I’ve always been a water-baby. In spite of a very short swimming season in Northern Ontario and bone-chilling lake temperatures, I’ve been attracted to water and the desire to swim from a very young age.
The only swimming pool I had ever seen as a child was a community pool in a local town during a swim meet, and on TV.
The 1960s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies awakened in me a strong desire for my own pool – like Jed Clampett and his cee-ment pond. I boldly declared that one day I too would have my own swimming pool.
The fact that I also secretly wished I looked like Ellie-Mae is an entirely different story.
Many years later when we were in the market for a new home, the house we eventually purchased came with a swimming pool … and considerable angst. We knew nothing about the care and maintenance of a pool, not to mention the risks associated with having two small children around water. There isn’t a summer that went by without at least one news story of a child drowning in a backyard pool. Were we being irresponsible for wanting this luxury?
It turned out to be a perfect decision. A modest house in a modest neighbourhood, the previous owners had dropped a bundle on the backyard and we were the happy beneficiaries. The boys learned how to swim like little fish and in summer our life was filled with friends and laughter around the pool.
Here we are now 20+ years later and our perfect backyard is showing wear-and-tear. The pool is now over 30 years old, with a concrete deck that has heaved and cracked over the years from repeated freeze-thaw. The pool heater died several years ago and Husband refuses to replace it. His arguments are many and all of them terribly misguided.
The end result is that swimming in my pool now is reminiscent of the frigid lake waters of Northern Ontario. Today was one of those days. I was hot after my Sunday morning run and wanted to have a refreshing swim to cool off. What I got instead was a shocking surprise followed by rapidly chilling skin and an urgent need to escape imminent hypothermia.
Husband had lied to me. At 16C/60F, the water temperature was several degrees colder than what I had been expecting.
Our annual pool war has begun.