How do you keep track of your swimming pool or spa maintenance, particularly chemical levels that need to be tested and adjusted several times a week? I have tried blank calendar sheets, as well as just keeping track of everything in my head. Then, one day, I remembered some hotel pools I have visited. They often have a daily board showing swimming pool stats. I’m sure this saves them having to answer the same questions over and over. Some of them have done it with digital read-out boards, but even nice hotels have sometimes used the good old-fashioned chalkboard.
The paper method did enable me to see a whole month’s statistics at once, but since I was often wet while testing pool chemicals, this was inconvenient. Also, the small boxes were hard to write in on days when I had several things to do. Keeping track in my head was okay for a short while, but time has a tendency to slip by, leading to a neglected pool or inaccurate memories of what was done last and when.
I happen to have inherited a large chalkboard that fits nice and snug on my laundry room wall, right where I go in and out of the house a lot. It is also near the cupboard where I keep swimming pool chemicals and do the testing, using the top of the washing machine for a table. Ever since it was put up, it has made keeping track of my swimming pool chemicals much easier.
For starters, it is a regular reminder of what stage of care I am at. No need to pull all the paper notes out. When using the chalkboard, I used to just put the date, but found that at least an abbreviation of the day of the week helps me a lot, as I sometimes experience time warps… Next, I list what my readings for the day were, such as chlorine levels and pH, the two main things I need to monitor. (Read here about how pH can affect your metal swimming pool heater.) After that, I can list what chemicals I added and in what amounts.
The semi-columnar approach is just organized enough to let me visually evaluate the results at a glance on succeeding days. The large spaces on the chalkboard make it easy to write large enough, which is both easy on the eyes and faster. I like my work flow to be organized, but I don’t want my efforts in organization to be so consuming that I don’t get any work done.
I have children’s sidewalk chalk to write with. I tend to break the thinner chalk, just like I do mechanical pencils. I guess I am just energetic when I write! It is useful that the sidewalk chalk comes in colors, as using a different color each day makes it that much faster to read through it all without having to think too hard. Color coding is an extremely useful organizational tool.
My ancient chalkboard tray wore out the screw holes holding it in place finally just last week. Since it held up for about 45 years, I can’t complain much. (I used to teach my younger sister to read on this very same chalkboard. I believe I also drew space ship controls on it… ) For now, I have the chalk sticks in a recycled yogurt container in the same cupboard as the pool chemicals.
An old rag sock serves as an eraser when I think I need to start over. Of course, I have the option of just erasing a couple top entries, if I think that I need to remember something still, like when I need to add more algicide or do a potassium shock. Rag socks can erase may times before they are “full”. They are not hard to come by, so I have the option of just throwing them away.
If you don’t have an heirloom chalkboard, don’t despair. You could buy chalkboard paint and make just the right wall into a chalkboard. I asked for some of this paint for Christmas (and got it), so I have other plans for it, like fun spots in bathrooms or portable chalkboards for small children who are visiting. Chalk is a bit safer for walls and clothing than markers, so requires less supervision, as long as they are old enough to not eat it… I already know that the toddler grandkids have enjoyed leaving me drawings on the bottom of my swimming pool chalkboard. It makes for lovely and continually changing room decoration. Once a college age niece left me a note on it, too. Clearly, I should have had a chalkboard there ages ago!