Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

The Algae Jamboree

Algae, up close & personal

Mustard algae is a tenacious resident. You can scrape it off your pool walls and within a day, it looks like moss is growing in there. This stuff came to live in my pool about four years ago.

I was going to say around two years ago but then recalled it was already a problem three years ago, when I hired a one-man pool service to maintain the pool system while I was enjoying the deboobification adventures. That guy tried to beat it back with massive applications of ferocious chemicals. Didn’t do a damn bit of good.

This algae is chlorine-resistant. That, I discovered when my finger poked through the plastic outer wall of a floating chlorine tablet dispenser. Inside the air space that holds the thing afloat was a thick layer of what in fact did look exactly like moss. That was when I realized that dumping shock treatment into the pool may have made the guy feel good, but it didn’t do a thing to control the algae.

This winter — even when the water’s cold, the stuff will grow sporadically — I decided the trick is to keep cleaning it off manually, every day. And that’s worked well enough — cosmetically, anyway — until now. With warmer weather, the little plants fly into a frenzy of green joy and grow faster than you can keep up with them.

So it appeared that I would have to get serious about this.

Don’t know what time the dogs woke me this morning, but since the thermometer on the back porch registered 109.5 degrees yesterday, I figured I’d better get the slamming around done before the sun came up.

Last night I dumped an extra-strong dose of shock treatment into the drink — about twice as much as I would ordinarily use. Since I haven’t been shock-treating much, I’m hoping the little critters may have lost some of their chlorine resistance. Ran the pump for an hour to mix the stuff into the water, suck it full-strength into the filter (which you may be sure  has collected plenty of algae spores), then shut it off for the night.

I don’t like to leave the pump on at night, despite the exhortations of power companies and  the environmentally addled, because if something goes wrong with it I want to know about it before the thing runs long enough to burn out the motor.

So this morning it was into the backyard like a shot, the instant the animals rousted me out of the sack. Vacuumed the collected debris off the bottom with the hose bonnet. Checked the pH. Cleaned out the skimmer basket. Cleaned out the pump pot. Reprimed the pump. Ran the pump and added more acid. Swept down the walls again (doesn’t do much good: the stuff sticks pretty tight, plus the nylon/plastic pool brushes on the market are stupidly designed so that the center part of the brush curves subtly upward and only the ends of the brush actually contact the damn plaster). Swept the floor, too.

Hooked up Harvey the Hayward Pool Cleaner — I don’t leave him in the water when hyperchlorinating because some Leslie’s dude said excessive chlorine was bad for his plastic carapace. Eased his hose into the water, pushing the air out of it, plugged it in, and…AUGH!!!! Harvey came loose from his tail and the damn hose was SUCKING AIR INTO THE PUMP!

Now the pump is straining every gut. Yank the hose end out of the pump inlet and get the f**k out of the way, half-expecting the thing to blow.

Mercifully, it does not: it manages to suck in enough water and push enough air out the inlets to recover itself without damaging (I expect) the pump motor and without blasting fragments of its lid into the air.

Jump into the puddle of Clorox to retrieve Harvey, but by the time I get in, he’s rolling down to the deep end and is out of my reach.

Climb out, find the leaf skimmer net, hook that to the pool wand, and fish Harvey into the shallow end. Dive in and nab him off the bottom.

By now I’ve poisoned myself by exposing my entire body to toxic levels of chlorine, so WTF. Despite several days of mad sweeping two or three times a day and despite seven hours or so of chemical warfare, a light film of green stuff still clings to the wall. Hook up a power spray nozzle to the garden hose and dive back into the Puddle of Death. Wash down all the steps, the bench, and the walls.

That works. Washing down the walls really does blast all the visible algae off. Of course, the plaster is porous, and so you can be sure that whatever little roots and tentacles this present brand of algae has are well ensconced in the stuff.

Showered in the garden hose, baptizing the new bottle of hair conditioner. When I came back in the house, it was 5:30 in the morning. Done before it even started to get hot out there!


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Author: funny

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  1. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a pool or spa in my backyard. Then I remember how much work they are to maintain. *Fingers crossed* you’re starting to defeat the algae!

    • If you keep up with it, then it isn’t very hard: it’s a small amount of work that needs to be done every day or two, maybe every three or four days in the winter. And it’s a lot LESS work if you don’t have any silly palm trees.

      The pool is looking a LOT better this week, with one daily sweeping (missed one day and it didn’t do much harm). I’ll buy a bunch more shock treatment…I’m not fond of chemicals and so have neglected shock-treating for some months, instead keeping up the chlorine level with tablets. But apparently a sudden jolt of chlorine delivered in the evening so it will sit there for some hours without burning off is what does the trick.