A Case of Dueling Pools

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I have decided my sense of humor and my family’s antics, both past and present, need to be shared. The following blog originally appeared as one of my columns in The Daily Corinthian in June, 2003. I am posting my favorite columns over the next few weeks. There are some that still make me laugh out loud or tear up. I hope you will like them, too. **The photo above is for illustration purposes only and is not the actual monstrosity spoken of in the blog. 


A case of dueling pools

I’ve mentioned many times in the past that my family is … well, amusing. I’ve also mentioned that they can be a bit competitive, so what I’m about to relate won’t surprise anyone.

My sister, Tammy, just got a new swimming pool in which she, and her eight-year-old son, Zach, envision many hours of summertime fun splashing and relaxing. I’m sure Tammy’s pool time fantasies played out in her mind in a golden, glittering slow motion — kind of like a Coca-Cola commercial.

She could just see their wide grins as they tossed a large beach ball back and forth (Slowly, because this vision is in slow motion,
remember?) as they laugh and laugh – giddy with all the joy.

Before I go on, allow me to go back in time for a moment.

A couple of years ago, my sister, Cressy, bought her family a big pool. She said they have all really enjoyed having the pool, although she admits that pools are a good bit of work to maintain.

Now, as many people know, my family … when they do something … they do it in a big way.

Cressy decided to get some inflatable pool toys for her four children. (She wanted to play with the toys, too. Who does she think she’s kidding?) Among the most notable of these items, has been a large octopus that floats atop the center of the pool. So large, in fact, that she has trouble seeing the children in the pool when the creature’s about.

Perhaps I should emphasize the size of this creature. It’s a humongous monstrosity that was evidently created for an Olympic-sized pool and not a standard, family-sized backyard pool. So, this octopus’s tentacles all stretch out from the creature’s body and hang out over the edges of her pool like some sort of plastic mutant rising up from a well in their backyard. (Either that or it’s nesting and creating more plastic, mutant octopi to take over the Earth.)

“It really didn’t look that big hanging up in the store,” Cressy recalled with a sigh. (Of course, the store has 20-foot ceilings and the octopus wasn’t inflated.)

So distinctive is this creature, that Cressy said her pool has become a summertime landmark in her neighborhood. For example: “Where do you live? In the yellow house? Oh, you mean the one with the giant octopus in the backyard? Yes, I know exactly where that is.”

Now, let’s return to the present.

Tammy bought a smaller version of Cressy’s pool. The top of it comes to just above my knees when it is fully inflated — small for some people, but a good size for her and Zach. However, not to be outdone by her younger sister, Tammy decided too get a big inflatable fish for her pool.

Tammy decided to inflate the fish inside the house at her leisure. She set up the pump, began inflating the creature and then came around to sit on the couch where she became engrossed in some other activity … until she felt an ominous shadow slowly rising up from the area behind her couch. She turned to look and was immediately startled.

There was a fin topping the height of her couch.

She realized two mistakes at that moment. First, she wished she had never seen the movie, Jaws. Second, she realized she had underestimated the size of the fish or she would never have inflated it in the house. She briefly got stuck in the front door frame trying to get the thing outside with Zach pulling from the outside and her pushing it from inside the house. It finally popped out the door.

After her pool was ready for use, Tammy noticed that one side did not seem quite even where she had had some help putting down sand to level the pool. She did not think this would make much of a difference until a recent, heavy downpour of rain overloaded her pool and the low side buckled and her pool collapsed and almost completely drained out.

So, the dueling pools saga will continue it seems and Tammy’s summertime fantasy will have to wait a bit longer until she gets this latest development fixed, but I wonder about the fate of the giant fish …

This seemed to be all there would be to tell, except that Mom recently informed us all she has purchased a pool … a really big pool. The duel has been stepped up a notch. Frankly, I’m worried. I’ve been having nightmares about an inflatable pool toy –about the size of a nuclear submarine — sitting in Mom and Dad’s backyard.

I’ll keep everyone posted on the developments.

(L.A. Story is a resident of Glen where inflatable plastic, mutant pool toys roam at night in search of the unwary. Her columns are now finding new life as blogs that appear appear once a week.)