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Florida Man Throws Turkey In Pool To Thaw Every Thanksgiving

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Clearwater Man Thaws Turkey in Pool

We’re all for crazy holiday traditions but you’ll have to file this one under “that’s so Florida” – one Clearwater native says it’s become a yearly routine to thaw their thanksgiving turkey in the pool. While plenty of folks have their own way of preparing turkey, Mark O’Donnell says thawing his bird in the pool has been a Thanksgiving tradition for a generation.

“One Thanksgiving we realized we forgot to take the turkey out of the freezer, and our uncle was here from up north. And we just said, ‘hey let’s throw it in the pool,’”, O’Donnell told reporters.

Each year, a different cousin in the family is chosen to hurl the turkey into the pool in order to defrost it.

“Honors to chuck it in the pool are kind of the ridiculousness of it,” O’Donnell said.

Uncle Chuck received the award last year in 2020.

Bullock stated, “I threw it in the water and let it fly.”

The previous year, Aunt Mary Frances had the honor in 2019.

“And that ladies and gentlemen is how you thaw a turkey,” you can hear in one of their videos.

This is obviously an uncommon practice and one you’re bound to only find going on when searching for this type of content. Don’t judge us, we’re into weird holiday traditions. Whether or not thawing your turkey in the pool is completely safe, O’Donnell seems to think it’s legit and it doesn’t seem to have harmed his family in the 18 years they’ve been doing it.

Should You Thaw Your Turkey In The Pool?

O’Donnell said that folks have a lot of questions about the practice. “The turkeys are sealed and we always check for any leaks. So far in 18 years, we’ve only had one that we’ve had to double bag, so there’s no blood in the pool or chlorine in the turkey.”

While we don’t know if we’ll be thawing our bird quite the same way as Mark, we can certainly say that we were quite amused by their holiday tradition.

“If we made somebody smile, good for us. Hopefully they’ll smile Thanksgiving, too,” said O’Donnell. Their family dinner is bound to create lasting memories. His plans to create his ultimate thanksgiving feast will commence after the turkey has a chance to towel off.

Thanksgiving Turkey
“Turned out great!” – Mark O’Donnell

Are We Advising You To Thaw Your Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner In The Pool?

Is this method of thawing your holiday bird FDA approved? Absolutely not! Is it hilarious to watch, it absolutely is. If you’re thinking about making this one your holiday tradition let us remind you that the safest approach to thaw your frozen turkey is to put it in the refrigerator and leave it there for one full day for every five pounds of bird (per the U.S. Department of Agriculture).

Whether O’Donnell and his family will be holding their annual tradition this year, time will tell. Their thanksgiving ritual went viral last year. Guess we’ll all just have to wait for Mark O’Donnell to go live again and find out.

Photo Credits: Mark O’Donnell

5/5 - (1 vote)

Alise Everton has been working in the pool industry for the past decade and is an experienced press correspondent and contributor for numerous trade publications and web portals including PoolMagazine.com and PoolContractor.com among others. Contact her for guest posting opportunities, press releases, and pool equipment related news.

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Rudy Stankowitz
1 month ago

I just had to!!!
I already knew (as we all already know) that there’d be something fowl about floating an icebound gobbler about the pool. So, out of curiosity, I took a visit to butterball.com’s FAQ page, and believe it or not, the cannonball butterball thaw solution was not there. I just couldn’t let it go and jumped on their ‘Turkey Talk’ hotline (that’s really what it’s called) and posed my pool query for their pros to ponder. Taken by surprise, they were altogether unaware of the practice and immediately began to rafter back with concerns about food safety. But I knew going into this they’d be nothing but snoods. I love the article, Alise! Happy Thanksgiving to all – your friendly neighborhood pool guy, Rudy Stankowitz

Lifestyle

Christmas Pool Party Ideas Straight From Santas Workshop

Decorate your pool and patio area for the holiday season with these great Christmas pool party ideas…

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Christmas Pool Party Ideas From Santas Workshop

This holiday season, I’ll be slammed as usual. While the pool industry may have had a busy year, nobody has it tougher than me, let me tell you. If you think your schedule is hectic, try hitting 396 million homes in a single night.

When I’m not racking up frequent flyer miles on my sled, I enjoy getting a chance to check out some truly beautifully decorated homes. It always makes me smile how folks get into the spirit by going all out to make their homes a warm and festive place for the holidays. Mrs. Kringle and I sure know a thing or two about that.

This season we thought we’d share some of our favorite decorations and some great Christmas pool party ideas to help you throw the ultimate holiday-themed pool party.

