My New Lap/Kiddie Pool is Named Digital Basics…. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

My New Lap/Kiddie Pool is Named Digital Basics....

This is my recently finished pool. Below some will enjoy the construction sequence. Thanks to Jim Litzenberg who created about half of the images below in my absence.

My New Lap/Kiddie Pool is Named Digital Basics….

When I was younger I loved to play three-man basketball. Fifteen or twenty hours a week in college and beyond. Thanks to my bad left knee and more, those days are long gone. In my thirties I jogged six days a week, up to six miles. Very, very slowly. The knee and a bad back put an end to that. In my forties long health walks were pretty much my only exercise. In my fifties, then living in Florida as I do now, I purchased a Stairmaster for my home and used it often when I was not traveling. Now in my sixties the walking has been about it. If I jog as few as 25 steps my left knee comes a calling, and three days on the Stairmaster has the same result.

When I was at my Mom’s on Long Island in August I started swimming laps in the community pool at Timber Ridge in Holbrook. (I had loved to swim as a kid.) It was fun, it provided some much needed cardio-vascular exercise, and it lowered my blood sugar levels a lot. And swimming does not stress the joints like basketball, jogging, and the Stairmaster. Unless you over-do it which of course I did. But I switched from the crawl to an easy breast stroke and within a week my shoulders were fine.

When I got home I began to consider building a lap pool in my backyard. Once I made the decision things moved quickly. (I quickly rejected the idea of a “small swim against the current” pool.) I hired Ron Sullins of Casual Way Pools in nearby Lake Wales despite the fact that others offered to build the “same” pool for $10,000 less… I was 100% confident in Ron from the moment that I met him. My plans for a lap pool with a kiddie pool sidecar were unique; Ron listened carefully, assured me that he could build it, and wrote up a quote. Within days a signed contract was in place. For the largest backyard pool that Ron had built in his 30 years in the business. I had thought that the pool of my dreams would cost about $35,000. The price tag for the finished pool that you see above was $67,000. Thus the name “Digital Basics.” At the time of construction we had sold about 3,350 copies of Digital Basics at (only) $20 each. Do the math… Here’s a huge thank you to all who have purchased Digital Basics (and of course to all who regularly visit the BAA On-Line store and to those who attend IPTs and seminars).

The pool was ready for swimming when I got back from Bosque. As you might guess, I dove right in and started swimming a half mile twice a day. By the fourth day I had trashed my shoulders again. When I was 12, my Mom, who is sitting beside me as I type, said, “This child does not know the meaning of the word moderation.” I guess that some things never change….

Above: trimming the one oak tree that needed to be sacrificed…

The first cut…


A most humble beginning…

Digging the pool.

The gravel allowed them to work around the ground water; we had had record huge rains just before they began…

Beginning the framing work.

Framing complete.

Foreman Patrick and crew building the side support walls. That’s Glenn on the left and Piggy in the back.

Side support walls and reinforced steel grid in place.

Applying gunnite to the bottom of the pool.

And to the sides…

More floor work; note the roughed out steps in the kiddie pool corner.

Working towards perfection…

Gunnite shell complete.

Patrick landscaping :).

The supply truck hauled just about everything to the job site.

Relocating the home air conditioner compressor/condenser unit.

A/C unit move complete.

Destroying the old “new” patio. (I added two large rooms to my home last year, my new large office with the 60 inch flat screen and a large gallery room.)

Installing the decorative blue tiling.

The completed, tiled pool shell ready for the deck to be poured.

Pouring the deck.

Finishing the deck. This crew–like the crews of all the other sub-contractors, settled only for perfection.

The completed deck.

The patio roof.

Framing for the screened-in pool enclosure completed.

Adding the screening.

The completed pool enclosure (with screening).

Applying the final blue plaster finish.

Pretty much complete but for the pool machinery and lots of clean-up work.

Heater/Chiller on the right, (saltwater) filtration system in the center.

Adding that most necessary component: water.

The filled pool after clean-up with the non-skid decorative finish applied to the deck.

A view of the completed pool from just outside my office. The lap section is 60 feet long by 12 feet wide, 4 1/2 to five feet deep in the center of the lane. The shallower kiddie pool section for my four grandkids is 15 feet by 15 feet.

Looking back down the swim lane towards my home. My office is just inside the French doors that were suggested by Denise Ippoltio before the pool was even a dream.

A view of the kiddie pool section.

A fabulous job well done by all.

25 comments to My New Lap/Kiddie Pool is Named Digital Basics….

  • Dr. T.J. McKeon

    Artie, Your “fountain of youth” is beautiful! Have a great trip to Antarctica.

  • Thanks for the great photo/documentary essay.

    The pool complex is a work of art, Art ! Your artisans were fabulously talented.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thank you so much & I am glad you are satisfied!

  • Therese S

    I’m glad my well spent money has gone to something so cool. And look at all those people you employed as well! You’ve earned this.

  • KingBolete

    I wish I had a setup like that. Most of the time you find kidney pools which are not good for too much or pure lap pools which are only good for exercise.

