We warned the children we were getting rid of the swimming pool. I swear we warned them. Maybe they didn’t believe us, thinking it was one of our idle threats, like “We’re going to move to the country!” or “We’re going to organize the yogurt containers under the sink!”
But we did get rid of the pool. We tore it down on Saturday, an unseasonably hot day when, ironically, we really could have used a swim.
For some time now, our pool had been showing signs of aging – extensive stains, sliminess, leaking – which, coincidentally are identical to my own signs of aging, not to mention that hardly anyone frolics around me half-naked anymore either.
The pool had lost its will to live, and I had lost my will to vacuum it. In fact, someone asked me this week, “When did you decide to get rid of the pool?” I told her, “About five years ago.” “Oh, when did Debbie decide to get rid of it?” Well, that was this summer. “If we can’t find the leak, we should get rid of it,” she said. As the person who maintained it the most and used it the least (water is wet), this was music to my ears.
I’m positive we mentioned this possibility to the kids.
We never did figure out how it was losing water, and with its years of usefulness (again like me) past, we decided to pull the plug.
I started draining it last week and by Saturday was ready to dismantle. There was still three feet of water in it, but I figured that would drain as I worked. First thing was tools. Correction: first thing was borrow tools. I called Steve.
Along with Steve’s tools, I got Steve. “I’ll come over and help, if you don’t mind,” he said. “I like taking things apart.” A man after my own heart; destroying things: what can go wrong?
While the water drained, we set to work unscrewing the aluminum rim of the pool, then the braces. Soon our good neighbours Clint and Bonnie came over to assist. It was a regular pool party. We unhitched the lip of the liner and began rolling away the siding. By then, there was still about two feet of water trapped in the bowl of the liner. Nothing that a good stab with a crowbar couldn’t fix.
As the water flooded into the neighbours’ yard, we began tearing at the liner and ripping out the pipes like we were polystyrene-starved savages. Soon there was nothing left but a basin of sandy water in the middle of our lawn.
I took a photograph and posted it on Instagram. “Low tide. #byebyepool,” I wrote.
A few minutes later, Abby, our youngest, texted from work: “What the damn hell!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!”
“It was time,” I wrote back. She responded with a sad emoji.
Soon the other children chimed in.
“No way,” Katie wrote from Ottawa.
“What!?” Emily piped up from Montreal.
“WTF,” said James with a GIF from North Bay.
“Wow!!!” commented former neighbour kid Sean from PEI.
Nothing like a bit of yard renos to bring the family and pseudo-family together.
Having gone through the denial phase (“I used the pool all the time!” Abby argued, inaccurately) and anger phase (“I’m still not happy about this decision”: Abby again), the children quickly moved on to the bargaining phase, namely what were we going to put there.
“A hot tub!” suggested Abby. “An infinity pool! A trampoline!”
“How about grass?” I suggested.
“Lame,” James texted.
“Maybe horseshoe pits?” I suggested.
“Better than nothing,” he replied.
“You don’t have to mow around nothing,” I noted.
As with getting rid of the cable no one watched and the land line no one called, the children have jumped right into the acceptance phase. Not that they have a choice. The pool is gone. The last of the water has seeped into the ground and there’s nothing back there but a vast circle filled with sand.
I’ll admit there’s a certain bittersweetness to this, as with any passing. I think in particular of all the pool parties, the cheering and splashing, the floaties and noodles. This marks another stage of the children growing up and moving on.
The cats, however, are here to stay, and I see them eyeing that great big circle of sand in the back yard. They think they’ve gone to heaven.
Getting rid of the stuff of their childhoods is definitely a mixed bag. But there’s always the photographs. I was a little sad when my daughter outgrew the swing set and could still picture in my mind’s eye the many hours she spent on it, chattering away and singing. But hooray for fewer obstacles to mow around.
Precisely. We got rid of the swing set about three years ago when it became clear that using would require a pre-clearance tetanus shot.
Ours was a hand-me-down, so it had about 64 coats of paint on it with a thin veneer of rust.
The thin veneer of rust and the coats of paint were what gave stableness to the construction …
Tried saying “polystyrene-starved savages” out loud, made it to seven before I tripped. People are looking at me now, and I think tweeting. I don’t care, I enjoyed this story very much.
You linked your own condition to that of the pool — blue-green algae blooms would be kind of cool. My father is convinced his health is linked to his car’s, and never goes to the repair shop, without stopping at the doctor’s, too. We all hope the exhaust system holds together this winter.
That phrase went through a couple of drafts until I settled on that alliterative abomination.
I treat my health like my car also: if the check engine light comes on, I ignore it and convince myself it’s nothing to worry about.
“…the former pool, now a vignette of viscous vinyl vivisection.”
You. Are good.
That’s a pretty radical way to check if your kids check your Instagram.
Also, now that you seem to be rethinking the things that take a lot of effort to maintain, I hope this blog isn’t next.
As long as I don’t have to vacuum it, we’re good.
Maybe you don’t have to, but my blog had been collecting a lot of dust lately.
Well at least it doesn’t suck. (Vacuum joke.)
That is perfect, the “hole” of it. Bravo Mr. Murray, wink-wink, back slap from the PNW. Bill
could you just throw a couple of pails and shovels in and call it a sandbox? good fun for all ages, and the cats too, of course.
“Hey, kids, we’re going to the beach!” Could work.
Ross! You’ve got your very own Hole in the Ground!
And, just like me, quite shallow.
A strong post here, pal. Not sure why it affected me in such a way. The kids posting from all points made me blue. That’ll be me someday.
It’s good to know people who VOLUNTEER their service. A bunch of gems.
You could install a quicksand pit. Or a mote and fill it with crocodiles. The possibilities are endless. Just something that doesn’t need chlorine.
Yeah, this is a theme I keep coming back to of late because it doesn’t go away.
As for my pals, they all walked away with salvaged parts so it wasn’t *entirely* altruistic. But mostly altruistic.
I kind of like the circle. I’m calling it a lawn mole.
Do you know what would be cool? If that hole opened a portal to another dimension and you could step through it and correct all the mistakes you made. Then, since it’s on your property, you could charge people a lot of money to use it. Wow. Sign me up.
“Hello, Dr. Freud…?”
That comparison of the pool to you is hilarious!!