Christmas Pool Party Decoration Ideas

Creating your own holiday-themed pool party is a snap with the right Christmas decorations.
Creating your own holiday-themed pool party is a snap with the right Christmas decorations. (Photo Credit: Sugar and Cloth)

One of the best ideas for turning your pool and patio into a holiday wonderland is incorporating lights, giant ornaments, and Christmas trees into the backdrop. Adding a few accents like signs, LED votive candles, and getting the firepit going will set the tone for a beautiful holiday-themed pool party.

Pool Christmas Lights - Add a beautiful Christmas light display to make your landscaping pop.
Add a beautiful Christmas light display to make your landscaping pop. (Photo Credit: Christmas Designers)

Creating a gorgeous holiday light show in your backyard is a snap with the right equipment. A beautiful and sophisticated Christmas light display in your pool and patio area creates the ambiance and atmosphere that just put you in the holiday spirit.

When considering which lighting to add, LED lights are always a popular and energy-efficient option. RGB lighting gives you vibrant and colorful displays that make your landscaping pop and add festive accents around the pool area.

Holiday Pool Decor

Christmas Pool Party Idea - Create a beautiful and festive backdrop for making great holiday memories.
Create a beautiful and festive backdrop for making great holiday memories. (Photo Credit: Texas Pools & Patios)

Building a beautiful inground pool with the right features for a fabulous pool party is always a good call. Decorating your backyard with simple elegant white Christmas lights on the trees, and uplighting in your landscaping creates a joyous holiday atmosphere. Sitting with my friends and loved ones by the firepit and enjoying a cup of egg nog is one of my popular pass times up in the North Pole.

Christmas Pool Party Decor
A sophisticated and elegant Christmas Pool Party with all the right decor. (Photo Credit: Special Event Lighting)

If you’re throwing a pool party outdoors, there are lots of options for creating atmosphere in the backyard. Putting up a Christmas tree and adding decor like boxed presents, lighting, and decorations help bring the indoors outdoors. Turning on the water features like deck jets creates a harmonious back setting, especially if they are LED lit. Adding rope lighting to your pergola, pavilion or outdoor kitchen area adds the perfect accent lighting.

Pro Tip on Christmas Trees by the Pool

Christmas Pool Decorations
Adding the right accents and decorations around the pool area is important. (Photo Credit: Blue Whale Tile)

Now when discussing adding holiday decor to your pool and spa area, one thing I’ve found is that artificial Christmas trees tend to be the best call around the pool. For one thing, if you heat your pool and are actively using it during the winter months, splashing pool chemicals and real Christmas trees aren’t always the best mix. Aside from a tendency for pine needles to migrate into the pool, water can also be splashed about by swimmers. This fact makes using artificial trees for outdoor Christmas decor the better call when decorating for the holidays.

Elf on The Shelf - Pool
You’re bound to find an Elf on the Shelf by the pool once you’ve decorated it properly. (Photo Credit: Merlin Industries)

Now if you’ve followed these holiday decorating tips to the letter, you’re sure to attract a few elves. A tastefully decorated backyard is the perfect oasis for your family and friends. Consequently, once you’ve added your holiday decor don’t be surprised if guests drop in. Finding an elf or two lounging pool side is always a good sign. It means that you’ve checked all the right boxes and your backyard is ready for the holidays.

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Lifestyle

Animals In The Pool

Animals In The Pool – Finding wildlife in your pool might actually be more common than you think.

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Animals In The Pool - Jake Paul Actually Wants Giant Snakes In His Swimming Pool

Homeowners go to great lengths to ensure that animals don’t get in the pool. When animals get into your swimming pool, havoc can ensue. Installing a pool fence or wall around your backyard is no guarantee that wildlife won’t pay a visit. Let’s face it, your swimming pool is a natural watering hole for all sorts of wildlife. Animals may be prone to want to visit your pool when you’re not around.

Animals in the pool - raccoons, squirrels, frogs, lizards, birds are the most common.

Statistically speaking, the most common animals you’ll find in your swimming pool are creatures like frogs, snakes, raccoons, squirrels, and birds. However, there are plenty of other larger wildlife that are eager to make use of your swimming pool as well.

Bears Are Naturally Drawn To Swimming Pools

Making it a habitable environment for creatures to visit is never a good idea. Keeping snacks about and your pool cover open when you’re not home is practically an engraved invitation for animals to want to visit your pool.

Yogi came for the snacks you left out and to take a dip. No big deal, just leave him a towel.

Finding a bear in your backyard is a very realistic proposition for homeowners that live up in bear country. Leaving food items unattended, and an oasis, like a swimming pool is very inviting for bears. If you do happen to live in area where bears are prevalent, take precautions. Spraying animal repellant, bringing food indoors, using an automatic pool cover and automatic sprinkler system are both great ways to keep bears away.

