Apparently, savvy homebuyers these days just don’t have an appreciation for leaking, algaefied monstrosities that fill up the whole backyard and suck the cash out of your wallet and the leisure time out of your life with equal vigor. My wife Kara and I arrived at this conclusion after receiving a raft of negative feedback about our above-ground albatross from people who otherwise seemed interested in buying the house that we vacated earlier this summer. Now that buyers are holding the cards and sellers are holding the bag, it seems that folks are much less willing to inherit oversized bowls of chlorine and misery than we were four years ago.
If I had a Delorean and 1.21 Jigowatts, I’d go back to the day we closed on the house and tell myself, “Start getting rid of the pool today! You’re going to spend the next four years scooping unbelievable amounts of leaves out of it and you’re only going to swim in it twice. Also, don’t try to pick individual stocks for your retirement plan. Please.”
But how were we to know at the time? A pool seemed like a fun thing to have. I guess you have to experience things for yourself before you ever really know. Now I know that I don’t like differential equations, I hate it when eggplant disguises itself as chicken and swimming pools are much more fun when owned by friends.
Paying two mortgages at the beginning of each month has also started to give us an interesting and not entirely pleasant sensation, one that under normal circumstances could only be achieved with the aid of a sigmoidoscope. For all of these reasons, we decided that it was finally time to do the humane thing and put the pool down.
Though my dad had offered to come spend a weekend crawling in the dirt to help remove the pool and the adjoining deck, I thought I’d first try to find an unsuspecting rube somewhere on the internet to take it off our hands. I’d never sold anything on Craigslist before, but it seemed to be the place the world goes to shift junk from one person to another.
I created an ad that said, “If you’ll help take down the pool and haul off my deck too, you can have them both for FREE. Heck, you can even have the noodles.” You can tell I took a marketing class by the way I put the word “FREE” in caps.
I’d hoped to hear back from maybe one or two people. Within an hour, I had thirty responses in my inbox. I quickly amended the ad to say, “I have accidentally kicked off a pool-wanting stampede with this ad. You’re welcome to respond still, but please be aware that you might have a better chance at being the next American Idol.”
I should have just deleted the ad right then. Unfortunately, the disclaimer only served to kick up the desperation level in the emails.
“We’re praying to the good Lord that you’ll choose us for the pool.”
“Hi my name is kevin and i’m twelve years old and dad says if I write this email insted of him that maybe you’ll pick us. Please can we have your pool I like swimming and it would make me happy.”
“My sister just had hip surgery. The doctor says she needs to swim to recuperate…”
And so on. The bane of the backyard had suddenly turned into the toast of the town. The ad garnered seventy-five responses in the few hours it remained online. After much dithering and guilt over having to crush the chlorine-drenched dreams of seventy-four families, we picked Steve, a guy who had all the attributes you look for in a guy who wants to adopt your pool: a box truck and a trailer.
You can fish Mike Todd out of the skimmer box at email@example.com.