Getting Your Summertime Water Wish May Make You Broke

Belly partly made by pizza, sitting on a pizza 😅

It’s a hot day, but with our above ground pool we can cool off. Our wallets cannot. Awhile back, temps got up into the 90s and we desperately wanted a pool. Kellie and I did some research online and, in the end, decided on the Coleman above ground pool from Walmart. We saw it was in stock at our local store! It was chaos when we got there.
Walmart was busier than a kid in a toy store (and it didn’t help that Walmart has toys). It seemed that everyone else had the same idea and when we got to the water section, almost all of the pools and water toys were gone. I asked for help trying to find our Coleman, but it was hard to find help. I eventually got help from a guy who didn’t seem like he wanted to help. Finally, he noticed something odd about the space between the other Coleman pools and went back into the stockroom. He said he found it and then informed us he hates pools. 🙂
The easy set up was easy -NOT! Since it was so hot, the metal burned in our hand. The tarp that goes under it wouldn’t stay in one place and after finally putting the hose in it to fill up, the wind took the whole pool two feet away from where we wanted it. It was a fun time looking back at it now.
We read the reviews online and all of them stated that it needs a better pump to circulate the water. Ours worked fine and it kept our pool blue. I am no expert at taking care of pools and after a few weeks, I noticed that the bottom was becoming slippery and so were the sides. I wasn’t sure, it could have been, in part, the lack of chemicals I put in, but something needed to improve.
The pool was running efficiently and it only cost us $383. Great right? Well, you also need chemicals like chlorine and PH balance. You’ll need a ladder and a water cleaner scooper if it’s not included (ours came with these two things)! The scooper was nice to get the bugs and leaves that had ventured into the pool, but I still wanted it to be cleaner so I ended up buying a new pump for $153.99. I also noticed there were a lot of dead bugs and leaves on the surface so I had to buy a skimmer ($21.99). The water was also unbearably cold making any base singer a soprano, so I bought a solar heater ($139.99). I also noticed, after buying a pool water test kit that our alkalinity level was through the roof, so I had to buy acid ($40). This acid is so powerful that 2.5 bags of it equal actual liquid acid. Ouch!
The new pump and the new solar heater came yesterday, so I spent the whole day figuring out how to disconnect the hoses and not making water gush out of the pool. I did not succeed and had to put the garden hose back in to fill it more! Oh, also I said goodbye to Kellie and told her not to remarry when I’m gone because the pump had a giant warning label on it saying that if I ran it and the valves were not open, it would blow up. No pressure, right? This was not just any filter pump, but a sand filter pump, which is a lot better to clean the pool. At least that’s good. Except sand did not come with it, so I had to drive to the pool store immediately and buy #20 silica sand, whatever that means.
I connected the heater to the new pump and I could not believe the difference in the flow rate of the water. It was fantastic! A few bubbles emerged from the output hose, so I checked the heater manual and that is not supposed to happen after two minutes. Apparently, the pressure is so good that I now have to buy a bypass kit to make the water go through a separate hose in order to slow the water down in the solar heater. I bought the bypass kit today as well as different hoses and different attachment converters because I have no idea what I’m doing and I don’t want to be safe and order one part only to realize that I also need that other part that I could have ordered at the same time.
Wolfie and I made a trip to Target to buy some diaper wipes for him, but ended up with a shopping cart full of pool toys. We got a giant pizza floaty and a duck floaty and two water guns and a wakeboard with The Incredibles characters on it. I even picked up a new life jacket floaty for Wolfie. We were super excited, but boy is this becoming expensive!
In the end, my $383 pool is now about $1,000 thanks to the pump, solar heater, chemicals, sand, and pool toys. What started out as a good idea turned into more of a headache and it hurt our budget.
We had family over today and everyone swam in the pool, so it was well worth it and I felt proud that I was able to figure out how to make it all happen. With it being able to warm up now (as long as the parts I ordered do the trick), Wolfie will also have a better time in it since it won’t be so cold.
I don’t want to discourage you from making your watery summer dreams come true, but make sure you plan ahead and count for all things that COULD go wrong. And double your budget, just in case. Thinking of finally taking that road trip? It could make you empty your bank account because the car needed a new axel or you got robbed (happened to our family when I was a kid), or you decided that you were on vacation and could splurge a bit. Wherever your summer brings you, be careful, plan ahead, and think of our pool fiasco next time it’s 98 degrees outside and you have a brilliant idea.
Yours truly,
Daddy Witzke (AKA The Classy Artist’s instagram husband)

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