Growing up in my little bubble, I thought everyone had a pool. Most of the people I knew had one. My parents didn’t raise me to know we had money. We just had stuff and I thought that’s the way it was. Looking back, they might have prepared me a bit more for life beyond the shelter of daddy’s wallet. There has been a pool in every single house or apartment I’ve ever lived in. Well, except for when I moved to Carmel. I suppose the Pacific should count for something though.
Our pool really became father-daughter time. When I was little and my dad was starting his company, he would come home for dinner and a swim with me, then return to his office. I remember standing at the front door in my bathing suit every day, just waiting for him to get home. He never disappointed.
An apparent precursor to Mardi Gras
Throughout the years, this became our thing – our special time together. Don’t get me wrong, the whole family spent every weekend swimming, relaxing and laying-out – we were always outside. It’s hot as hell in Texas after all. We created the “Chapman Butt Dive” that was extra special. I must warn, this is not to be done in adulthood, which I learned the hard way.
The Chapman Butt Dive
When I was in middle school, the tradition was still there – although I had a lot going on with extra-curricular activities and, of course, friends. One Saturday, my dad was in the pool and I yelled down to him from my window. A huge smile beamed across his face, knowing that I would be out in a minute. He yelled, “Get your butt down here.” A phrase I still hear even at this age. I yelled back, “I can’t. I have cheer practice.” I told him I loved him, closed the window and was out the door. Years ago, my mom told me this story and said when dad came inside he had tears in his eyes. I was growing up. He had lost me.
Me and dad – yes, that’s a perm.
On top of that, he gained clean-up duty from the neighborhood boys’ weekly antics.
Shredded newspaper – somehow this is my fault?
When Paul and I were looking for our first place, I had a ton of criteria that didn’t really say “ranch”. One of those was a pool. I wanted my children to enjoy one as much as I did. To know that they are kids and are allowed to just play – without a freakin’ fence. As you can imagine, I was asking a lot. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a pool snob. Above-the-ground just isn’t for me. And something that you blow up? I fear that my lack of a pedicure on a regular basis could take that down in short order turning the lawn into the best Slip ‘N’ Slide ever – for about one minute.
We found a couple that actually had pools, or so the listing said. By pool, they meant pond. Thanks for making me drive five hours to look at a dirt tank. To be fair, I should have realized something when one listing said there were four pools. You never know though. Texans are known to be pretty ostentatious – there could have been four actual pools.
Not a pool. (One of ours, but you get the idea.)
After several of these, I finally grasped that a pool was one criterion that would need to be added later. So, the conversation would go like this:
Me: Where will the pool go? Over here?
Paul: That’s where the cows eat.
Me: They have 200 acres to eat. Where will the pool go?
Paul: Where there isn’t any grass.
This is where I scan my entire surroundings for anything not resembling grass. Yeah, can’t find any. Which is obviously a good thing when you are purchasing a property for a cattle ranch. But I have to live here, you know. The good ol’ boy realtor, already suspicious of me in my high heels and silk top, is beside himself with laughter. I ask him to spell “cat”. Nothing.
After about seven months of searching, we found a gorgeous place in Oklahoma. Old school ranch house – huge. Two story, high ceilings, wrap-around porch. Acres and acres of grass – good grass. Corrals. A tack house. The one concern was that every inch of the interior of the house was pink. We’re talking pink carpet, pink kitchen cabinets – Pepto didn’t utilize its own power and threw-up all over this place. But, hey, I can buy a can of paint. I picked out the perfect spot for my pool.
The day we were going to set up the closing date, the lady backed out. Backed out!? Paul and I were absolutely devastated. No words were uttered for at least two days. Complete and total shock.
We happened to find another property in the next county over. Nice brick house – only seven years old. 170 acres. And, you guessed it – a pool! We’ll take it!
Pool and pool house
Before you start jealousing – don’t forget the view of the cows.
It was the end of November when we closed and moved in. I would just sit and stare at that pool. It had to be the longest winter on record for the South. As soon as March rolled around, I started up the heater – fancy, I know. And then it began to rain. And then we ran out of propane for the heater, which I promptly filled back up. And then it rained some more. And then we ran out of propane. At this point, Paul fills me in that he keeps shutting the heater off. Off! So, once it was heated to a nice 75 degrees, he would shut it off and the temperature would plummet to 60 again. I’m not in the Polar Bear Club – this is not fun for me. After Waylon, the propane guy, laughed at us for calling the third time in a month and a half, we finally worked out the heater situation. However, I’ve never fully understood why Paul shut it off to begin with.
We’ve had crazy thunderstorms the past few weeks. Tornadoes and hail and floods, oh my! But, it’s hot. Yesterday was no exception. Hot, humid, sticky. After Paul’s last trot through the cows, he thought we should go jump in the pool. Absolutely! See? Aren’t you glad we have one? And I have fresh mint for mojitos! It’s a good day.
Now, the pool is my responsibility. I take care of it, because I needed it. No big deal. Except, well, I’ve been slacking. It’s raining! Can you picture me with a skim basket in the pouring rain? Besides, that’s what the “monster” is for. And filters. And all kinds of crazy machinery that takes up an entire room in the pool house. Shouldn’t that stuff do something? Oh, yeah, Paul turned off the monster the day before to conserve energy. “Every other day should be fine when we’re not using it all the time.” I’ll buy that.
Paul dove right in and swam back over to the steps where I was getting my feet wet. “Hey! Look at the little frog swimming around there.” How cute. I’m not unfamiliar with frogs in the pool. It happens.
More fun than a cock fight.
It appears I got that pond after all.