I had no idea what I was getting into when we bought a swim spa. I thought you just ordered it, put it in the backyard, fill it up, and started swimming. I didn’t know I needed degrees in chemistry, engineering, and physical education to operate the thing. But I have learned to never buy something this large from a “spa show”. Expensive lesson learned.
First, I have never bought something so large and immobile that it required a large crane to place it in the desired spot. Cars are mobile by definition, and I’ve never really wanted a car in my backyard. I’ve bought houses, but they come in situ. No movement required. So I didn’t think about the scary prospect of lifting a big-ass spa OVER our house and trying to get it placed on the exact desired spot. My nerves were shot by the time this feat of engineering was complete. I had visions of a splintered spa in the middle of my living room with pieces of roof scattered around.
Speaking of engineering, who knew that getting the cover off a spa was a feat requiring either a hydraulic jack or a block and tackle? These things are BIG and HEAVY. You really don’t need to swim after removing the cover. The removal process is enough of a workout.
Now the chemistry part. Water is not just water. It must be the right blend of pH, alkalinity, chlorine, and calcium/hardness. And once you think you have it right, it changes. I read somewhere that one way to see if you are using too much chemicals is to get in the pool and see if your skin bothers you. Uh, no. So they have these test strips you use to see which magic potion to dump into the spa. Chlorine low? Add granules and wait 30 minutes. pH too high? Use potion “pH Down”, wait 30 minutes. I really understand why people hire pool services.
Okay, so the pool is in place, filled up, and a delicious blend of water and chemicals. Now what? Let’s swim! Turn on the propulsion fan, get slammed into the back of the pool. Okay, too high. Turn the fan down, try again. Now I keeping swimming into the front wall. Too low. Finding the right speed is like Goldilocks and the three bears. This is too fast, this is too slow – now it’s just right!
But the benefits so far have outweighed the drawbacks. No more schlepping to the local pool for lap swimming during their limited hours. I can not only swim, but jog in place in the water which my arthritic knees appreciate. And it came with all kinds of resistance equipment to work on any part of the body. Win, win, win.
But the one thing I can’t do is dive into the damn thing. The instructions are plastered with NO DIVING warnings. Apparently, you can seriously injure yourself diving into something with only 3 1/2 feet of water. Really? I wonder what kind of genius has tried that? Maybe a candidate for the Darwin award?