My pool is in chemical lockdown, and so are my finances.
Maybe I can find a way to blame Jacob Zuma for both of these occurrences.
I own a house with a swimming pool. No mere paddling pool –
a giant of a monster pool that holds 75 000 litres. When I bought the
house in Lansdowne twenty years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the very
seventies-style pool in the backyard. Misguided youthful enthusiasm, for which
I am paying dearly.
Little did I know that over the years it would become like
something from Little Shop of Horrors. What this one eats is money – in the
form of chemicals and pool paraphernalia. It lurks in the backyard, and turns
green with jealousy if it is ignored for a day or two. And dark green whenever
I go away for a few days.
There are trees in the garden whose sole purpose it is to
shed pine needles and foliage by the bucketful into the pool. Before you make any clever suggestions
regarding tree fellers – do you have any idea what it costs to have a tree cut
down? I had to have one removed last year and it still hurts to think about the
cost. So I am in a Catch 22 pool situation.
Time for an intervention. I would like to swim in the pool,
but I would also like to be able to see my feet while doing so.
So off to the pool shop, where I hand over the water sample
to a guy who looks like the mad scientist in a kids’ programme. He does things
with test tubes, his hair stands up straight and he delivers the bad news in a
funereal tone: “Your pool is in chemical lockdown”. I nod nervously.
He rattles off things about pH levels and chlorine and
floaters and algaecides.
The remedy is to start over. I need to drain the 75 000
litres and refill this vast hole. I start to hyperventilate – do you have any
idea how much one kilolitre of water costs? Not to mention 75?
On top of that I have just spent several hundred rand on
pool chemicals that haven’t worked. I am sure it is all my fault. When it comes
to the pool, it always is. And no, I don’t need endless suggestions on salt
chlorinators, pool cleaners, miracle chemicals, sand changes.
And then I hit on a solution. My pool needs to be
reclassified as a firepool, courtesy of Zuma and the Nkandla homestead. A
firepool can be green, it can be slimy, and it can be justified for safety and
security reasons. I mean, if my house caught fire, and there was no water
pressure, what would I do without a firepool? We would all be burnt to a crisp
in minutes, and we don’t want that, do we?
The big question is of course how we would get the water out
of the pool on to the towering inferno, but that is a question for another day.
And before guests look on in disgust at the waterlilies
floating on the water, I can triumphantly announce that I too am now the proud
owner of a firepool, so there. It’s the latest in new garden accessories.
Just one word of advice: if you are in the market to buy a
house, don’t buy one that has a pool more than twice the size of your bath. You
don’t need any more to cool down. Not unless you are looking for something that
will absorb all that endless cash you have lying around.
You’re going to have to excuse me now – I smell something
burning. It might be my credit card.
Susan Erasmus is a freelance writer for Health24.