Jerry and Kathy couldn't have been more honest with us. "It's a lot of work," they warned us, "and there are expenses." In fact, they made clear it was because of the time and expense that they were looking for a new adoptive home. At first we said no. And then, about this time last year, we changed our minds. We were starting the process of the second surrogacy, with all the anxiety and waiting that go along with that, and needed a distraction. We also wanted something to entertain the kids over the summer.
So we called them back and said "Yes, please," and over the next several months we learned that, as with lunch, there is no such thing as a free pool.
Permits. Assembling the pool. Water trucks (really!). Chemicals (although Jerry gave a us quite a few). The gas hook-up. The electrical hook-up. Fixing the crater on the bottom of the pool from the sprinkler pipes. Fixing the sprinkler pipes. More water. Fixing the other crater from the sinkhole. Still more water. Pool toys. Bathing suits.
And the deck. Jerry was generous with his time but he couldn't live here to build it. Heck, we live here, and after many hours of work we finally gave up and let some pros finish it.
If you think we live in a free country, then you have obviously never tried to put up a pool in your own back yard. It felt bizarre, driving to an office miles away to apply for permission to do something on our property. I understand how the pool can be considered an "attractive nuisance" and many of the rules exist to prevent tragedies. But it just feels wrong. It would have helped if our local office had acted more a guide through the invasive process, rather than acting annoyed that I wasn't born with innate knowledge of their procedures and making clear the burden was on me to prove that I should be allowed to have a pool.
And still, we have no regrets. We are now Pool People. We were outside more last summer than we have ever been, splashing around as a family instead of watching television. I now know about pool chemicals, and I tend to the water as a sort of hobby, the same way I tend to the lawn (well, maybe a little better than I tend to the lawn). And although our back yard was turned into a war zone for a few months, now that it's done it does look pretty darn good.
We took tons of pictures of the process, but the most interesting were taken by a still camera on a timer from our bedroom window. I finally got around to assembling them into a movie. You can see the YouTube version of it below. If you want to see it in high definition you'll have to come over.
Bring your bathing suit!