Tuesday, September 21, 2021

swimming with cal

Calvin Coolidge, the wisest of American presidents, once said: "If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you."

I cannot verify his words of wisdom are true for everyone. But they are certainly true for me. When faced with the possibility of some pending doom, I find that if I just sit down and wait, the vast majority resolve themselves.

My swimming pool recently provided me with another test of the Coolidge Law.
I have written before about how well-engineered my swimming pool is. Not only is it a thing of beauty on the surface, its hidden innards are extremely functional.

First, let me say I had nothing to do with the design. It was all in place when I bought the house with no name. I have simply been the lucky beneficiary of its plan.

Every pool has a pump that filters and circulates the water. Mine has an added function. There is a tinaco (a water storage tank) buried in the patio. It serves two functions. The first is to act as reservoir when the pump starts circulating the pool water. Any evaporation is replaced from the reservoir. I do not need to schlep a hose to the pool to top it off.

But its second function is far more important. During the heavy summer rains, it works as a leveling device to keep the pool from overflowing. When the rain raises the level of the pool water, it starts flowing through a return to the tinaco. That obviates the need of manually taking water out of the pool to avoid flooding.

Whoever came up with the idea is a genius. The pool almost operates on its own.

That is, until something goes wrong. The only problem I have had with it in the past is when the toilet float in the tinaco stops operating. Last week I thought that had happened again because the well pump was sending a lot of water to the tinaco.

When Antonio and I lifted the concrete cover to the tinaco, we were a bit shocked at what we saw. The tinaco looked as if it had collapsed. It looked that way because it had. In the process, some of the plumbing had pulled away.

Ignoring the advice of Silent Cal, I started calculating how much concrete would need to be removed to replace the tinaco. A friend from church had to do something similar last week.

Biting the bullet, I asked Tracye and Jorge from Crazy Cactus to give me an estimate on installing a new tinaco. We discussed a couple of options -- all of them that would cut into my travel budget. 

Then, Jorge tried something. He stepped on the edge of the tinaco. It bobbed up and down. The tinaco had not collapsed; it had been crushed.

Our heavy rains during the past two months have raised the water table. That is evident in the bubbling sewers and the large puddles that still flood my street. The water has no place to go.

There must be an open space under the tinaco that allows water to escape. But that is a two-way street. What can escape can also back up. And that must be what happened to the tinaco. The water floated the tiaco and crushed it against the the cover on the patio. Just like a soda can.

Tracye and Jorge suggested that I leave the concrete lid off to let the space dry out. I did that. When Antonio came to clean the pool yesterday, the tinaco was no longer buoyant. He re-attached the plumbing to the tank and everything was in order.

Simply by waiting, everything is now in working order.

I have written it before, but I will do so once again. Mexico's greatest gift to me has been teaching the virtue of patience. That almost anything improves by simply sitting in silence for an answer.

And to watch those other nine troubles run into the ditch before they reach me.    

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