Bambi & His Abormal Love For Pools

Deer are another form of wildlife that are naturally drawn to swimming pools. The fact that they can easily jump over a fence means that they are not an effective deterrent for these animals. During hot summer months, deer may be drawn to your swimming pool, thinking it is a watering hole.

You may wake up one morning and say ‘Bambi, what are you doing here?’

While they may be beautiful to look at, deer aren’t very good swimmers. You’re just as likely to find one on the bottom of your pool as you are to hear one frolicking about in the shallow end. A smart way to deter deer from entering your backyard is to use deer deterrent spray. The animals find the scent repulsive and will definitely give your swimming pool a wide berth.

Cougars & Mountain Lions

Another animal that may naturally be drawn to your pool are cougars and mountain lions. In rural parts of the country, these creatures may come down from the hills to want to use your swimming pool as their own personal watering hole. The typical animal repellants we’ve recommended should keep a mountain lion from wanting to make your swimming pool, their swimming pool

Animals in the pool - cougars and mountain lions are naturally drawn to water.
Animals in the pool – cougars and mountain lions are naturally drawn to water.

Homeowners that live in places like California, Oregon, and Colorado have the highest populations of mountain lions in the country. While certainly not as likely as finding a bear or deer in your pool, you could quite likely come across one of these animals if you live in a state known for high populations of mountain lions.

Alligators In The Pool

Finding an alligator in your swimming pool may sound far-fetched, but not if you live in Florida. The sunshine state is known for a prolific amount of alligators. Over 1.3 million alligators live in Florida right along side homeowners with luxurious pools.

Finding an alligator in your pool is entirely possible in Florida.
Finding an alligator in your pool is entirely possible in Florida.

While by no means a common occurrence, at least a few times each year, a local down in Florida or elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, will report finding an alligator swimming around in their pool. One story that recently comes to mind are the homeowners in Florida who came outside one evening to find a 9-foot gator doing laps in their pool.

Pigs In The Pool

Boars and wild pigs can get trapped in your pool.
Boars and wild pigs can get trapped in your pool.

Okay, this one isn’t very likely to happen unless you happen to live in a place known for wild pigs. It has been known to happen though. Some homeowners who live in areas known for wild boars or feral pigs have woken up to the surprise squealing of a pig in their pool.

Swimming with the pigs actually sounds kind of fun.
Swimming with the pigs actually sounds kind of fun. Credit: Pinterest

Pigs are actually pretty terrific swimmers. The famous Swimming Pigs in the Exumas are a testament to how these animals love swimming. Consequently, they are naturally drawn to pools.

Hippos In The Pool – Hey… It Could Happen.

While certainly uncommon, one homeowner in Botswana woke up to find a hippopotamus using his inground pool. Okay, we’ve got nothing here. If you live in an area of the world prone to hippo invasions, you’re on your own.

Don't let hippos get in your pool even for a dip!
Don’t let hippos get in your pool even for a dip! – Credit: Reddit

After the hippo was through using the pool as his own personal oasis, the homeowner had their hands full removing over 100 pounds of hippo dung from the bottom of his pool. That’s definitely not a job any pool service guy in the United States wants to try and tackle.

Sharks In The Pool

Finally, there are the sharks in the pool. What, wait a minute… yeah, we’re just kidding about that last one. Thankfully ‘Jaws’ is the last animal on earth you’ll find hanging out in the deep end of your pool. While some sharks have been known to leap out of the water in pursuit of prey, the odds of one hopping into your pool are nil. Still, there are a fair amount of people who have some abnormal fear about sharks in the pool. There’s actually a clinic name for this weird fear called Galeophobia.

Finding a shark in the pool isn't very likely.
Finding a shark in the pool isn’t very likely. Credit: Buzzfeed

Then There’s The People Who Actually Want Animals In Their Pool

Some people like YouTubers Dudeson and Jake Paul actually went to great lengths to get animals in their swimming pool. The video below shows them swimming with not one but two 10 foot snakes in the pool.

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Lifestyle

Pool Cabanas & Pool Pavilions Are Ideal Outdoor Living Solutions

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Pool Cabanas, Pool Pavilions, and Pool Houses Becoming More Popular With Homeowners

Pool cabanas and pool pavilions are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners who are looking for a more completed custom backyard. When considering whether to add one or both on to your swimming pool project, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions first. The answers to those questions will help you determine whether it truly makes sense. This short article by no means will answer all of the questions you may have about pool cabanas and pavilions. It does however, cover a few we here at Pool Magazine wanted to answer for homeowners who may be considering building one.

