As part of my current writing regimen, one project I’ve added in is to take a random photograph or image from my extensive collection and write a short bit around it. These will be released every Thursday. Sometimes I will write about what really happened; other times I’ll have some fun and fictionalize it. Hope you enjoy.
“Let’s get rid of the pool”.
I was at work when I was first informed of this “idea” by my wife. It took me completely off guard and honestly I was initially rather upset at the idea. I liked having a house with a pool. It was a status symbol to me. A sign that I had a “respectable house” (whatever that means). I told Melanie that I would think about it and then get back to her.
What was really bothering me was change. From our first moments as home owners, it’s felt to me like we were constantly changing the structure involved. Literally dozens if not hundreds of home improvements have occurred, in both of our properties. You can look back at some of my earlier blog posts to see the history of that. I was concerned that this particular request was just another change and I didn’t see the value of it.
Then I received another call, and this one filled in what was really going on.
“I’ve talked to my mother about it, and she doesn’t have the heart to maintain it anymore”.
Even before Melanie’s parents moved in with us in the latter half of 2011, my mother-in-law Doris had shown that she really enjoyed cleaning the pool. She seemed to find it relaxing; a good way for her to deal with the stresses that affected her life. My father-in-law Stefan, having an incredible engineering mind, took it upon himself to handle all mechanical and handyman aspects, many of which centered around the pool.
We did work together to close up the pool in the fall of 2011, but the reality is that he did most of the thinking work…I was just grunt labour who unsuccessfully tried to memorize as many details as possible. He knew there was a good chance he wouldn’t be around to see it’s opening again and that I would need to be ready. I didn’t have the heart to listen.
When we lost Stefan to cancer in the first half of 2012 it hit everybody hard on many levels. We all tried to regroup and help each other but nerves were frayed and sensitive. I was pretty numb for a lot of it and just wanted to be able to keep calm so that I could attempt to keep everyone else calm. Taking on a new major project seemed contrary to this.
When Melanie explained what she meant about her mother not wanting to maintain it anymore I almost cried. My brave face was cracking. The reality was, a pool takes a lot of work to maintain. My commuting lifestyle; being out of the house from 7am to 6pm leaves only a small window of opportunity for chlorination, vacuuming, backwashing and a variety of other tasks. It was too much. I couldn’t do it, and I had been leaning on the idea of Doris keeping it going. That in hindsight was rather unfair of me, but as I mentioned before I was feeling rather numb at the time.
I realized that holding onto the pool made no sense. We didn’t have the budget to hire somebody to take care of it. Plus we live only a short walk from Lake Simcoe so we have access to a beach. It was time to let the pool go.
Melanie posted a message on Kajiji stating that the pool was free to take away, only we would ask for some soil in return as the pool was partially sunk into the ground. We got a taker the very same day that the message went in and that weekend saw the work begin. The pools new owner, Dave, was a biker and truckdriver who had an astonishing similarity to my own father (also named Dave). He showed up with his truck and really not enough landfill, but that wasn’t his fault…we had miscalculated how much was needed.
It took two days to get it all out. Then another month to get the land around it all flattened out. We’ve planted a couple apple trees and have placed the kids trampoline in the area where the pool was. I’m still taking apart the deck. It’s now an unsafe structure for our kids so I want to cut back its dimensions to end where the trampoline starts.
As 2012 draws closer to a close I can be thankful for this particular project. The idea of closing the pool now, after everything that has happened would have been dreadful for everyone. One less project for me…one less heartache for all.
October 11, 2012 11:58pm