What makes a friend? Are they just like you? Or do opposites attract? This question came up the other night when my wife and I were playing cards with friends of ours. It was brought up that one of my best friends was so much like me that we could be clones. The clone part was a joke, but they were right. One of my closest friends and I are so alike personality wise that it is scary. But then I realized something else. One of my other very closest friends is just about the polar opposite of me. Sure, we have common interests and likes, but the differences are huge. Yet somehow despite the differences we have developed a friendship over nearly 25 years that is incredibly strong. I don’t suppose one should overthink friendship, but it is interesting to have two of my closest friends that are complete opposites. My conclusion? What really matters is that the person has a good heart and good character. Everything else sorts itself out.

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Some Fun Facts About Pools

Some Fun Facts About Pools

-Swimming became and Olympic event in 1896

-The oldest concrete pool was built in 1915

-The first filtration system was introduced in 1910

-Residential swimming pools became popular after World War II

-The US National Swimming Pool Institute was developed in 1956

-There are approximately 10.4 million swimming pools in the US

-There are 7.4 Million Hot Tubs in the US

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Evolution of Heaters

I personally have been in the pool and spa industry for around 25 years. A lot has stayed the same and a lot has changed. One thing that has changed a lot is the style of heaters one sees sold in the Cincinnati market. 15 years ago consumers did not have many options to heat their pools, it was either natural gas or propane. A little over 10 years ago we started selling electric heat pumps and since then every year we see the percentage of new pool gas heater drop in favor of heat pumps, and for good reason.

Gas heaters typically have a copper heating element. Copper is a great way to transfer the heat, the only down fall is that the copper in the heat exchangers begin to degrade and we start to see copper staining in just about all pools with a gas heater. This turns into a headache for pool owners because these stains are unsightly and takes a fair amount of chemicals and work to have these stains removed. High copper levels also cause green hair, just like the staining of a liner, copper when oxidized stains just about anything it’s exposed to.

Heat pumps do not use copper in their heaters. These manufacturers typically use titanium as a heat exchanger. Titanium is a lot more durable and does not stain, so it does away with a lot of potential problems. Another huge advantage titanium over copper heat exchangers, most heat pump manufacturers have a lifetime warranty on the heat exchanger as opposed to gas most gas heaters carrying on average a 2 year warranty. Heat pumps normally have no chemical exclusions as part of the warranty. What a chemical exclusions is basically voiding a warranty because the water chemistry in a swimming pool is not quite right. Mostly it would be caused be the water being too acidic but there are other reasons as well. This extra coverage gives consumers a much greater piece of mind, because let’s face it, sometimes people don’t do as good of a job as they should keeping an eye on their chemical levels.

If those reasons weren’t good enough to sway you toward a heat pump, I’ve got one more good reason. It save the consumer money, and a lot of it. Heating a pool is not a cheap proposition. What heat pumps do, is work with weather conditions that naturally occur in the Cincinnati market. The heat pump takes humidity in the air and condenses it. This makes the typical savings of a heat pump about 30% less than natural gas.

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Is It Time?

In May of 2017 I lost a very dear friend, my favorite dog of all time, Sunny. Sunny was a yellow lab that my family adopted when he was maybe a year or so old. Now Sunny wasn’t the world’s smartest dog, though he was pretty smart, and he didn’t have any special talents for catching a Frisbee or retrieving things, but what he had was incredible sweetness. Every human wash is friend, or so he wanted to believe they were. And in his mind every person seated on the floor certainly wanted him to sit in their lap and maybe even receive a few kisses from him. He adored people and was gentle even with small children. One of my favorite all time photos of Sunny was him curled up on the floor napping next to my grandson who was probably around 2 at the time. Sweet, loving and loyal were his strengths, and losing him left a big void in our house. But with his passing my wife and I found ourselves completely empty nested for the first time in 30 plus years.

In the 18 months or so since his passing, my wife and I have talked numerous times about whether it was time to bring another dog into our life. And it is a really hard decision. There is something to be said for being empty nesters and the freedom it brings, but I still walk into the house sometimes and expect to have my buddy waiting at the door to greet me. In my mind, I had the best dog ever and no dog will replace Sunny. But that thinking isn’t fair to the countless other dogs out there waiting for a forever home. So, I find myself starting to wonder if it is time to adopt again? I know that there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but it is harder and harder to not check out some of the adoption web sites. Who knows, maybe Santa will bring my wife and Ia new rescue lab for Christmas? Stay tuned for future posts and maybe some labradorable photos! 

