Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Brief History of Our Pools

The last inflatable pool we had nearly killed the children when it began to deflate around them, so we trekked down to the Mother Ship and requisitioned a new one. It isn’t the first hick-sized pool to darken our doorstep (and lighten my lawn) and I’m sure it won’t be the last, as our history of pools stretches back to the good old days, which is anytime before today I guess.

They seem to last on a year or so. Though it is normally hot all year long around here, we are brainwashed into the tradition of Summer Equals Swimming, so the other nine months of the year, the inflatable pool sits in a flaccid squashy plastic heap on the shelf in the garage… where evil forces go to work.

Somehow, some way, tiny holes magically appear, and by the time the following summer rolls around, the pool holds about as much air as someone with emphaziema. So, like good little consumer, we go buy a new one.

The first pool we had was one of those solid plastic ones that crack into little bits as soon as a few days' worth of sunshine crash into it. Plus, Elsa used it as an enormous water bowl every time we had it out. Natalie liked it, but I think it was missing that extra something babies enjoy looking at. Soon after that, we bought a cute one, a giant whale with big colorful teeth that made dog-toy-esque squeaky noises when you hit them. Natalie loved it. Plus it came with a big shade to protect her baby skin from the sun. Of course, that only meant one more thing to blow up, making me realize how out of shape I am if I can’t even inflate a kiddy pool. It didn’t hold a lot of water, but I’ll bet Natalie thought it was Olympian.

True to form, it died quietly in the garage, awaiting the first rays of the summer sun, but it lasted for two years, which was unusal. I was sad to see it go, but last summer, we replaced it with a much greater pool… the giant frog, alligator, turtle, reptile pool. I was never sure what it exactly was, but it was green and had a face. It’s selling feature was that it sprayed water out of these little nozzles, but I never attached the hose to give it that function. To me, that just says giant waste of water, and no sense in getting the kids hooked on such luxuries as spitting reptiles.

It was Matthew’s first experience in an inflatable pool and to say he liked it was an understatement. But alas, poor Yurik, I knew him well. It too met a similar fate in the garage this winter. It could barely hold enough air to keep the sides ridged enough to retain a few gallons of water. To the trash it went.

Kara scouted out a new pool for the family at Target, and it was time to graduate up to the big leagues. So we doubled our inflatable pool budget for the year and splurged on the $30 model (behold its glory!), a stately round pool with a surprisingly attractive family displayed on the box, each having a most wonderful time. Of course, how two blonde parents could progenate a black-haired Asian-looking kid is beyond me, but maybe they added him to the picture because he was the eight-year-old that assembled the pool in China.

When we brought home the pool, I thought it would be fun to blow it up in the house and let the kids run around in it for a while, like a miniature wrestling ring complete with rubberized sizes to: A) keep everyone inside; and B) keep everyone from bashing their heads on the furniture. Thankfully this time, we also shelled out $20 for the electric air pump, because I don’t think I would have survived the ordeal of pumping air into three valves, filling three separate chambers each holding as much air as the Hindenburg. It never occurred to me, of course until afterwards, that I would have trouble fitting a nine-foot inflated pool down an eight-foot-tall hallway and through a seven-foot door to the backyard.

I threw together a lengthy video of the kids terrorizing each other in the living room… in the pool. It is surprisingly long and none too exciting, so I won’t blame you for not finishing it. If my kids weren’t in it, I certainly couldn’t bare to waste the two minutes of my life. The Beethoven music helps a little, if you like the 9th. I originally planned to use Handel’s “Water Music” as apropos, but I didn’t think anyone would get it…and it’s boring enough without him.

At any rate, Natalie was very insistent that grown-ups swim in the pool too, referring to the box’s picture as proof of the hilarity that would ensue. So, that’s what Kara is doing right now… and if I’m real sneaky, I might be able to get a picture of it, so hold on a second. Nope, no luck, paparazzi are not allowed in the pool area today. I'll have to go upstairs and peer out of the window! However, plopped in the pool, all Kara needs is a can of Budweiser and she’d fit right into any Appalachian Hatfield/McCoy neighborhood.


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