It was a beautiful three and a half day weekend and we made good use of every bleeding minute.
I left my office at 1:36 on Friday just in time to sit in the parking lot called 95 North and gradually roll the 8 miles from Stamford to the Route 7 connector where, five evenings a week, I break free from the Borg and speed my way further North and West into the deep, dark forest of 'North of the Parkway'.
It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Nothing to be sneezed at but Lucia and I picked up the implements of destruction and headed for the newly deer proofed garden where I gave the soil one last turn, broke up the few remaining clumps, tossed a few more rocks and weed chunks and proceeded to lay in 96 seedlings while Lucia periodically handed me a tray and went back to lizarding in the grass. By the time we were finished, hosed off and on the rather nasty screened in porch I was cooked. Literally. Cooked. We dispensed with the Friday evening walkies rationalizing that I'd done enough work to burn off a few hundred calories for both of us. Lucia suffered just looking at me.
Very early Saturday morning NoMans headed South, solo, for the Bar Mitzvah of his oldest. There was no point sending reinforcements; he was clearly outnumbered and having me, Lucia or any of his siblings wasn't going to make it any better or easier. Our assumption was that our misery would add to his misery and it could only end badly. Lucia and I did our usual jaunt on the lower level machines starting the day with a solid 400 calorie burn before marching upstairs for cheesy eggs and toast with Ailish. We showered, shaved, blow dried our collective hair and headed out for Lucia's standing 12 PM appointment with her new BFF, Vickie the Therapist. Little Girl and I headed to Stride-rite to purchase as many pairs of shoes as possible in the alloted 36 minutes.
After collecting Lucia we headed back in the direction of the Stride-rite but this time to pass through the hallowed doors of the Westport Toys R Us, home of every little kid's best dreams. The initial purpose of the trip was to have Lucia use up her $50 birthday check from Grandpa, given in December, just before Christmas to spend in the summer when she had nothing new and months before present time.
I also intended to buy Lucia a wading pool. It wasn't quite 90 but it was pushing 85 and the humidity was a killer. I voiced my intention as we exited the truck in the parking lot. We discussed the possibilities during the 20 yard walk from the truck to the door, the plan morphing with each step and each painful breath of collective air. We walked through the doors and there they were:
9 bazillion Intex pool possibilities. In case you are unaware of Intex I'll fill you in. Intex makes those inflatable wading pools grown to adult size. They're blue, bulbous and you see them periodically in back yards. They are not the standard above ground ghetto pool; they are far worse.
So there we were, the three of us, looking at 9 bazillion choices ranging from the twelve foot, 24 inch over grown kiddie pool to the 18 foot, 48 inch throw in the whole family plus the dog. There were even some with inflatable water slides and built in sprinklers. It was more than the eyes could bear and all for $299 less a 10% Memorial Day weekend discount.
My first thought was stop right here, grab the slip for what you came in here thinking of and get the hell out of Dodge before this goes downhill fast. The very helpful sales lady even tried to steer me away from the big one but I wouldn't have it. All I could think was, gosh, 18 feet, 48 inches and all for a piddling $299?! Will it fit in my truck?
I grabbed the tag, hauled the girls around the corner and proceeded to assist Little Girl in spending her loot all the while grasping the tag of doom in my sweaty little mits.
Meanwhile Lucia and I have a blood sugar problem. Said problem being that the collective blood sugar has reached all time lows and you now have two hormonally enhanced women in the throes of near insulin shock. This kind of chemical sideways blast will produce one of two results: in gentle sweet women you get tears, melancholy and the occasional bout of whining. In not so gentle and hardly know how to spell sweet women you get Genghis Khan on holiday.
I hardly need to tell you who's body we channeled.
The pool in a box was slammed into the back of the Forerunner, having laid down one of the seats so that the back hatch could close, loaded boxes from shopping onto the six year old, belted everybody in and left rubber in the parking lot heading toward the Post Road.
We stopped at Balducci's for lunch stuff and tore off toward home.
By the time I had the three of us fed it was time for Little Girl's Dad to pick her up and take her to the local fair. She was exhausted and miserable having been up half the night with her own version of six year old insomnia and then over excited by the trip to the toy store followed by the possibility of an actual and very instant swimming pool. Lucia talked Little Girl's Dad into hauling the thing out of the truck, into the garden cart and down to the lower level portion of the yard: just at the border of the swamp, out of site of the neighbors and on the flattest patch of ground we have.
In full sun we wrestled the pool from it's carton and began the process of unrolling, unwrapping and assembling. At 4 PM we gave up and looked at our mess spread halfway across the backyard. Not even enough upper body strength left to spread the thing out properly without falling flat on our backsides.
We rolled over on our bellies and pretended it wasn't there. That lasted about four minutes.
Upstairs to the nasty screened in porch with the mildewed wood, filthy beyond belief tile floor, collected bits of garbage, dirty shoes, dead plants and recycling and some very expensive and very furry wicker furniture. We started to clean.
30 minutes, says Lucia. 60 says I. The phone rings at 5 and NoMans has hit Greenwich. Scrub faster! Where's the vacuum? Are we really out of 409 already? That was a full bottle! How are we going to get out of this? What is he going to say? Oh my God, he's going to be furious... I want a pool! Oh shit oh man scrub faster light the grill fetch the charcoal where's the fluid what have you done with my broom and have you seen my garden clogs?
NoMans pulled into the driveway, got out of the car and walked toward the back deck (above which hangs the screened in previously quite nasty but not quite complete porch). He looked right and stopped cold, caught his breath and continued toward the porch.
I did the best version of repentant Genghis on Holiday can possibly be expected to muster and then burst into tears.
NoMans said he would fix it. Lucia unmouse-holed and hugged him. I finished the porch.
On Sunday nobody moved until 2 PM. It simply hurt too much to breathe. By 2:30 NoMans was outside straightening the mess we'd made and getting ready to drain our well.
Stop! Stop right there! You can only run it at a trickle and yes, it will take 24 to 48 hours to fill.
But i want my poooooooooooooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllll.
OK. Here are the things that Genghis failed to consider:
- We do not have flat yard. I mean really, NO FLAT YARD. Even the garden is on a serious slant. The laws of physics demand that swimming pools be flat for what ought to be bloody well obvious reasons.
- We do not have a pool fence and cannot put up a pool fence because we live in the land of permits for extra breathing and no way you're getting one anyway. It is patently illegal to have a swimming pool without a pool fence never mind the open ponds and swamps that happen to make up 75% of my neighborhood.
- We live in New England. For those of you who do not live in New England here's what's under the first four inches of topsoil and turf: ROCKS. BIG EFFING ROCKS AND TREE ROOTS YOU JUST WOULD NOT BELIEVE. There is no such thing as 'digging it out' without a backhoe and a bulldozer. Most people level by building up using earthworks, not by attempting to dig into the New England soil.
- I do not know if we have a drilled well or a dug well. That's a very important distinction and I was NOT paying attention during the inspection and purchase of our home. If it's a dug well we need to take two weeks to pull the 5,455 gallons that the 18 footer requires.
So here's what happened:
On Sunday at 4 PM we began to fill the pool. By Monday at 6 PM we knew we were in trouble but were holding out hoping that if the water could just get to the other side the laws of physics would support us just long enough to keep the downhill side from bursting. On Tuesday at 6 AM I looked out the bathroom window to see approximately 2,000 gallons of water heading into the swamp. I decided not to break the news to Lucia. She'll find out soon enough on her own; in about 16 minutes when the school bus pulls up outside our house.
I wait quietly for my phone to ring.