Maybe pools aren’t so cool (Day 220)…

October 6, 2007

pool diagram

From the ages of 16 to 20, I had the greatest job. I got to sit by a pool, work on my tan and occasionally yell at someone for running — yep, I was a lifeguard. Since then, however, I rarely go in public pools, having seen all the s— that goes in them: by the end of a hot summer’s day, there’d be so much sweat, suntan lotion, urine, hair, baby throw-up, diaper bits, etc. that we could barely see to the bottom. In order to “clean” all of this, we had to pump water out, filter more in and infuse it all with a whole bunch of chlorine and other chemicals.

As you can see from the diagram above, pools aren’t just a hole in the ground filled with water — they’re a complex system that requires a lot of energy, maintenance and often thousands of gallons of water, which in an outdoor pool can evaporate at least a few inches per day. The more people that use it, the more bacteria develops, which means all the more bleach to kill it off. When I was on swim team in high school, I actually had to stop wearing any silver jewellery because it would get tarnished after just a couple hours, and I had to use special swimming shampoo because, even with a bathing cap, my hair would still be completely wrecked.

So while pools can be a good alternative to blasting the air-conditioning in the summer, an even better option is the beach, a lake, or any natural source of water. From now on, then, I’ll be giving my local lifeguards one less body to worry about and swimming in water that won’t burn my eyeballs so much.

Diagram from

Nighttime showers for my flowers (Day 207)…

September 23, 2007

As green as it seems on the surface to have a garden full of flowers, plants and trees, the downside is that a lot of species require watering every day to survive. While I’ve been able to invest in some indoor house plants that only need water every few weeks, the mini trees on my balcony need to be kept as saturated as possible. And although I’m already doing so with greywater — ie. what’s leftover after doing the dishes or boiling a pot of pasta — I’m now going to make sure I only water them in the evening, when the sun’s not out to evaporate any before it gets down to the roots.