Whale Tales and Pool Noodle Tribulations

Call him Ishmael.

Actually, don’t.

Master of the pool works just fine; my husband wouldn’t disagree there.

While our above-ground pool doesn’t exactly have harpoon-swooshing crazies (just foam noodle-swinging kids), it does offer its own flavor of endurance, revenge and Melville-style (backyard) drama.

You think I have been whacked by a noodle one too many times? Please, let me explain.

We inherited “the pool” from the previous owners. Since we moved in during the winter months, we really had no idea what was lurking underneath the black tarp until Memorial Day came around.

After dumping in some chemicals and keeping a watchful eye that first fateful summer, we quickly learned that a pool comes with an assortment of necessities: a slew of chemicals, a mad scientist test kit, inflatable toys that sail over the fence at the slightest hint of a storm, punctured inflatable toys discreetly retrieved from various neighbors’ backyards, more chemicals, a deck that needed replacement because of said chemicals, algae welcoming us home after a weekend trip out of town, an overburdened pump on the verge of always going kaput, a vacuum to suck out the algae (and the 16,000 gallons of water associated with the algae), a whopper of a water bill (to refill said pool) and, of course, the new pool noodles are sold separately.  

We my husband has had to drain the money pit pool twice over the past few years. After the liner got shredded during a summer storm two years ago, we left Moby D. to his own devices over the winter. I’m not sure, but I thought I heard my husband muttering under his breath some bitter invectives toward the cursed pool as he closed the door to our backyard that fall.

In time for Memorial Day last year, we put out the flags, bought hot dogs and ordered a new liner. And then the fun began . . .

Early sightings had my husband digging within the belly of the beast, occasionally at dawn, but always during scorching afternoon hours until dusk. I would find him inside the pool, alone, tired, caked in dirt, wielding a shovel and complaining, always complaining about “it.” In the process, the 16,000-gallon white whale in the backyard became the hush-hush topic in our house.

After two weeks of sweat and tears, the good vs. evil, backyard vs. front yard “we are so bored, Dad,” the battle finally ended. The new liner was hung in all of its glory by my husband all by himself. He calculated, measured, suctioned and cut with precision. Three days of zero water pressure in the house later (and carefully orchestrated bathroom allotments), the pool was finally filled!

The kids jumped in!

The Universe in our backyard was balanced once more!

Then it rained for a while and soon it seemed like Labor Day was just around the corner.

While my metaphors may be as shallow as our pool, I do recall the expression on our daughter’s face while cannon-balling into the chlorine mist.

It was simply priceless.

Marion Kase is a Berks County, PA mom of two. This post is adapted from her blog, Helicopter-Caterpillar.

Categories: MomSpeak