EDMONDS, Wash. -- On the hottest days of the year, Kelly Beetham gets to spend several hours each daybeside the pool, but he barely gets to go inside the pool.
As owner of Aquaviva -- a pool-cleaning company -- he experiences this mild form of water torture every summer.
Withthis kind of weather,as hot as it is, it's hard to do my job, Beetham said. I can hardly get into the pool.
Still, Beetham loves his job.
What's not to love about being the pool man? he asked.
What started as a high-school job to earn gas money has turned into a cubicle-free career. He cleans beautiful, high-tech pools with gorgeous views of Puget Sound. After 27 years in the business, Beetham estimates that he has performed at least 50,000 cleanings, including, he said, artist Dale Chihuly's pool, which has a bottom that is lined with art glass.
When I come home and my neighbor sees me, she hollers, 'Oh, pool boy!' he said with a laugh. Now I like to think of myself as the pool man.
After the heat wave that hit Seattle the past few days, It can be frustrating to spend so much time walking the edges of pools that he cannot enter.But Beetham keeps his sense of humor.
Even if I go in their pool, they're not going to be happy about it. I'm 42, he said. When I was 18 to 22, they were pretty happy I was swimming in the pool. I mean, I had a 6-pack.
When Beetham knows a heat wave is coming, he keeps busy, but he also dials back his routine a bit. Knowing that kids will spend a lot of time in the pool, his priority is making sure the chemicals are not too strong.