The Leaky Pool

Our swimming pool leaks, badly. It is an in-ground pool, fifteen by thirty with a vinyl liner that has been replaced multiple times over the years. We are losing at least an inch of water each day. The end where it is leaking is about seven feet deep. I have tried to apply different patches to no avail; it is hard to hold my breath long enough to get a patch to stick. The bottom of the deep end is badly wrinkled, and the vinyl is brittle. This liner is done, but replacing it is expensive, more than we can afford right now.

This is all depressing, especially during a hot summer when we are staying home a lot. It is not a fancy swimming pool and came with the house when my parents bought the place in the sixties. It is a pain to keep clean and chlorinated. It has sucked up hours of labor over the years. Yet, the thought of losing it pains me. Letting it dry to a green puddle in a deep hole seems terrible.

My response initially was to surrender and let sun and leak empty the pool. But instead, I have run water into the pool for several hours each day. I have seen that when I can’t have the best, I sometimes grab the worst. I do this in anger and discouragement. The cost of the water doesn’t really compare to the cost of a camping trip we can’t take this summer. I run water into the pool and water table.

The bottom of the pool looks terrible—wrinkled and green with algae that can’t be cleaned off. The wrinkles are spreading. Clearly this is its end. Nonetheless, Teckla and I have gone swimming with our grandson dozens of times this summer. We mostly stay in the shallow end which we have kept clean. Ari, our grandson, has had a blast and is getting good at dogpaddling around. I hope we are making good memories for him. I have told Teckla that any day I go swimming with Ari is a good day. His laughter is everything. And as a fitting crown to the summer, we had a young boy get baptized in the pool in August.

So we have lived with a leaking pool and the most temporary of solutions. We are squeezing as much fun out of this summer as we can. Even if the pool is filled in because we can’t afford a new liner, we have grabbed some golden memories. We have redeemed the time.

We have not rejected what is good because we can’t have what is best.

About Mark

I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon with my wife Teckla and am the father of four boys. Currently I teach writing and literature at Southwest Oregon Community College. I am a graduate of Myrtle Point High School, Northwest Nazarene College, and have a Masters in English from Washington State University.
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