SIMPSON: Farewell to nice backyard pool — and good riddance

I agree. It is hell to get old and not be able to do everything you are used to doing. It is also difficult to find help when needed in spite of the economy. People are reluctant to do small jobs at reasonable prices.

So, after 30 years as owners of a swimming pool, we found its maintenance overwhelming and decided to close it for once and all. Too much aggravation and too costly.

We called in the bulldozers, tore it up, covered it over and got rid of a money hole we were not using except occasionally.

I should have listened to advisors when I built it, but it took years to come to my senses.

Watching those bulldozers at work brought memories of the young Georgia Tech grad who built the pool with such tender loving care. It was one of his early construction jobs shortly after graduation, and he paid strict attention to detail. He did it right.

Even back then, the pool was expensive for a retiree hoping to build himself a place to exercise and attract visiting children and grandchildren. Looking at that project, I now admit being naive when plunging headlong into construction without full knowledge of long-term care, expense and maintenance.

I have never counted the hours spent opening, closing, cleaning and adding chemicals to the pool. I can't count the checks written for service and supplies, nor can I remember how much grass-cutting and weeding was done around the edges. Those pesky bushes had to be trimmed and the apron swept and cleaned.

After every storm, a half-ton of leaves and pine straw had to be dipped out and the bottom vacuumed. All of this for an occasional swim. Yes, there was backwashing, pump repairs or replacement, sand changing, high electric bills and a fence required by county code. In the fall a cover was installed and removed in the spring.

This pool had served its purpose and had become a money hole to seniors no longer able or willing to keep it up. Help wasn't that easy to come by, so we cut our losses. We filled it in and grassed it over and hauled the fence to the landfill.

It took two bulldozers to complete the job because the contractors said they had never seen a pool as well built. If I knew where to find that Georgia Tech grad, I would call and tell him how proud I am to be one of his first satisfied customers.

I would tell him that after many years of enjoyment it saddened me to watch the destruction of a pool he built with such dedication, care, and professionalism. I would also tell him that now that the pool is gone, I will not miss all of the expense nor the aggravation caused trying to keep it clean and operational.

All I need do now is cut the new grass growing over the pool site. After 30 years I still can't say, "Free at last."

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.