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A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying an Above-Ground Pool

A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying an Above-Ground Pool

When I was about seven, my parents put in an above-ground pool. It was only April, and the water was freezing, but I swam until my lips were blue. I loved it.

As soon as my dad got everything set up for the year, I swam every day. I would beg my parents to keep the pool open just another week, and not close up for the winter. As soon as I was old enough, my dad taught me how to check the chemicals, and it became one of my chores.

It was probably a huge expense for my parents to put in a pool, but I would recommend it to anyone who is considering adding one to their backyard… especially if they have a kid like me.

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    1. Find Out if It’s Legal

    It’s always a good idea to check local zoning laws or, if applicable, ask your homeowner’s association. For example, some neighborhoods have pools, but the HOA doesn’t allow people to place one on their property.

    Also, make sure to have the city come out and mark where the power lines in your yard are, so the installation crew doesn’t hit them if they do any digging.

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    2. Decide Where to Put It

    Assuming everything checks out legally, you have to think about where you’re going to put the pool in the backyard. It’s important to consider the layout of the yard. Some yards have a slope that will have to be leveled.

    Also, make sure that enough sunlight will hit the pool during the day to make the water warm enough to be pleasant. Try to work around any trees, or consider cutting them back if they give too much shade (they can also dump leaves in the pool, which isn’t fun to clean up).

    Additionally, be careful when you are considering how to arrange the deck. If you’re planning a whole yard overhaul with a deck that runs from the house to pool, there may be certain zoning restrictions or laws. This kind of goes with the first point: you have to be aware of laws that dictate how close a pool can be to the house.

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    Your contractor should know this and abide by these laws, but it’s not a bad idea to do some of your own research ahead of time, when you’re deciding where to place the pool.

    Swimmer

      3. Size Matters

      Pools come in various shapes and diameters — there are oval pools and round pools — and they vary in depth as well. Consider what would work best for your yard and your budget.

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      Obviously, bigger pools are going to cost more, and oval pools also tend to be more expensive. You also have to think in terms of how much water the pool will require: if it’s going to take longer to fill, you’ll need more chemicals to make sure the water is safe for the family.

      The shape of the pool might also be determined by the shape of your yard. If the backyard is long and skinny, an oval pool might be your only option. If the yard is more squat, you may be limited to a round pool.

      4. Consider It an Investment

      Despite what you might think, pools generally don’t add value to your house when you go to sell it. What they do add value to is the time you spend in your backyard with your family.

      Pools are not something you should install casually; they can mean a lot of upkeep for little return. But there’s nothing better than hanging out in the backyard, floating around on a pool noodle, and watching your kid cannonball off the porch in a fit of glee.

      One of my favorite pictures from my older brother’s graduation is one of him and me in the pool: me in my dress and him in his graduation robes. Pools create memories, and that can make them worth any expense.

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      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

      1. Understand Yourself Better

      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

      3. Become Aware of What Matters

      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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      4. Boost Creativity

      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

      6. Process Life Experiences

      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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      7. Stress Relief

      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

      8. Provide Direction

      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

      9. Solve Problems

      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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      10. Find Relief From Fighting

      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

      11. Find Meaning in Life

      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

      14. Let the Past Go

      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

      15. Allow Freedom

      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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      16. Enhance Your Career

      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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