While we enjoy warm weather year-round in Phoenix, nighttime temperatures are considerably lower in the winter. Hence, the water in the pool is too cold to go swimming in for about half the year (too cold meaning anything below 70 degrees).
Swimming season lasts from about early April to late October. For the kids, it means hours of fun day after day.
For me, it means an extra load of laundry every day because our kids can't seem to figure out how not to drag their wet towels on the dusty patio on their way in. It means having to sit and watch them in the backyard for hours. I rarely go in the water with them all because if the baby were to start fussing, I would have to get out and get dried and changed, and nobody would be watching the other kids in the pool in the meantime. So when it's just them and me, I do as any lifeguard would do and sit on the side dressed and dry.
Having a pool is a lot like having another child. It needs constant attention, and most often at a time that I already have too much to deal with. We have tried pool service before, but other than having $80 less per month, there really was no difference. They knew less about pool care than we do. Even without professional service, pools are expensive. There are the ongoing costs of chemicals, and repairs of the various pool equipment in addition to that. Last year, the motor on our pump went out, and we also had to buy a new pool vacuum. A couple of weeks ago, our sand filter finally broke, and started dumping mounds and mounds of sand into the pool. It kind of looked like a nice sandy shoreline, but it wasn't really what we had envisioned for our backyard.
But, in spite of all the work and expense, just as with children, I would not want to live without a pool again. It's great fun for our whole family.
Besides all that, we also use the pool for baptisms, and have had 3 in the last few weeks. This is the main reason why we bought a house with a pool in the first place.
Isaac, ready to come out
Solomon doing a handstand in the spa
He insisted that wearing a shirt kept him warmer