I was selling my house in San Diego in 1999 and moving my family to some place that had decent schools for my kids. I was also teaching in Thailand, so the house was, for the most part, empty. My Vietnamese neighbor was watching the property for me.

On one of my junkets back to the States, I decided to stop by my house with my friend Screech. As I pulled up in my driveway, my neighbor ran out to greet me.

"Wierd person in yard, they there now!" she said hurriedly, pointing towards the back yard. My lawnmower had already been stolen, so I expected to catch a thief in the act. Screech and I headed towards the back where the pool was located. I'm six foot two, Screech is six foot four. It looked like trouble was a'brewing...

In the back yard was a group of 5 folks, all about 18-20 years of age, all hanging out and either inline skating or skateboarding in my pool. At first I was very pissed off, but something was wrong. It took me a minute to figure out what it was... the yard was clean. I had two pet goats in my back yard, and they hung out by the pool, which never worked since I owned the house. Little goat pellets literally covered the back yard when I had left. There was three feet of fungal/algae hell brewing in the pool. Now, the yard was neatly swept, the pool had been completely cleaned out, and they had mowed my back lawn.

When they saw us, they became very nervous (Not because they were scared of the two of us against them, but because they thought I had called the cops). They apologized profusely. When I inquired who had cleaned up the yard, they said some of them and a bunch of local skaters. This particular group was from 200 miles away. They had heard about my seemingly abandoned house having an empty pool on the Internet, so they drove out to enjoy it.

We chatted with them for a while, they turned out to be a nifty bunch of folks. My first impression was the wrong one. I had a very clean back yard, and they had cleaned out my toxic waste dump of a pool. I told them I was signing the papers in two weeks, so if they continued to skate, I didn't know about it (I was still worried about the insurance).

I think the experience was worth having skaters in the pool.