When I was a kid, we had a big ass in-ground pool. You know, the kind that people in Hollywood have? Yeah -- except we were in Chicago, not Hollywood, and winters meant that our pool became a death trap for small critters who inadvertently drowned over the long, cold winter.
That mean spring pool cleaning time was a horror-fest for an impressionable and young Aunt Becky.
I remember vividly, my mother complaining about the pool -- the maintenance, the chemicals, keeping other kids out so no one drowned while we were off eating our kale and tofu dinners.
It took me becoming a parent myself to understand why she celebrated with a bottle of champagne, the moment we moved out of the house.
Summer is rapidly approaching here in Chicago, where the seasons range from ass hot to ass cold to construction, and if you don't like the weather? Wait five minutes.
I now also have three children claiming that despite a roomful of toys and other activities, they are "bored." I also understand why my mother chose to lock us outside the moment Summer Vacation began: She didn't have to hear me whining about my own boredom.
Each Friday night, my two older sons spend the night at my mother's house -- she now lives across town from me. Traditions are not easily broken in my household, so this will likely persist into college. In order to assuage my daughter, who is not of the age to appreciate a good sleepover, we take her out for a special dinner and a trip to the store for some groceries. Being the youngest of three, she doesn't get the same amount of alone time as the rest of the kids have.
Truth be told, it's the highlight of my week, but don't tell her, she might get a big head.
Anyway, we always stroll through The Target Store (her choice of name, not mine) and admire the pretty toys. She's recently noticed that they sell, much to my amazement, POOLS.
Not the in-ground (keep trying to type "ingrown") pools of my youth, no. The kind that are above ground and look as though they might require a degree in engineering to assemble.
She's enchanted by these pools. Each time we pass them, she points them out lovingly, and says wistfully, "Oh I WISH we could have one of those." Apparently the 3-inch tall plastic dog pool we have isn't good enough for her. Which I get.
But there is no damn way I'm about to get one of those pools. Even IF my gate worked properly, keeping out rogue kids who might die while I eat my dinner. Even if they didn't cost eleventy basquillion dollars to own. Even IF I hired someone to clean it. Even IF the pool wouldn't ruin the grass I painstakingly coaxed to grow, I wouldn't buy one.
I can't quite bring myself to break the news to her yet, but I will, someday soon.
And when I do, you can bet it will involve the pool of dead animal horrors that I'm apparently STILL not over.
And now? I need a drink.