for this very reason. As if my husband and I need more stuff to bicker about.

  16. Sharon

    If you are able to afford to switch your pool to a salt water pool… if will pay for itself. We put our pool in last April…. and didn’t add not 1 single thing to it until this April. We had to add salt this year. Which is cheap. The pool stayed pretty blue all winter long and the salt water doesn’t hurt your eyes or bathing suit. I was skeptical, but it has really turned out to be true that they are hassle free.

  17. themuttprincess

    I guess you will have to think about turning it into a koi pond.

  18. dcfullest

    You looked awesome! And sounded smart!

  19. Aimee

    O, pool pump (and I accidentally typed poop pump, which might be more apropos), why are you tormenting Mir and Otto? Take the high road, pool pump. For the greater good!

    BTW, I just have to say that the “coy pond” references in the comments are just killing me. I don’t know that it’s possible for a body of water to be coy. Is the pond hiding behind some trees? Draping itself tastefully to avoid overexposure? A koi pond, however, is a beautiful thing. :)

  20. Christina

    Nice interview and you looked great!

  21. Marie

    Mir Wonderful outfit and loved the interview !!

  22. Karen

    You looked and sounded great. Kathie Lee was a bit nasty to Heather. I think you were lucky you were taped ahead of time. :)

    In NJ we don’t open our pools yet. I can’t wait for what I will find.

  23. Tammy

    Yes I agree…I have been a pool owner for the last decade and within a couple of days you should have clear water. After the water is clear then you need to take a sample to the pool store. They run your water thru a machine and they tell you what you need to balance it. So the kiddos swim safely. I’m just sayin’ :)

  24. Katie

    Our new house in Indiana has a community pool within walking distance. Course I still have to deal with the “public” but it’ll only be our neighbors and a few of them actually have their own pools in their yards already. I can’t wait to move! Good luck with your swamp! You should start tossing around Shrek quotes, it’ll make you feel better.

  25. Patricia

    I grew up in Florida with a pool — year round maintenance — fun stuff. However, the problem I found is that acceptable entry temperature gets higher and higher each year that even in Florida, there were two days in August it was worth it after awhile.

    Frankly, I’m opposed to pool ownership (and I grew up with a pool service) — I will never use one enough to get a return on the investment on my time and chemistry skills. A hot tub, however — a hot tub would totally be worth it.

    (Yes, I’m sour grapes — sorry. However, I’m not entirely sure why you don’t shock the pool? Can you explain? It seems like it would be the fastest way to open the pool for the season and frankly, even with the never closed pool — we shocked once a year I think.)

  26. Jamie AZ

    Living in Arizona, I have to have my own pool here. We had one at our last house in Texas, too. I guess because they both have hot tubs, we’ve never closed one down for the winter. Sure, it uses more electricity, etc., but I wonder if it would be better than the green, fuzzy muck that you found? Hopefully the time and TLC you’re giving your pool now will clear up the water pretty quickly.

  27. dad

    You must know how much I love you. I stayed home from work to watch your interview.
    My analysis: You didn’t look scared. You’re pretty. You’re smart. You didn’t say anything that will traumatize the kids in later life. And oh yeah, you’re nice. Good job.

  28. jennielynn

    We want a picture of the pool and if you could put a tiny plastic hippo in the shot ala Where’s Waldo, that would be fantastic.

  29. Beachgal

    We uncovered our pool to find lizard carcasses in the bottom along with all the polleny muck along the upper rim. Only at first, we didn’t know they were lizards. I thought they were mice and the bigger one a rat. Was quite relieved to only have dead lizards in the pool. And most of the maintenance is my husband’s department, I just get to gripe about the cost of the chemicals and filters.

  30. Heidi

    Ah, if Kathie Lee is involved, for those of us on Mountain time, I suspect it won’t come on until the 11:00 segment of the show…

  31. Cele

    Oh I only have a hot tub, but now I’m worried.

  32. Sharkey

    What your dad said. And also? Your multi-colored necklace (can’t remember what it’s called right now) looked beautiful.

  33. elizabeth

    doncha love the internet? I just caught your interview here at work on my lunch hour – they’ve posted it over at the Today site. you were fabulous. have to agree with someone above – Kathie Lee did get a bit testy with Heather there at the end. she has always scared me a little anyway (Kathie not Heather) yikes.

    I have absolutely no advice on pools, sorry. but do like most shades of green! good luck with that.

  34. Shalet

    I saw your interview on the Today Show – you did great! And yes, Katie Lee did get testy, but come on, she’s Kathie Lee. I’m more scared of her than of the internet, truly. Way to go!

  35. The Mom Bomb

    Now you’ve got me wishing someone would just invent a human version of “liquid shock” and dump it on me. And then suddenly I’d go from unshowered-with-bad-hair to fresh-as-a-daisy-with-perfect-highlights.

  36. MomCat

    Two suggestions:

    • Lanai

    • Salt water chlorine generator

    Yes, they both involve money, but I have NEVER (and I mean never) cleaned my pool in five years. We buy a bag of salt and dump it in every month. The lanai keeps leaves, bugs, neighbor kids and other icky stuff out of the pool.

  37. BarryH

    Great interview, but had to suffer through Yoda and KLee to get to the good stuff (you).

    I just swim in other people’s pools.

  38. Christine

    West coast time and just watched the segment. You guys did great and looked beautiful. Kathy Lee didn’t get the whole concept but we all know mommy blogger ROCK!

  39. Sue

    I can’t help with the pool, but AWESOME interview! You looked great, and my goodness those glasses are fabulous!! They look like HIGH END designer ones! ;-) And it was hard work suffering through Kathie Lee who is worried about Dooce’s kid, forgetting, I guess that the whole world lived through EVERY.SECOND of Cody and Cassidy’s early days. But whatever. You all totally rocked!

  40. Megan

    Have only once lived in a house with a pool, and that was rented and the landlady paid for maintenance. BUT the house ran on propane and this was Northern California so to heat the pool would cost something around $900 a month. So… my poor Children? They would swim in the pool in their wet suits. This doesn’t help your situation much, but you can always tell your kids that at least they don’t have to don wet suits to get in the pool!

  41. The Bargain Shopper Lady

    Too funny! We are moving and made sure the new house did NOT have a pool! Now we will be near a lake instead and we are excited about not having to have it cleaned!!! You did great on the Today show!

  42. meera

    Just de-lurking to say that you looked great and did really well in the interview. In some strange way since I dont know you at all except for reading your blog, I wasnt that surprised to hear that you were a software engg in your past life. Wow! Gives hopes to nerds like me. Your writing is terrific. Thank you!

  43. jennielynn

    I finally got to see the segment and you did look wonderful. More importantly, you were well-spoken and articulate. But what was with Hoda and Kathie Lee putting Heather Armstrong on the defensive about blogging? The whole segment had a vaguely disapproving feel, which surprised me a little and angered me a lot. Of course, that could also be to the most enormous case of PMS I am dealing with right now. I even got an angry, rant, erm, post out of it.

  44. mammafor2

    I say switch to a salt water pool!! No problems here and really nothing to be done. Or, shock the crap out of yours! You aren’t needing to use it right now and by the time you do, all will be well! Otto, play nicey with the pool pump!!

  45. Beth

    Kathy Lee..sucked.
    Mir and the other Mommy bloggers we all love…rocked.
    Great job! I loved the color blue you wore that day! All your worrying was for naught!

  46. catnip

    My sister hated taking care of her pool. She filled it in and now has a fantastic flower garden.

    You all rocked the Today show! And Kathie Lee is a moron.

  47. Shamelessly Sassy

    Delurking to say fabulous interview. You looked lovely!

  48. Daisy

    I’m still waiting for the Pool Pump to ask you for a ride to the mall. It’s doing all the other teenage-style behaviors!

  49. SoMo

    You forgot the other upside to having a pool, when it is murky and green alligators will come to live and that means free alarm system for the house. And disposable of the bodies.

  50. Lady M

    We have a non-functional hot tub in the house that I have not lifted the cover to view since we bought and moved into this house. I’m hoping that it doesn’t house the Loch Ness Monster by the time I get a chance to do it.

    You looked and sounded mighty good on TV today!

  51. Jodi

    That my friend is why you need a pool boy. :D

  52. The Other Leanne

    Now I remember when and why I stopped watching morning TV. It was because of that stupidly irritating Kathie Lee.
    Heather was very gracious with the empty-headed one (“ooh, I’m all a-scared of the Internets! You could maybe get something catchy from it!”).
    You, Mir, were pretty and shiny and smart and articulate. Congratulations on your national network TV debut.

  53. Ani

    Wah…someone please tell me it got You-Tubed. Ironically, I was driving my mother to Atlanta airport when it was on.

  54. mike golcj

    Mir,how big is this pool? If it is a big one and it is nos used in the winder why not drain it.

  55. Ani

    Hey they had the segment up on the Today show site. You did a great job!

  56. Ani

    But holy-moly that Kathie Lee needs a brain transplant…pronto!

  57. Ms. Single Mama


    I LOVE your blog. Just found you through that Today Show interview.

    You’re a FORMER SINGLE MOM??? I love your description of Otto on your About page and I’m so happy you found someone and proud of your success.

    But yes, Kathie Lee is a MORON. Seriously. That was embarassing.

    If you ever want to remember what it was like to be a single mom you can pop over to my blog.


    Ms. Single Mama (Alaina)

  58. Sarah

    Shock the pool! It is totally worth it for the dissolution of stress . . . seriously.

    As for the Today Show, you were fantastic! Great answers!

    Kathie Lee, on the other hand, was like one of those SNL parodies of talk show hosts . . . hard to watch, knowing she was for real.

  59. Kritter Krit

    You don’t know nuttin’ about Pool Fun until you’ve come up nose-to-nose with a water moccasin in your parents’ pool (out in the boonies). Walk on water – oh, yes, indeedy. I did.

    Here, here to what Jodi said. A pool boy is the answer. =)

  60. Crisanne

    What your dad said. Except I didn’t stay home from work. I had to wait until all the kids were in bed so I could watch and hear at the same time!

    Growing up we “closed” the pool a few times, but there was always some sort of drama involved when it came time to open it back up. Then my parents got a pool service and found that they still spent less $ with the service going year round than they did with all the shocking and such.

  61. Zee

    I think you need to hire a pool boy – nice to look at and no pool to maintain! You can afford that, right?? ;-)

  62. daring one

    You are a hotty Mir. You did great on the Today Show, as I knew you would. And how about that sound bite, eh? Did we call it or did we call it?

  63. imaginary binky

    People in Denver don’t believe in pools. Something about “weather” and “cold” and “lowers property values.” Pfft. It would be nice to swim every once in awhile.

    Good job on the show. I hope you didn’t have to cross paths with that tool, Kathie Lee. Yeesh.

  64. Shannon

    Re: the babying of the pool pump…Cannot. Stop. Laughing.

  65. Judy

    Hey… remember when you still lived in the frozen northland and were waxing eloquently about how wonderful it was going to be to have a pool? And remember when your south Georgia friend/lurker emailed you and said… just wait….???? Well… NOW is what I was talking about!!!!! Just sayin’…..

  66. Chuck

    If you ever want a different kind of pool, you might check out this site: although they are probably just as much work, only in different ways. No chemicals to worry about, though.

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