Sigh. Nothing is ever easy. When we put the pool up, the ground was a little wet. The result? The poles sank into the ground a bit on one side - the side that has the drain. We tried to figure out how to drain the pool if we couldn't reach the drain hole to connect the hose. David was all for just syphoning it out. I was convinced that if we applied some kind of lever we could reach the drain, connect the hose, and voila. Well... We applied a lever (a spade covered with a towel to blunt the edges) and I was able to unscrew the drain hole and begin to connect the hose. But because of the angle, I wasn't able to push the hose all the way up into the drain the way it normally works. So the water began to come out of the drain hole, and to drain through the hose. Uh-oh. With David's help we did add a syphon, so we had two hoses draining away from the pool, but it was leaking like crazy all around the pool itself. What a sopping mess! Fortunately, it all ran away from the house.
That was yesterday evening. This afternoon I took the time to take it down. We ended up tossing it - it had sprung a leak on the side (no, not due to my spade; I strongly suspect due to one of the outdoor cats!). Seems like these Walmart pools are good for about two seasons. That's what John Meinzen told me when we got the first one, and I think he's been proven right. We're thinking maybe about getting a more permanent above ground for next year - one we can leave up over the winter. We'll see. I'm just glad to have it all taken down and the yard cleared up.