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Interesting Times

This past September I attended buying group meetings and the casual furniture show in Chicago. The topic that was repeatedly brought up in meetings and while visiting manufacturer’s showrooms was the tariffs that were implemented the past few months and more which are potentially on the way.And the discussions weren’t just in showrooms of suppliers that are importing products, it was also a point of discussion in the showrooms of manufacturers who produce here in the USA. The bottom line is that everyone agreed that no one really knows the full impact yet of these tariffs, but before long the average American is going to start feeling the results in their wallets.

I am not here to debate whether these tariffs are good or bad, as I have heard news stories where American companies are praising the tariffs and are adding jobs and I have seen news stories where American companies are feeling the pain of them. But I do know that they certainly made the buying for 2019 very interesting. Besides choosing frame colors, fabrics, and styles, added to the discussions are when the orders can ship, will the product have a tariff, are there alternative products available that won’t be impacted by a tariff. Never a dull moment, especially this year.

Will the tariffs stand? Will a new round be coming January 1st like some are predicting? Who knows. What I know is that one of the morning news shows had a story recently in which the reporter predicted price increases of around 23% on many selected consumer goods. Time will tell and I will leave the arguing of the merits of the tariffs to the politicians, but as a purchaser I can attest that these are interesting times!   

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Spa Time

Over the past few weeks I have noticed a big increase in the amount of spa chemicals being sold. I think most people use their spas all yearlong, but I know from personal experience that the number of times I use my spa each week definitely goes up as the temperatures start to go down. Recently I had a day off and I worked out in the yard getting the grass cut, leaves picked up, and dead flowers and plants removed from the beds. It was a cold and overcast day, and despite the physical activity, I just felt cold all day long.I could never really warm up. Shortly after diner I had enough of feeling cold and out to the spa I went. Problem solved not to mention that the sore arms,back and knees from working outside all day received some much-needed relief. So,while I would encourage spa owners to use their spas all year, I so get it that fall is probably the very best time to enjoy a spa, and that explains the increased traffic in the spa chemical and accessory area.

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Why not buy a spa?

Why should you buy a spa? The bigger question is why shouldn’t you? With winter coming on it’s the best time of year to relax in a hot soothing body of water. You deserve the rest and relaxation that a spa can provide. We all work hard and sacrifice a lot to make the day to day things possible. At then end of that long hard day of work and stress you deserve a hot tub just outside your back door just waiting to massage and relax the days stress away. We all need a way to reconnect to those important to us. No better way to do that then a still quiet night in your spa with the first snow of the season blanketing the yard. So why should you buy a spa? Simply put no one deserves it more.

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2019 Season

With winter fast approaching, we have already started getting ready for the 2019 season!! Most of our ordering for the 2019 season is already done. We placed orders in September and October 2018. That may seem crazy to order that early, but this allows us to be fully stocked and ready to go early in the season. The orders include parts, accessories, pools and even Patio Furniture. So stop in early in the 2019 season to see some of our newest items!! Don’t forget we are open all winter long and open 7 days a week. Hope to see you all soon!!

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How Time Flies

As this pool season winds down it strikes me how quickly this season has gone by. It seems like just a few weeks ago I was cursing the rain, wondering how I was gong to get the backlog of above ground pools installed in a timely fashion. Everything just seems to be a constant motion blur for 7 months, and then just comes to a screeching halt. With the warm summer of 2018 it has already piqued interest in pools for the 2019 season, let’s just hope the weather is a little more cooperative and the season doesn’t pass in a flash.

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Best Of Times (For Sports!)

I certainly wouldn’t consider myself as being a sports nut, but I would consider myself a sports fan. I find this time of year to be especially fun. Baseball, which I love despite my Reds struggles for way too long now, is in its final stages of the season and I find myself watching World Series games even though none of the teams I was rooting for to win in the playoffs made it there. Then it is time to flip the channel and catch some college football. I am only a so-so NFL fan but for college football I find myself checking out the top 25 scores and then the local or regional schools to see how they are doing. With college games on 3 or 4 nights per week it is easy to catch some action for teams I might otherwise not catch. I consider it homework for bowl season where my wife, kids and now grand kids see who can correctly pick the winners of the most bowl games. The final piece of my personal sports love puzzle is college basketball season that starts very soon. It seems like just about any night of the week I can find a game to check out. I casually flip back and forth to check out the scores and if I find an upset in the making, I will keep the game on to see if David does indeed knock off Goliath! Yes, this time of year where baseball is still being played, college football is in mid-season and college basketball is getting ready to start is the best of times in my opinion.