Outdoor living solutions like this offer the ability to create the ultimate outdoor kitchen. – Photo Credit: Creative Environments

Questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to build a Pool Cabana or Pool Pavilion

  1. Do you need a shaded area for entertaining guests pool side? Perhaps you’re looking for a covered area to barbecue or additional seating area out of the sun. There are many alternatives to constructing a pool pavilion. Building a pavilion adds a more permanent shaded structure. Many home owners opt to add seating, outdoor entertainment systems, sound systems, a wet bar, and even an outdoor kitchen to their pool pavilion. The costs for outfitting one alone can easily equate to what was spent on construction.
  2. Do you require a private area for guests to change in and out of their swim suits? Having friends and guests wander soaking wet in and out of your house to use the toilet isn’t always ideal. Many homeowners opt to build a pool cabana and include outdoor plumbing facilities which allow pool guests a comfort area separate from the house. Many homeowners opt to build them in such a fashion so that they can double as a guest house or granny flat when needed.
  3. How much does a pool pavilion cost? According to Toronto pool builder, Denis Nadeau, they build approximately 10-20 pavilions each year; starting prices for construction of a pool pavilion can range anywhere from $20,000-$40,000 depending on the size and materials you choose. “Prices for lumber have begun to come back down to normal levels, but are still high in many parts of the U.S. and Canada, expect to pay towards the higher end if you live in one of those depressed markets.” said Nadeau.
  4. How much does a pool cabana cost? According to Nadeau, starting prices for a pool cabana can range anywhere from $30,000-$100,000 or more depending on the size, amenities and materials used for construction. The average cabana they build can cost upwards of $40,000 which can cost almost as much as an entry level inground pool in many areas of the country.

Pool Houses Versus Pool Cabanas

A pool house is exactly what it sounds like: a second house on your property with additional rooms for guests who prefer their own spac such as a kitchen, game area, or even a spare bedroom. A pool house can also be smaller and functional as a simple place detached from the home that allows for a comfortable area to change in and out of your bathing suit. In order to create a pool house, you’ll need all the necessary permits and licenses, including a building permit.

Differences Between a Cabana and a Pool House

It’s common to use the term “cabana” to a pool house, but they are not to be used interchangeably. A pool cabana is three-sided roofed building meant to provide shade and seclusion for people relaxing by the swimming pool. While many still require a permit, others are less permanent structures and they do not require a building permit.

Whether you’re building a full-featured pool house or more of an outdoor changing room, remember that it all needs to be part of the entire pool project and landscape. They can be somewhat camouflaged by planting trees and shrubs (if you have the property), but these things are huge so plan on them being a focal point in the backyard.

A Beautiful Pool House Design Should Compliment the Main House

Ideally, if you’re looking to build one of these; you want to design a structure that is both visually beautiful and smoothly blends with the architecture of the home. Your pool house should look like it was part of the house when you gaze out at it from the window of your home. Similarly, the view back to your house should be equally integrated when viewed from the pool house. The overall landscape benefits greatly from creating that strong visual connection between the two structures.

Architecturally connecting the design of the Pool House with the Main House creates a visually pleasing aesthetic.
Architecturally connecting the design of the Pool House with the Main House creates a visually pleasing aesthetic.

Options to Consider Concerning Pool Cabanas & Pavilions

Ultimately, there are plenty of reasons that homeowners have for choosing whether or not to build a pool cabana or pavilion, but the number one issue for many may have nothing to do with price. The square footage requirements for both of these types of home improvement projects both are ideal for larger sized lots. Squeezing a pavilion into a tiny backyard that is barely big enough for the pool is never ideal. Space saving alternatives to building a pavilion; building a pergola or installing a retractable awning. Both of those solutions are exponentially less expensive than constructing a pavilion and are effective shading solutions. You also don’t need a ton of space to build a beautiful little pool house to use as a changing room for guests.

Building a beautiful and functional pool house has become popular with pool buyers. Photo Credit: Your Backyard Haven

Alternatives to Building a Pool Cabana

There are many alternatives to building a pool cabana as well, however none are as attractive or offer the same amount of privacy or versatility in terms of multipurpose usage. If you stack up a fully stocked pool cabana with toilet, shower and sink, versus a screen and portable toilet, you will find the latter sorely wanting. Ultimately it comes down to budget, what’s in the budget will often dictate which direction you go.

Why a Pool Cabana Makes Sense

Plenty of people want a pool, and don’t want the hassle of having their guests traipse around their home to use the facilities or grab a snack. If you have the means, and it’s in the budget, a pool cabana makes absolute sense.

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