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A soggy saga: Crisis, solution, repeat

The Examiner

I had no idea I could leave our above-ground swimming pool up, during the winter.

For several years, at the end of summer, I emptied, dried out, rolled, stacked and lugged the pool to the garage. Until last fall when my friend mentioned, “Diane, the pool can stay up. Treat the pool water, and cover the pool.”

Diane Mack

That was the best news I’d heard in 2020. I wanted to leave the pool in place.

I treated the pool water, purchased an 18-plus-foot pool cover and covered the pool, which closed the 2020 pool season.

Until the next morning, when I got up to let the dog out and noticed the cover was gone.

It hadn’t been in place for 13 hours when the wind took it away.

Just then, I remembered the pool had come with a cover.

Happy as a clam, I ran to the garage, grabbed the new cover, and asked Kelsey’s staff to help. This time I used a stronger cord and double tied the cover to the exterior walls.

And two days later, when I glanced out the window, the cover was gone once again. We are talking about a 20-foot round pool cover.

Regardless, the cover was gone and hundreds of tree leaves were falling into the pool.

The pool water turned a thick brownish black mess.

Once again, I ordered a cover from Amazon. With this cover, I was bound and determined. This cover was not getting away, so I tied three cords to the cover.

Until the next day, when it snowed, the cover sank to the pool floor.

I was almost to tears, when Kelsey’s staff mentioned that she had seen an above-ground pool, by her kids’ elementary school, with a tent like teepee, under the cover. I didn’t believe her, so I drove to the school and found the pool, with the tent.

I needed to get closer to the tented cover, because I was not going to be outwitted by my pool.

I drove up the street, found the home, with the tented pool. I cautiously walked to the front door and an older gentleman named Harold answered. I shared my pool dilemma and runaway covers. I asked him if he had a pool with a tent under the cover.

He did, and I spent 30 minutes listening to him explain how he used PVC, conduit, a Doheny pool cover, bungee cord, rope and 20 empty gallon milk cartons. Although I had no idea what conduit was, I took everything as gospel truth.

I raced home and asked my church helpers, Ryan and Spencer, to build me the same, which they did.

Once the PVC structure was built and set in the pool, Ryan and Spencer laid the cover over it and tied the 16 water-filled cartons to the cover. We were in business.

Until the next morning, the wind came up and the PVC began to spin. It looked like a helicopter preparing for takeoff. In fact, the spinning PVC was rotating around the pool, out of control.

Forget solar power. Disconnect Evergy. I could produce power with the new cover.

Even though the PVC was spinning, the weight of the frozen bottles kept the cover on.

Wow, I had not only protected the pool, I saw a future in generating power for my home.

When Christmas arrived with the snow and ice, the blessed cover sank.

Then like clockwork, after the snow and ice melted, the PVC structure started moving again. It was alive. In fact, it looked like the Loch Ness monster was under the cover.

Which is how this winter has gone – the weather warms, the cover pops up, and Loch Ness Nessie stirs.

Who said 2020 wasn’t entertaining?            

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