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With Halloween approaching and being a mother, the main question I ask my children is “what do you want to be for Halloween?” My two older children are easy peasy. My four year old on the other hand is a little more difficult. She’s a fickle little girl. Living in Adams County we have our trick-or-treat the Friday before Halloween, so we had ours 10-26, and after changing her mind about 73 times, she chose to be Anna from Frozen and she was positively adorable! Other towns are having their trick-or-treat soon, and we plan on attending them as well. Well, little did I know my daughter would change her mind yet again. She finally chose another costume, a little Devil. At first I was hesitant and didn’t want her dressing up like that, but then I thought if that’s what she really wants to be, then so be it! She tried on the costume and she’s the cutest little Devil. Even though she’s dressing up as the Devil, she will always be my little Angel, and as long as she’s happy, I’m happy.

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pool and spa culture around the world

My wife is from Estonia. I met her there teaching English back in the late 90’s. Every winter we go back to visit her parents and family. It’s always fairly cool in Estonia and in the winter, even more so. They don’t have many back yard swimming pools but people still like to vacation and unwind. So, people either take a trip to a neighboring city or take a trip to a neighboring country and stay in a hotel that has a heated indoor pool, spas and the most important of them all, the sauna.
To say that saunas are popular in Estonia, would be an understatement. Saunas are part of their ritual and family culture. In these hotel/spas in Estonia, they have many various types of saunas. They have a salt sauna, which entails a medium heat sauna in which stands a pillar of salt and one gets salt in their hands and wipe it all over their body. This is supposed to clean the skin. It might, but it burns a little too, so I am not a big fan.
They also have the steams saunas, menthol saunas, regular sauna and the hot sauna. The hot Sauna is at 100 degrees Celsius, which is the boiling point of water.
The hot sauna certainly was noteworthy. They were performing a sauna ritual. Probably 20 people sat in this rather large sauna in a big U shape. The person conducting the ritual was in his early 20’s. Everyone was tense a head of time when the ceremony was beginning. I was about to find out why. 100 Celsius is pretty hot by itself, but when the young man poured water onto the hot coals, what felt like a boiling cloud of steam enveloped us. I came to find out that the higher in elevation one was, the hotter is was. Heat does rise. I happened to be on the highest row of seats in the sauna. We did this a couple times and then our master of ceremony brought out several hand fulls of birch branches with dried leaves on them. We dipped them in water and smacked each other on the back with them. This is supposed to be a massage but I can’t say for sure if I got any therapeutic benefit or not. More water on the coals and more steam and it is getting unbearably hot, we do some loud chanting and he sprinkles cold water on everyone and it feels good. We are done with the sauna and a few people dart away through the door outside. A small round pool is open to the elements and running. The last part of the ceremony is dipping our bodies in the nearly freezing cold water. It felt great believe it or not, after being in the sauna.
So, if you happen to go on holiday somewhere in Europe, don’t be surprised if run into something new.

Heres a link to the blog of the hotel

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My Favorite Eastgate Employee.

My favorite inground cleaner is the Aquabot Z-2. Cleans the average pool in 2-3 hours and doesn’t use your filtration system, it has its own filter. It also cleans the water line a big plus in my book. The control box has a timer that can be set from 1-7 hours. Very easy to use, put it in the pool, plug it in and turn it on. Comes with a 3-year warranty. My favorite aboveground cleaner in the Aquabot Cyclone Scrubber. It will run for 2 hours then shut off. You can turn it on again just by pushing the power button on the power pack. It also has its own filter, so it doesn’t use the pools filtration system. This unit comes with a 2-year warranty. Now with all the time you have saved not vacuuming your pool you could have a cookout for your friends, like hamburgers and hotdogs cooked on a Big Green Egg Grill.

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Memorial Day is here

And with it time for picnics, and family get togethers. This tradition dates back to the post Civil War era when at the end of May families would get together and clean the grave sites and surroundings of those sites of loved ones who were killed in the war. Via an act of congress in 1971 this became a federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May in order to honor all soldiers who have lost their lives in defense of our country. 

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Time Flies

We have always heard this and seen it to a certain point, but it doesn’t seem to effect us until we think back. It was just a couple years ago when I did this or that, until I look at the pictures and realize how much younger I looked or how young my kids were at the time. I thought about this when I heard of several bands hanging up touring in 2018, they haven’t been out that long have they? Then upon reflection and realizing that it had been over 20 years since I had seen them in concert, yes maybe I am getting old.

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