Thursday, July 31, 2008

Personally, I Think the Whole Thing's a Scam to Drive Even More People to the Municipal Swimmin' Pool

The thought occurred to me last night that includin' today, if I don't go into labor before my due date, I only have to get through THREE MORE DAYS of wearin' my big girl pants before my own Mama gets here and I can finally pull out a bureau drawer, shred some newspaper and curl up and await my time in relative peace.

It's a good thing, too, because I'm not-so-gradually losin' my faculties at such a rate that I think by next Monday afternoon I'll have come to a point of utter uselessness, perhaps even posing danger to myself and those around me. This morning Bean innocently handed me the remote control to the bedroom TV and asked me to change the bedroom TV to PBS Kids for her. Well, I tried and tried and TRIED to accommodate this simple request, getting more and more frustrated by the minute, thinking I was gonna have to GET UP OUT M'BED and go change the channel MANUALLY, when it finally dawned on me I was holdin' the remote backwards.

I had the business end of the thing pointed at my own midsection.

I don't know exactly when Peanut's gonna be born, but I can tell y'all this much, when he does come out, he's gonna be set on Channel 11.


It's hot up here. I sweat a full mustache and a pair of liquid sideburns in about 3 seconds flat if I so much as look out a window. I'd get Al to set up our kiddie pool on the back porch so Bean and I could soak lazily in it like a Mama hippo and her offspring, but somebody blew the whistle and the village constable showed up on the doorstep of several of our neighbors' homes to point out that kiddie pools large enough to accommodate actual life-sized human children are against the law in these parts unless you have a fence around your property.

As my neighbor Tracei aptly pointed out, "So what you're saying is, in order for me to legally utilize my $40 kiddie pool, I'll need to install a $6000 fence?"

(I've always appreciated Tracei's lightening-quick grasp and summations of life's bitter little ironies.)

So the next morning, the neighborhood resounded with the - F-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-t! - deflation of fortyleven kiddie pools (and the children who loved 'em, too.)

Which caused my mind to harken back to one particularly hot, humid afternoon in the FriedOkra's backyard last summer...

(Insert swirly flashback music-and-video sequence here.)


"... and while we're on the subject of disgusting and pools, allow me to relate to you yesterday's aqueous adventure.

We have a kiddie pool on the back porch. Now, when I was a kid, a kiddie pool held 8 gallons max and got dumped out at the end of the day and leaned against the side of the house beside the air conditioner compressor. Keeping it clean was as simple as turning on the hose-pipe and giving it a good rinse. Badda bing badda bam badda boom, done.

Nowadays a kiddie pool's a whole 'nother ball of wax. The one we have is 10, count 'em, 10 feet in diameter, and fills to 28 inches deep. With the hose on so high that the pressure threatened to suck the washing machine, the refrigerator, the dishwasher and all the plumbing on our home's ground floor out into the backyard through the pipes, it still took three full hours to fill that badboy up. It's one of those softsided pools made of vinyl-ish type stuff, and the water itself holds the sides up and out. It's a feat of engineering, I'll tell ya. A feat of engineering.

This kiddie pool has its own pump, and it requires pool chemicals just like a regular big people pool. And I kept up with the chemicals as best I could for a busy preoccupied lazybones woman like myself. But here lately we've been getting a wee mite o' rain (constant torrential downpours), and rain, I humbly submit, appears to be Pool Enemy #3. When I sallied forth to the back porch yesterday afternoon with Bean already decked out in her swimsuit, I was shocked to find that the kiddie pool had been replaced at some point over the course of the past three days and nights with a mammoth bowl of guacamole.

Which was not a problem for Bean, apparently, because when I intimated (after close scrutiny, of course) that this particular shade of green did in fact not appear anywhere on my trusty Pool Chemical Balance charts, much less in the Acceptable Level range, and therefore she would NOT be swimming in it this afternoon, she begged quite vehemently to differ with my conclusion. After several moments' negotiation, we established that to wun fwoo da spwinkler would provide sufficient alternative diversion, and arrangements for such were hastily brought about.

Which left me alone in my reverie, up guacamole creek, and without a corn chip at that.

This being our first year as proud kiddie-pooligans, we at FriedOkra Manor have not absorbed the full depth and breadth of above-ground poolology. Among the portions of said science left altogether unconsidered by us up to this point was the eventual un-filling of the pool. To say that contemplating the dispersal of 8 million gallons of pungently neglected, infected water left me a little baffled would be a gross understatement. Nevertheless I knew the deed needed doing and was not about to inflict it upon the dear, sweet HoneyBunny, who in one recent gesture of thoughtfulness and generosity absolved himself of several months' worth of responsibility for Household Atrocity Resolution, so I rolled up my sleeves and began to drain the pool in the best way I could figure, which was to push down hard on the side of it and allow gallon after gallon of slimy, buggy, scummy sludge-water to drain out, over my hands and my feet and legs up to my knees.

This went on well past the point at which the sprinkler could hold Bean's attention. Soon she was at my side and up to her chest in the toxic flow, shreiking with joy and abandon that IT'S WIKE DA OSHIN, MAMA! WOOK AT DESE WAVES! IT'S A-MAAAAAAZING! And yes, I concurred, it was in fact amazing. Now geddouddahere!

Soon enough, the hastily exiting water and the water still in the pool reached a point of stasis or equilibrium, and the remaining water held the sides of the pool up to just such a level that pushing them down no longer created enough of an opening for any decent quantity to escape, so it fell upon me to provide the leverage necessary to bring the water UP enough to go OVER. And this is where the whole thing nearly fell apart.

Because providing leverage for the remaining 2 million gallons of slimy stagnant water encapsulated in a gigantic algae-covered blue plastic bag can best be summed up as Jello wrestling, only with STANK.

Are you with me, visually? I am slogging around in the backyard as the daylight wanes, mosquitoes draining the life out of me, managing the pedal-to-the-metal activity of a toddler while simultaneously attempting to flip a 10-foot jellyfish named Fat Albert onto its back.

In the end, I was triumphant. Wet, stanky and furious, but triumphant nonetheless. I dragged the pool's empty carcass into the garage and draped it over Al's car, then collected all the tubing, valves and wires and put them away for storage, while Bean carted all of the pool toys inside and put them away heaven only knows where."

(Originally published in August 2007.)


Have a great day, people, and stay cool however you can.

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  1. TOO FUNNY! You didn't mention how you have to replace the sod in the backyard - at least that's what we had to do....(not from the infested water, from the hole left by imprint of the pool.)

  2. "when he does come out, he's gonna be set on Channel 11."

    Thanks for the giggle that escaped me as I read this with groggy, sleep-infested eyes!

  3. Megan, Everytime I think of getting one of these pools, I remind myself of this exact thing and the stinch and slime that goes with it. YUCK!! The fun would only last for literally 3 days. Thanks for the chuckle and the reminder. Heather and Cami

  4. oh, love the line about the remote. that is so something I would do.

  5. Our little kiddie pool is a doggy pool.. When my son was growing up, we actually had two. One for the dog and one for the kids. I can still hear my son yelling - MOM can you get Seamus out of my pool. Thus, the reason for a second one.

    and thent here is the good old slip n slide

    I can't believe someone would complain about your pools - I thought they only did that stuff here in Whitefish Bay.

    I love the clicker part of the story.

  6. Awesome, awesome, awesome post. I wish I could come over and you could tell me stories all day long.

  7. Early this summer we ventured to the store with every intention to purchase ourselves a kiddie pool. I was simply looking for one of the 8 gallon, dump em out at the end of the day kind, but my attention was rather quickly diverted to the bigger more luxurious kiddie pools (should luxurious and kiddie pool even go together?). Lookin at the kids, then the pools, then back at the kids... we went home with a new sprinkler and water balloons.

  8. This was brilliant. Thank you for the chuckles this morning!

    Reminds me too, of the day that my grandfather was trying to take a picture of our family when we were visiting. After many, long, confusing attempts at capturing the moment ("One two three SMILE...wait, what's happening here...), my father hesitantly spoke up and pointed out, " You've got the remote control there."

    Good times.

  9. You should have pushed the mute button while you were trying to change the channel on Peanut. In a few week I bet you'll be wishing that would work in the middle of the night. Not that I ever pointed our TV remote control at my infant Princess and pushed the ever living daylights out of the mute button hoping that it would work because nothing else would stop the crying. No. Never happened.

  10. Yup. been there. I am now the proud possessor of a real 'big boy' pool, and I don't dare go a day without testing. The dreaded guacamole syndrome is even more fearful when it involves an 18 foot pool that hold 7500 gallons of water. So far so good.

    Mary, mom to many happy splashers

  11. Oh give me a break, Homeowner's Association! Like kiddie pools in anyway lower the value of the property. You know, they could just ask that everyone put them away at the end of the day. HOA's are a double edged sword.

    As far as the whole remote thing, I do that stuff all of the time -- can it still be pregnancy brain if I haven't birthed a child in a year and a half? :-)

  12. Brilliant post, Megan.

    I'll start gathering newspapers for you to shred. (LOVED THAT!)

  13. Your posts always make me smile!! Wishing you lots of A/C, a cool breeze and a tall glass of lemonade while you wait for your sweet little Peanut's arrival...or maybe a medium glass of lemonade to reduce the number of bathroom visits? :)

    Take care,

  14. Whew I'm exhausted after reading that post about the pool...somehow I missed that one last year.

    I laughed so hard reading this post that my husband instisted I read it to him - he said that you have a very great literary mind. :)

  15. THUS why we have a kiddie pool of the old fashioned variety--5' of thin hard plastic that gets bent and popped back into place, filled and dumped out. And most importantly, requires no chemicals.

  16. I remember the pool escapade - not something to be repeated. However - there are far to many rules and regulations. You should be able to have a pool in your yard!
    Stay cool!

  17. You sound like me when I was ready to be done with pregnancy! I have definately done the remote control incident many times while I was pregnant. Your post brought back a lot of memories...

  18. Yep, so right with you there on the pool. I just got Andy to dump ours out...

  19. well at least you haven't lost your sense of humor.... yet anyway. Praying that little bogger comes soon, and be tuned on channel 11