Always Swim with a Buddy

When I first saw the pool, two things were clear.

1) It was the nastiest pool I’d ever seen.

2) There was no way we were going to clean it in just one day.

Well, I was right about #1. This pool was a crime scene. An aquatic monument to seventeen years of wanton neglect. But Dan Duecker, my boss for the day, told me the pool would be born again before the Florida sun went down. Actually, he promised we’d be done before the afternoon storms blew in, which meant we had maybe seven hours to drain this unspeakable miasma, shovel out and dispose of the muck, remove the vinyl liner, and install a new one.

I honestly didn’t think it was possible, especially with a film crew slowing things down. In fact, it seemed futile to even try to pull this off in one day, and my producer agreed. Shortly after we saw the enormity of the task at hand, we rethought our whole shooting schedule for that week, since we would obviously need to return to location the next day to finish the job. But Dan was determined and confident.

“We can get it done,” he said.

“Assuming we quit talking and start working.”

And so, we did. We worked our asses off, each in our respective ways. Dan called the shots and remained in a state of perpetual motion for the next seven hours, shoveling, pumping, sweating, and bossing me around. I took orders and tried to keep up, per usual. My crew never put their cameras down, and dutifully captured all of the unfolding chaos. When the skies darkened shortly after lunch, Dan called in some reinforcements which consisted of a true Florida Man named Dave who, like a hobbit, refuses to wear shoes, and a relative named Juan Pablo with a strong back and an irrational fear of frogs.

Interestingly, Dave is also Dan’s father. More interestingly, Dave had actually installed the same pool we were refurbishing that day. He had dug the original hole, poured the original concrete, and now here he was seventeen years later, helping his son make it all shiny and new.

If you saw last week’s episode, you know we finished the job moments before the rains came, just as Dan predicted. And if you watched to the end, perhaps you were struck, as I was, by what can be accomplished when people stop talking and start working. Personally, I was struck by that feeling of futility that washed over me I had when I first saw that horror-show of a pool, and the enormity of the task at hand – that feeling of, “Oh crap. It’s too much. It can’t be done…” Well, that feeling is the devil. That’s the feeling that saps your will, breaks your spirit, and leads to stupid questions like, “Why even try?” and, “What’s the point?” That’s a feeling we should all push back against, hard. And those are questions not worth asking.

I won’t belabor the point, but if you’re looking for more proof that hard work and determination can still lead to genuine prosperity, look no further than Vinyl Pools LLC, a reinvigorated swimming pool, and the men who made it so. Just one more family business that arose from grime, slime, and overtime, to become another genuine American success story. Big thanks to Dan, Dave, Jose, and little Darren, whose waiting in the wings for a shovel with his name on it…

In the meantime, enough chatter. Back to work.

Mike’s Facebook Page