    I dinked around with swimming as exercise on and off for 20 years; then I tried triathloning last year. As part of that I looked into improving my performance in the pool. One technquie was swimming intervals which is a good way to get faster but aren’t much fun. A complementary way to get better is to improve your technique and strength. I found the book “Mastering Swiming” by Jim Montgomery helpful for getting pointers to on my technique including some simple drills (they’re actually more fun than just swimming laps). I also got a “Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel” which I use for some of the drills and warm up. The swimmers snorkel lets you concentrate on the drill or your form rather than worrying about breathing. One interesting drill involves paddling a length using only one arm and this is somewhat awkward without the snorkel. Even if you’re not going to ever try and compete trying to improve your technique provides a little more variety to the swim workout.

    I designed it myself :). I am swimming baby step: just and easy breast stroke with lots of kicking…. Still lowers my blood sugars beautifully. artie

  • Well deserved Artie as Digital Basics is a steal for US$20. I have some similar publications from a number of your peers. Not only are they inferior, they typically cost more and there are no free updates.

    Many thanks Paul! Safe travels in 2012. artie

  • Jack

    Artie, I use a pair of shorty fins to take some of the pressure off my shoulders for the last ten years (no more shoulder problems). I swim 1.2 to 1.5 miles four days a week and rarely have back pain anymore. Now all I need is to learn to take photos like you. I’m working on it.

    Thanks. I already use a mask, snorkel, and fins. Are shorty fins better than regulars? (Note: I only do an easy breast stroke…) artie

  • nelson pont

    Looks great! Mazeltov! When can I come over for a swim?

    Have a Healthy New Year

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks to all for the good pool and holiday wishes. artie

  • Ted Willcox

    Very interesting to see how the pool was constructed,excellent job Jim. So much more interesting then seeing just the finished product.Enjoy!! May you and your family and Jim, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • Gene Herzberg

    Congratulations, enjoy the pool and your grandchildren. I have learned so much from your books and blog. Glad to have made a small contribution to the pool.

  • Beautiful, Artie…Mazel Tov! As someone else asked, when, exactly, will you have time to enjoy it given your crazy schedule? Maybe those of us who “helped” could pool-sit for you while you’re away .

    Seriously, though, use it in good health for a VERY long time!


  • Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Who will enjoy the pool the most? Grandpa or grandkids? I’m sure it will be nice to have a pool such as that to take a break in while you are working. I wish you, your family and your loved ones a very Happy and Healthful New Year.

    It will likely be a tie but I will be in it a lot more, at least when I am home. BTW, tanks a stack! artie

  • Jim Crabb

    You’re a wise man to be thinking of your grand kids at the same time. I’m sure they will enjoy it – just another good reason to come to grandpa’s. Since I live in Florida I know you have to have that big screened area to keep out the leaves and mosquitoes that can seem as big as small birds. Thanks for sharing!

    YAW and thank you. Jen’s kids will be regular visitors (along with their friends I hope)> Lissy and here family are coming down for a week in May for Sam’s (Jen’s son) bar mitzvah. artie

  • Andrea Boyle

    PS: Good suggestion and use for French doors. They look nice on the house and I bet even better from inside!

    It was Denise Ipplito who suggested the French doors. artie

  • Andrea Boyle

    So awesome! And, I’m so glad my purchase of DB helped with the kiddie pool! (ha ha) But do you really need a cover over the pool in Florida? I get out in my hot tub every morning,at least 360 days a year in Oregon, no matter the weather. I pull my overhang out a few times if it is pouring, but otherwise I get in. (OK, I may need to wear a silly rain hat) Is the weather that severe down there that you need an enclosure? Just curious… I love it, tho!! With the mobility problems I’ve had (ex runner and dancer) I’d do the same!

    Thanks! The cover is just fine screening. As Jim said correctly below, bugs and leaves. artie

  • Chris Cooke

    Congrats Artie, I now also swim about 5 miles a week at my local pool in Winter and the same in the sea during our warmer months to control my blood sugar which now is a regular 4.5. To make the sea swim more interesting I am getting a Aquatica Housing for my 5DMKII and my new 8-15 f/4L and have added fins to put more gentle pressure on my legs.

    Enjoy your pool old Master and keep healthy (I chucked my exercise bike out at long last).

    Thanks Chris. And way to go on the A1c! artie

  • Super!!! Remind me the area of the country in which you live.

    Polk County, Florida, USA. 70 miles from the ocean at Vero Beach and 100 miles from the Gulf in St. Petersburg. artie

  • Pat Dunnuck

    When are you going to have time to enjoy it?? Looks great!

    I will be home for the most part for many months after Japan and am looking forward to that. artie

  • Jay Gould

    When is the BPN Party?

    Enjoy Mate!

    Stop by any time for a swim and some crane photography. artie

  • Charlie Young

    Congrats on the new pool. Use it in good health.

  • lowell dickson

    The only thing missing is you in a thong bikini. Oy veh!

    Oy vey indeed! artie

  • Jim Howell

    Way down the left side, about the middle – that blue one that’s slightly darker than the others, that’s MY tile! (I prefer not to think I’m gunnite). If I’d known you were going to do this I’d have purchased two copies of Digital Basics! Congratulations Artie and many happy days of laps.

  • cheapo

    Very nice. All that, just for the price of a decent car? A bargain!

    Thanks. Where I come from that would be a very decent car… artie

  • Congrats Artie, well deserved and an entertaining photo sequence!

    Many thanks. Keep making those great images. artie