Monday, July 11, 2011

Pool Party

A few years ago I started down a slippery slope without knowing it and now that I'm sliding, I can only see the top of the slope receding and at a faster pace. Let me explain.

It started out innocently enough when our daughter turned two, we bought one of those hard plastic kiddie pools with a little slide at the neighborhood box store. She loved wading around in it on those hot summer days and still does three years later. However, she is starting to outgrow the slide and even the available space not occupied by the slide. I was already over the crest on the slippery slope but wasn't really sliding and still felt safe. That all changed.

One particular hard day at work when I got home and got the lawn mowed, my feet were killing me. They were two burning embers and felt as if they were never going to cool down. Then I started noticing how comfortable my daughter looked in her kiddie pool splashing in all the clear, cool water. So I drug my home built reclining wooden love seat over to the pool and plopped in my two tired dogs into the water. Yawza! That really felt good. By the time my daughter was tired of swimming, my feet felt much refreshed and cooled down. I wonder what it would feel like if the pool was big enough to allow me to recline in it comfortably...

The speed down the slope started picking up rapidly here.

Then one day while browsing for something else online that I needed, I saw a picture of one of those big backyard above ground pools and the people having so much fun. I don't have any space in my yard flat enough for one of those things nor enough space but perhaps there was a compromise size... one that might fit on the lower deck of my house but not big enough to turn in into a pile of kindling in the dirt and the subject of some viral video. I typed a few key words into my favorite online shopping search engine and saw it.

For the tune of $80, I could set myself up with an eight foot diameter pool that could hold up to 30" of water and came with a pool pump and filter. For another $6, it had a cover. I did the math and decided that was way to much weight even for my well built deck but I did something that accelerated me down that slippery slope. On a whim, I got a flashlight and looked under the deck. Even though the deck is bolted securely to my  concrete foundation on two sides and the span is not all that big, it had plenty of joists under it AND a whole lot of extra posts in the center of it that sat on the old concrete pad below. It was almost as if someone had specifically planned for that deck to hold a whole lot of weight. So I bought it.

Going even faster now.

It came and I set it up and on the 4th of July, after suffering in my master bathroom trying to put the finishing touches on a nearly done project, I was hot and needed cooling down. I had filled it up a couple days earlier and despite the extra reinforcing my deck had, I was still cautious and filled it up slowly listening and looking for any signs that might turn my deck into kindling. It is only twelve inches above the concrete pad below so even if it collapsed, the ride would be short but still, I didn't want to create more remodeling work for myself. After about 24" of water, I called it good so that hopefully I had a safety factor. So on the fourth after it had warmed up a bit over two days, I got on my swimming duds and with my daughter, went for a swim. Well actually I didn't swim but I did float in it with my head resting on the air filled support for the collapsible outer walls. I was in heaven lying there submerged in water on my deck staring up into my clear blue and green leaf colored sky. Within minutes, I felt refreshed and by the time I drug myself out of the pool, I was already dreaming of a full sized pool.

Going fast enough down the slope that I'm starting to worry about hurting myself should I fall down.

Covering bases with a career change coming for my wife, we've been keeping our eyes on possible real estate to familiarize ourselves with various markets and what things are worth. One house that caught our eye has a really nice in ground pool behind it. Another house has a nice flat lawn that would be perfect for either a in ground or above ground model. Suddenly, having a pool seems more and more like a necessity in my life than it should be because I careening down an insanely steep slippery slope at a fast speed with no hopes of halting my downward progress. Already my mind is trying to convince my fiscally conservative side that it would save money by not paying for expensive swimming lessons for my wife and daughter who don't know how to swim yet conveniently leaving out the cost of said pool.

So this is a cautionary tale my friends of how easy it is to start yourself down that proverbial slippery slope...


Murf said...

Big A is been on a pool kick for awhile now. If we take down an XXL maple tree this fall like we are talking about, I'm sure I will hear more and more about it.

Wasn't the water really cold though or did you let the sun warm it for awhile before you jumped in?

R. Sherman said...

I have mixed emotions about pools. They're great during the summer obviously, but insurance companies hate them for a lot of reasons, and not just drowning. I think a large spa, might be a better option for me.


Ed said...

Murf - I'm not that brave. It had warmed up two days before I jumped in. It was just about perfect.

R. Sherman - Drat, I hadn't thought of the insurance factor. My fiscally conservative side is jumping for joy right now.

Vince said...

Of course you could get a wind-turbine and a arch canopy for the winter so you could use it for the twelve month.

Ron said...

It surely is a slippery slope. Dang, that water is nice when it's hotter than heck. :)

geri said...

But Ed, swimming lessons for little Abbey would only cost $90 =) Honestly, I would be a nervous wreck having a pool around children, even if they know how to swim. Especially someone who loves to run around like my 5 year old.

Ed said...

Vince - Or perhaps just have an indoor pool.

Ron - It surely is.

Geri - I hear you. I want to give my daughter lessons but right now isn't the right time and I don't want to force her. Until then, she can't play in the pool or be near it unless I am right there and she knows that rule is not negotiable. Plus, the water is only mid thigh on her and all the sides are soft inflatable plastic so the chances of falling in and not getting out are nil, hitting head and passing out are nil, and getting in over her head nil. Rest assured, if I ever get a house with a real pool or build one, she will know how to swim like a fish first.

Vince said...

You need planning permits here once you permanently roof the thing.