07/19/10 — And yes, it was hot

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And yes, it was hot

By Laura Collins
Published in News on July 19, 2010 1:46 PM

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Troy Herring

Junior Edmonson, left, a pool mechanic with K&B Pools and Spas, explains how to read a pH level monitor to reporter Laura Collins while checking the pH levels of a large in-ground pool Friday.

The Job: Pool maintenance

The Company: K&B Pools and Spas

The Location: Goldsboro

I thought I finally found a job for which I had experience.

K&B Pools and Spas said I could work for them one day when they were cleaning pools. This was good news for me because I'm no stranger to cleaning pools. When I was younger, my mom bought me a pool I could play in in the backyard. It was about 5 feet across and 2 feet deep and had Noah's Ark characters on the sides. It's possible I had more fun in that pool than any pool I've been in since.

But I was constantly climbing in and out of the pool, tracking in dirt and grass, which means it needed to be cleaned pretty often. My mom came up with a pretty genius idea to run in circles around the pool to create a whirlpool in the center of the pool that sucked all the dirt and grass into a pile in the middle. I knew cleaning pools professionally would not be exactly like that, but I thought it would the same fun, relaxing experience I had when I was a kid.

I was shaken out of that assumption very quickly when I opened the door to leave for K&B and was smacked in the face by 100-degree weather. I was sweating before I got to my car. When I arrived at the first stop, a private home in-ground pool, I met with Junior Edmonson who is in charge of pool maintenance for the business. Right off the bat there was a minor issue. See, I speak Northern and Edmonson, who was born and raised in Wilson, speaks Southern, very fluently. This is what I got from our first exchange.

"(Something something something) Sugar (something something)," he said, which made following his directions a little tough. But I could tell that he called me "Sugar," so I knew I liked him.

I also gathered that he had been with the company for 10 years and does much more than cleaning pools, which is only done on Thursdays and Fridays. In addition to cleaning about 40 pools each week, Edmonson installs motors and sand filters, among other things at the company. He's a hard worker and a fast walker so I trotted a little bit to keep up with him. He got out a pool vacuum, which looks like a baseball base at the end of a long pole. The trick when vacuuming the bottom of the pool is to go slow enough to suck up the dirt, but to go fast enough that the vacuum doesn't suction to the bottom of the pool.

And, of course, a couple times that very thing happened while I was vacuuming.

But, remember, I am experienced at pool cleaning, so I immediately sprang into action. I leaned all of my weight against the vaccum to get it unstuck.

I realized later that had the vacuum come unstuck at the same time I was leaning on it, it could have ended very poorly with me splashing into the pool. I think Edmonson saw this possible end as well and offered to take it from there.

After vacuuming the pool, we skimmed the top of it with a net and added the appropriate chemicals to keep it clean and sanitary. I'm not sure if Edmonson is familiar with my past jobs, but he talked to me like he was.

"Don't get the chlorine tabs on your shirt, it will ruin it," he said.

I had once gotten battery acid on my jeans when working at another job.

"And don't drop them into the pool because they'll splash back and burn you," he said. This has happened, too, when I was deep frying food for another job.

Although it was a million degrees outside, it was nice watching Edmonson work. When we would go to someone's house to clean their pool he would stop to pet their dogs and always had something nice to say about the family.

I only cleaned about two of the 40 pools that Edmonson cleans in a two-day period, but those couple pools helped me to appreciate the hard work that goes into me having a fun day at the pool.

My only regret is that I did not have time to show him my vortex-pool-cleaning method.