Everything I Have Learned About Pools

Jessica Delfino
4 min readSep 5, 2023

After a lifetime of being river, lake and/or ocean folk

Not me in not my pool

by Jessica Delfino

As a child who spent summers jumping into green brown waters off docks whose undersides doubled as a spider’s version of Burning Man, leaping with wild abandon from backroad overpasses and gnarled up old ropes into leech and eel infested rivers and getting my ass handed to me by waves up and down the Jersey shore, having steady access to a pool has been a very interesting phenomenon.

My best friend had a pool when I was growing up, but it’s funny how very little these crystal blue squares of bleached out pond water are allowed to be used by visitors. I think I swam in it once during her birthday party, and maybe three other times total over the ten or so years I spent countless days and nights at her house.

Until you own a pool, you don’t realize all the work, time, money, effort and mental gymnastics that go into having one. It’s kind of like having a baby; a giant baby that sits quietly in your back yard, ignoring you.

A few years ago, I got some weird itch to have a pool, thinking I’d exercise more, and it’d somehow complete an image that I’d painted of myself — a bona fide pool person. I imagined that if I bought a home with a pool on the property, I’d have made it in some way.

Now that I have a pool, I toggle between being happy to own it for upwards of 20 minutes at a time to pondering how much it would cost to fill it with concrete.

That gosh darn grass is always, always greener.

It’s especially more complicated having a pool with two young children. Thankfully, the people who owned my home before me had three kids and were about as paranoid as I am about some random mishap occurring. But would it really be so random, considering that drowning is one of the top causes of death for children ages five and under?

A huge locking fence surrounds the pool, and beepy thingies are on all the doors and windows, both to alert us that bad guys are coming in and that the children have escaped.

When we first moved in, we hired some nice people to come over and drop chemicals into the pool and do this and that, and got handed a bill for $1000, so my husband decided…

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Jessica Delfino

I write about life with 1 husband, 2 kids, 1 cat, sometimes funny. Instagram.com/JessicaDelfino Bylines: TheNew Yorker, The NY Times, The Atlantic, McSweeney’s.