There are times when I drive & drive…ad infinitum. I keep seeking the next ‘great’ pool. I hold out a twisted hope & fantasy of finding and draining the next ‘Gonzales’ , ‘Dogbowl’ or ‘Nude bowl’. Its truly my obsession. The more I find, the more I need. I find Romans, squares, bent squares, left kidneys, right kidneys, capsules, ameobas and everything in between.
I found ‘Nolava’ pool about ten months ago. It was a crystal clear swimmer and it appeared to be amazing. I have a quirk….actually several, but we won’t get into that. Uhmm, my one quirk is this. I won’t drain a fully functioning swimmer. I just won’t do it. Anyway, I sat on ‘Nolava’ and waited. I filed her away in my memory index for the future. The future came about six months later.
I was driving one day & decided to check it out again. The lawn was dessicated & crunched beneath my boots. The gates were spider-webbed & unused. I ran an experienced eye over the property & adjacent homes then stealthed my way over the wall. The pool was no longer a swimmer. She was tiles deep in green muck.The electric was shut down & the water spigots dry. I grinned and completed my recon and intel search.
I unbolted the fence, careful not to damage anything. They can’t charge you with damaging property, if you unbolt the fences and such. I made an easy access route into the yard. I walked out and made contact with a neighbor across the street who happened to be outside. I asked about the home and quickly told her I was with mosquito-abatement/pest control from the area. I saw she had kids toys in the yard and told her I was draining the pool to prevent ‘west nile virus’ from getting into the area. We didn’t want children being bitten by infected mosquitos. She thanked me. I smiled and….thanked her back.
I pulled my car into the driveway, put out my ‘pool’ sign and placed buckets, brooms and stuff outside my car. If people saw these, they wouldn’t wonder. My motto is …eliminate suspicion. I act like I belong there. I smile and wave, tell them my name is ‘Hugh Jorgan’ … get it? Huge organ?! I find it humorous to imagine a housewife telling her family that the neighbors pool was pumped by a ‘Hugh Jorgan’! Anyway, then I go about my business. I set up the generator, pump and ran the hoses. I always try to find the best route out to the gutters as unobtrusively as possible. You dont want hoses sticking out of the yard, but you also don’t want to flood a neighbors property. Your pool will quickly be undone by such carelessness.
Once I was set up, I started everything running, then sat & watched the water run-off, flow and gutters, etc. I made sure all was cool without obstructions. I ran to the store, grabbed some gatorade and came back. It was a long afternoon. With my two inch pump, it takes me six or seven hours to empty an average sized kidney pool from tiles to the drain. When I am in the backyard draining the pool, it is the most dangerous time. The generator is running, which blocks out sound if anyone comes. I have expensive gear with me…ie- generator/pump etc. Sketchy people can roll up on me & I’m sort of stuck. So, generally speaking , its a nervous few hours.
I usually ‘stick test’ the pool first. We call it the ‘Salba stick test’ . He came up with it years ago. You find a leaf skimmer nearby (as all pools have one close), invert it and run it down the transitions. Usually, the stick will move out & away from the wall which shows you how steep or mellow the pool wall is. Cleverness! I emptied this muck pit all day. As it emptied, I had to lay on the deck and run a broom across the wall, sweeping side-to-side, to make sure I removed the algae and muck. If allowed to dry, it leaves a film which is dangerous and slippery.. Therefore, it’s imperative to do this as I drain the pool.
My pool pal Michelle, came out to help me on this one. I had never seen a girl get anywhere near a muck pit, so I was stoked when she grabbed a broom and started sweeping. I will always have an image of her sitting on the loveseat looking on, as I drain-scooped the last bit of crap out out of the pool. Once emptied, I left the pool sit for a few days. No! I didn’t take a scum-line carve. Not One! You have to be smarter than that. I waited nine months…I could wait a few days more.
I gathered some pool pals and the next Sunday we tried it out. It was steep, but fast and fun. As with all pools, you never know what you may get. We’ve drained a few pools from the top, only to find a kink across the entire face wall. That definantly sucks when it occurs. It comes with the territory. We win sometimes….lose others. Its what we do. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks to Salba, Mich, and Zach Petschek.-Ozzie