Swimming season is over! Forever? The love/hate relationship of one Scottsdale Mom and her swimming pool

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Replace the missing tiles in the swimming pool.

Yes, this task has been on my “home maintenance-to-do’s” for quite some time, and last week, we finally got to cross it off the list!

I discovered that the project had been started when driving home from preschool. I was still about a block and a half away from my house when I began to notice that slowly rushing water had filled all the gutters of my neighborhood. I followed the tributaries back to their source…my backyard. It was then that I knew they had surely begun the process of draining my swimming pool.

While possibly irritating to the other nearby homeowners, the  unofficial irrigation of our neighborhood’s asphalt created a serious  source of entertainment for my son. The puddles were everywhere  and never, in the history of mankind, has there been a 3-  year-old who didn’t LOVE a good puddle. The yard was full of  wide rubber hoses that were punctured all over with small holes.  The water was shooting out of the holes creating a makeshift  sprinkler/splashpad-like attraction. As I watched him find so much  joy in simply running through the spray and jumping in the water  filled gutters, I began to fantasize…“Let’s not fill it!”

I dragged my son away from our newly created front-yard-waterpark and headed to the backyard to see what was left of the pool. As I stared at the empty cement pit, I thought about the swimming pool. We were originally thrilled to buy a home with a pool, but does my family really enjoy it? Here’s what I came up with:

We do enjoy it… but not that much. The person who enjoys it least in the family is me.

Now, my situation may be different from yours. I have a 3-year-old, an 8-month-old, and we’re hoping for a number 3. This means, at the very earliest, I cannot expect my little crew to be “pool-safe” for at least 3 to 4 years! (Although—really, when are children ever fully “pool safe”?) Sure, we have a fence, a self-closing gate, the best lock I could find, and I make every teenage babysitter we hire swear a blood oath that she will not let the kids outside alone. However, I am still an insanely terrified mommy about having this little death-trap in my backyard. Sometimes I think I’m totally nuts about pool safety; then I think, “I don’t care. I’m going to be a little crazy about this.”

According to the CDC, drowning is the 2nd leading cause of death for children ages 1-14 and AZ leads the nation on that! Okay-please don’t stop reading now-I promise this is not a PSA to prevent child-drowning (Not that it would be the worst thing in the world for a Scottsdale Mom to hear another warning about drowning!) My point is, even though I’ve taken all the responsible precautions, I’m still worried. I live with a little escape artist. There hasn’t been a child-proof lock invented to hold this kiddo back!

Besides worrying about drowning, there are lots of other things I get to constantly fight about with children while “enjoying my pool”

“Don’t run! I said no running. Watch the step, you almost tripped. Stop running!”
“Don’t hold his head down like that. I think he’s under the raft. I said move the raft”
“Come here, you need more sunscreen. I promise it won’t burn your eyes. You’re turning red. You need sunscreen! I’m sorry about your eyes, they’ll stop burning soon.”
“No diving! This is not a diving pool! This is too shallow! You’ll break your neck”
“How many times have I said, ‘No Running?”        

Yeah… the pool is very relaxing for Mommy! (Plus, this whole exchange gets twice as enjoyable in a hot maternity suit or holding a wiggling new baby!)

The swimming pool is also pretty expensive to maintain. In the spirit of blissful ignorance, I usually just ignore the reality of expensive things I have no power to control. However, for the sake of this post I did a little googling. For an average unheated, Arizona backyard pool, (this is not counting the initial cost of installing a pool or exciting tiling or plaster projects like we just did), the total cost of chemicals, upkeep, and running the pool motor is estimated at about $160 a month. That’s $1,920 a year. I assume that we swam about 20 times in the last year, which means, each little dip in the pool cost me at least about $100!!! Wow, why did I just do this math?
I have been told over and over again by older, wiser moms, with older children, that I will one day LOVE having that pool. Hmm… maybe they’re right. But as I looked into the giant, empty hole the ground, I couldn’t help but think, “Everybody! Grab a shovel and some dirt! We got ourselves a hole to fill!” I imagined that it would be a great spot for a trampoline, a tennis court, a swing-set, or a skateboard ramp. Heck, even an old fashion patch of grass could be lovely….

Well, here’s how the story ends. The next day they filled the pool… with water, not dirt! So, I guess I’m still a pool owner.
My hope is that someday soon I will be glad for this fact. I will be standing over my sink, looking out the window at my swimming pool. No one will have drowned or cracked their head and I will be well past the tent-like stylings of Target’s maternity suits. The pool will be filled with the splashing and laughter of a bunch of great swimmers who are out in my backyard playing a mean game of Marco Polo. They will be having the time of their life and making wonderful childhood memories and I will be thrilled that I toughed it out through the early years to have a pool for my family.

So, in sum, that’s my hope for (and my complaints about) my backyard swimming pool. Am I wrong? Do you use your pool and love it? Now that the season is pretty much over, are you still glad to have one, or glad you never had to deal with it? Comments? Come’ on, dive right in !

1 COMMENT

  1. We just moved in to a rental home that has a pool and I agree 100%! I guess the one thing that is nice about renting is that we don’t have expense (necessarily) of the pool… but I’m totally paranoid! Having dreams of not closing the gate… so scary. Wish I could take it out. Ugh

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