I’ve found that life on a tropical island requires but a few simple necessities: flip flops, summer clothing, bug spray, rum, and, of course, a swimming pool to help you cope with the extremely humid, endless summer heat.

I’d never had a swimming pool until I moved to my island some seven years ago. Since then, my husband and I have learned many do’s and don’ts of pool maintenance, largely by good old trial and error. Goggle has been a friend throughout. We didn’t really know anyone at the time to give us a crash course in Looking After Your Island Swimming Pool 101, so we just jumped in with both feet.

A few of the lessons we learned include:

DO run the pool daily to keep the water fresh and clean – and to keep the frogs away.

DO request that your guests use the indoor plumbing facilities.

DO request that your guests keep a modicum of dignity and keep their swimsuits on, particularly in the daylight hours.

DO hire someone to paint your swimming pool for you because repairing and painting your own swimming pool in the island heat is pure hell. (This is not an experience I, nor my husband, want to repeat anytime soon.)

DON’T add so much chlorine to your pool that your eyes burn when you are standing inside the house, 10 feet away from the pool.

DON’T use so much acid reducer that your pool resembles a white, fluffy, cloudy sky on a beautiful summer day. (One really should be advised to read the labels before dumping chemicals into the pool, especially when acid is involved.)



And so much more. We could basically write the pool care course ourselves at this point.

Though we recently learned yet another important don’t through an island friend’s firsthand experience. Let’s call this friend “Ann” to protect the guilty party should she ever read this…

Ann is the pool girl in her casa. On one otherwise normal island day, Ann decided it was time to clean the pool. She brought out the vacuum hose, pole, and vacuum head and set to work. Ann, being of short stature and a person who truly despises the island heat, chooses to clean her pool while she’s inside it – in the buff.

Hell, their yard is completely surrounded by trees and shrubs so who am I to judge how Ann cleans her pool? Enjoy your naked pool chores, Ann!

That day, Ann was also having a small group of friends over for a dinner party (I was one of those guests). Thus, Ann was in a hurry to get her pool cleaned so she could get back to party preparations.

Typically, Ann has her husband turn off the pool pump when she is finished so she can move to the shallow end of the pool and throw the hose out onto the deck. (Ann’s pool is not terribly deep.) That day, Ann’s husband was inside the house doing some last minute preparations. He happened to be passing by the window just as Ann was throwing the hose out of the pool, near the suction valve, while the pool pump was still running. He was not there to do his job.

And that’s when Ann got her breast sucked into the suction line.

With both hands around her breast, Ann frantically tried to pull it out. Ladies, as you may be acutely aware, our “girls” tend to lose a little firmness as we age. Ann’s “girls” are no exception and without that firmness to provide resistance, the suction line had the clear advantage.

All the while, Ann’s husband was in the house, watching in horror, powerless to stop it while laughing hysterically.  Fearful that she would hear him laughing, he went back into the bedroom and stayed there until he regained his self control, until he finally managed to get to the door and ask her if everything was OK.

Ann finally did get her breast back and the dinner party commenced. We arrived and sat down to a lovely meal and great dinner conversation, complete with Ann’s tale of her adventures in pool cleaning. Ann’s a great story teller and brought us all to tears laughing at her misfortune. Though no – we did not wish to see the bruise left behind or any pictures for proof.

So, Island Girls, here’s one more pool maintenance don’t for you:

DON’T clean your pool naked.

DO hire a pool boy!


Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Dominican Republic

Island Girl Since:

December 2010

Originally Hails From:

British Columbia, Canada

Colleen is originally from British Columbia, Canada and worked as an Accountant/Administrator for a massage therapy college. She and her husband moved to the Dominican Republic in December 2010. They moved here with six suitcases containing their remaining worldly treasures and two dogs. Since moving here, they have accumulated another six dogs. Jack is a Collie cross that is 11 years old, Shelby is a Lhaso Apso cross that is 10 years old, Boss is a Belgium Malinois cross that is six years old, Ebony is a Belgium Malinois cross that is five years old, Titch is a Belgium Malinois cross that is three years old, Gaby is a Belgium Malinois cross that is three years old, Mota is a Australian Shepard cross that is almost 2 years old, and Xena is a Dominican Cocomutt that is almost a year old.

Her life on their rock has been interesting, to say the least.  They’ve made a ton of friends and social acquaintances since moving here. Colleen is retired, but most days she is just plain tired. She’s never been so busy in her life. Her 24 year old daughter recently moved here to live with them, so that has brought a whole host of challenges as well.

In her spare time, she likes to garden and her husband has told her that she can’t plant anymore trees.

So life is busy all the time between her dogs, constant social invitations, and squeezing in volunteer work.

For more on Colleen, check out her personal blog.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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