We’re fortunate enough to have a pool in our backyard. (I use the word “fortunate” with some trepidation.) The house didn’t come with one which was fine by me but my husband thought putting one in was a good idea. I argued that they were a lot of work and we wouldn’t use it that much. He argued that our young son would get plenty of use out of it, especially as he grew older. Turns out we were both right.
As we do everything backwards, before the pool could go in, several wonderful trees would have to come out. We had put them in as saplings and they were just then beginning to take shape. We tried relocating them but the transplant didn’t take.
Anyway back to the hole in the ground…the whole backyard was torn up and the process seemed to go on for months but I’m certain it was only for a couple of weeks. When it was all said and done we had a pristine pool, complete with a diving board and surrounded by flower beds. It was awesome. Then the real fun began.
Son Brad (as my husband predicted) was using the pool every chance he got, always to include several friends to share in the merriment. This, of course, meant someone had to hold vigil while the youngens frolicked about. The diving board was a real source of concern. Fortunately, there was never an incident involving the pool and for that I’m eternally grateful.
But, alas, as summer would draw to a close the leaves would begin to fall. At first this wasn’t much of a dilemma because the trees were still very small and they dropped a minimal amount of leaves. But as they grew, so did our son. And the task of netting the leaves from the pool became a bigger headache for him each year. Brad would complain ad nauseam about how much time it took to get the job done and how it was really biting into his busy schedule. Tsk. Tsk.
He begged and pleaded for a pool cover to lighten his load and said that was all he wanted for Christmas. So that’s what he got! And that was all Santa brought. He was thrilled and couldn’t wait to put the cover on. It was actually nothing more than an oversized tarp that did only a fair job of keeping leaves out. It was secured by placing bricks all around the edges all around the concrete walkways surrounding the pool. At least this way many of the leaves were captured on top of the tarp and therefore easier to remove. Or so that was the theory.
After Brad grew up and moved out there was no more pool boy to punish. So his job became Ken’s. It was at this point that my husband checked into having a custom made cover. But when he was told the cheapest price for said item was around $4,000 he gave a look like someone was holding his head underwater. No way was he going to pay that kind of money. Instead he bought some gigantic, plastic, inflatable pillows. These would be blown up with an air compressor and placed under the tarp to keep it somewhat afloat. Again, the theory was the leaves would settle on top and could easily be removed with the pool net. Problem here was that the pillows kept losing air and causing valleys in the tarp and that’s where the leaves collected instead of blowing away.
None the less this has been the solution (again I use the term “solution” loosely) for years to the leaf problem. Removing the cover come spring always requires at least two able bodied people. The neighbor next door has almost always been available to lend a hand…except for this year.
It was a pleasant day but the wind was chilly. Ken decided the tarp could come off for the upcoming summer season. So with no other man around he recruited me to help. I must say I was less than anxious to assist but I, too, wanted the pool uncovered. I’d looked at the unsightly tarp and bricks all winter and it was time for a new view of glistening, rippling water.
With Ken on one side and me on the other we began to remove bricks while simultaneously struggling to pull the cover back. The weight of the water made the tarp exceptionally heavy and the more we pulled the heavier it got. About midway through our endeavor I could see Ken losing his balance. As if watching a scene in slo-mo I realized my husband was about to plunge into the murky water. And he did, from the top of the raised spa he plummeted into the depths of the deep end. He popped up in a hurry, shivering from the trip into the icy waters. His glasses were buried in the leaves that had settled at the very bottom. This was an indication that the pool cover had not kept leaves out of the pool. And the color of the water was a putrid shade of green.
Hurriedly he headed for the porch where he stripped down to his undies while I tried to cover him with a beach towel, lest the neighbors get an unwanted eyeful. After changing clothes, we resumed the task at hand and successfully wrestled the cover away from the pool. We spread it out on the lawn to dry and then later to be folded up for next year’s use.
The good news:
Ken’s wristwatch was none the worse for the wear. It kept on ticking. We recovered his glasses and they were unscathed. Ken had left his cell phone on the porch instead of in his pocket where it normally lives. He didn’t hurt himself by hitting the ledge just inside the pool where he fell. We finished removing the tarp with no more mishaps.
And most importantly…I didn’t fall in!
Originally published in the May 2013 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette.