Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Ahhh, summertime! Here in good ol’ Madtown, we went from 60 degrees to a hundred an’ five in two days. The groundwater level is so low out here in the boonies that the volunteer fire department has to drink two cases of beer before they go to a call in case they run outta water. The farmers out here had to sink their wells so deep that the Yangtze River in China drops two inches every time they turn the irrigation pumps on. That bein’ said, Reggie an’ I ended up with a swimmin’ pool!
Since Reggie was paralyzed, she hasn’t been able to get much exercise an’ we’d talked about gettin’ a pool so she could swim. We looked for one in our price range, but the best one we could find was a foot deep an’ three feet wide. Talk about providence. A couple of days later, I heard hammerin’ from out back that woke me up from a sound sleep. “What’n the hell are they doin’ out there?” I asked Reggie. “It’s barely noon!”
She looked out back an’ reported that our neighbors were tearin’ down their fence, so I figured I’d better head over an’ check things out.
“Howdy!” I greeted them. “Whatcha doin’?”
He looked up an’ laid down his hammer. “Building a shrine to Buddha,” he said, “What’s it look like?”
I scratched my head on that one. “Hmmm… Looks more like you’re tearin’ down your fence.”
“Yeah, you caught me,” he said. “Hey, do you know anyone who wants a pool? We’re going to get rid of ours.”
“Now that ya mention it, yeah,” I answered. “What do ya want for it?”
“It’s a freebie,” he said. “Just tear it apart and haul it off.”
Just like marriage, free stuff is usually the most expensive, an’ that’s doubly true with boats or pools. It took four big friends, all three of our boys, several cases of beer an’ a box of Band-Aids to get the pool apart an’ moved over to my place. Then I spread out four tons of sand over the gopher holes an’ foxtails that make up my back lawn, an’ the setup began.
“I thought ya marked all the poles when we took ’em apart!” I said, lookin’ for marks.
“I was,” came the answer. “But the marker ran outta ink after the first two.”
After a couple more cases of beer an’ six packages of hot dogs, we were almost ready to fill it with water.
“What’s that movin’ around under the liner?” someone asked.
“It looks like a… a… GOPHER!” I screamed. “Get me the .22 rifle an’ the patch kit! I’ll get that rotten little…”
With the hole adequately patched, an’ the lump that was once a gopher stomped flat, we were once again ready to fill the pool. Thanks to the farmers and the aforementioned water shortage that would not be as easy as we anticipated.
After five minutes, the hose produced a spastic, muddy trickle, so we decided to get a water truck to come out an’ fill it. No problem, right? Well… not exactly.
“How much does it hold?” the guy at the water truck place asked. I hadn’t thought about that, but told him, “The book says 15,800 gallons.” I heard him put his hand over the phone an’ tell his wife, “Get the travel agent on the phone, Mama; the trip to Hawaii’s back on!”
“It’ll take at least four trips at a hunnert an’ a quarter a trip,” he said. I could see his grin over the phone. “I can get right on it in a day or two.”
True to his word, a week later, our pool was filled to the brim with rusty water. There was a puddle of oil coatin’ my driveway where the 1948 Peterbilt water truck had sat, dutifully chuggin’ away, pumpin’ more water into my patio than into the pool, an’ my wallet was considerably lighter. The chemicals were next. Chlorine tablets, shock, pH up, pH down, pH all around, clarifier, rust remover, algaecide… an’ the list goes on.
The first ones to use the new pool were the grandkids. Us old folks can’t make it up an’ down that wobbly plastic ladder without an ambulance onsite. “I think we need to build a deck,” Reggie said. “Can you do that?”
“You’re lookin’ at a deck expert,” I told her. “I’ll get the wood tomorrow, if the second mortgage goes through.” Now, I don’t pretend to be a carpenter, but I do swing a mean hammer. I have Band-Aids on four fingers to prove it, but my efforts weren’t in vain. Reggie came out an’ lovin’ly told me, “We don’t need another dog house.”
“Dog house?” I responded indignantly. “That’s your new deck! Did ya ever see a dog house with stairs?
“Not until now,” she replied sweetly.
“Besides,” I told her, “it’s not finished yet.” She rolled her wheelchair around the end, and asked, “How can you tell?”
“Because there’s no railing around it yet.”
“Oh, yeah,” she chuckled. “We wouldn’t want Snoopy to roll off, now would we?”
“Just go back in the dang house, will ya? Go get your boots on an’ let’s go for a ride to the lake. I feel like swimmin’!”