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
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
(Originally published in August 2007.)
Have a great day, people, and stay cool however you can.