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The adventure of maintaining a pool

The Examiner

I’m such a dummy.

I had no idea you could leave an above-ground swimming pool up during the Missouri winter.

Why didn’t someone tell me?

Diane Mack

My special needs daughter Kelsey’s best mode of exercise is aquatic therapy, hands down for 40 years. Land therapy is good but aquatic is the best – the best.

That was the thought behind us purchasing an above-ground pool eight years ago.

So after digging out a 20-foot-by-20-foot square in the backyard, and having a successful summer sizzling in the sweltering sweat, staying fit with swimming, it was Labor Day and time to take down the pool.

Why oh why did I do that?

Having moved from Arizona, I thought a pool would burst when the water froze and the inside ice cut through the sides.

No, it did not.

Nevertheless, I took the pool down and stored it.

It was a big mistake, because I had to clean the pit of sand the next spring before I could put the pool back up. It was grueling, burrowing through every grain of sand with a sifter. We pulled out every twig, rock, acorn, trash, sand toy, you name it. Oh I came to dread the same thing every spring.

Kelsey needed the pool, but I didn’t need it. As if a special needs child’s mom needs something else to do for their child.

But I did it for four years and then stopped for a year. That year we were out of town most of the summer, so why put the pool up?

Until this year with a COVID quarantine and pools closing and one long hot summer, with nowhere to go ahead of us.

So I grabbed the darn pool liner and bucket of 22 supports from the garage, and dragged it to the back yard and started siphoning out all of the sand garbage. Anything that could possibly poke a hole in the liner had to go. I mean really anything, including 140 acorns.

I called upon the Kelsey crew and before you knew it, the pool was up and filling with water.

Until the water level hit 8 inches and the liner started leaking.

Well, the one thing I learned, in 2020, was you don’t go shopping for a swimming pool when there’s a quarantine, and no public or private pool is open for the summer.

That is where Heavenly Father came in.

Actually for those who don’t know me, Heavenly Father has been with me every day of my daughter’s life, my family’s life, and mine. I simply need to call on Him.

Shortly after, I had prayed for an above-ground pool to become available, Heavenly Father answered my prayer, online, through Home Depot.

Within a few weeks I had a pool, with one long garden hose, hanging lazily, over the side, filling the beautiful pool with water.

It was quite a miracle as thousands of people were searching for pools.

When September arrived, I mentioned to a friend that I needed help taking the pool down.

She said to me, “No, Diane, the pool can stay up. Just treat the water with chemicals, cover the pool, and it will be fine, until next summer.”

No, I couldn’t believe her. How was this possible?

Because I could not believe her, I called four local pool stores and every one of them agreed with my friend.

Oh my goodness. Why didn’t someone tell me this before now?

How easy it would have been to leave the pool up and just cover it.

Then again, maybe not ...

Part II next week.            

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at