You may remember me mentioning that my best friend Lynne and I moved into a ‘new’ house last year. Yes, roomies-4-ever it seems.
One of the big plusses for us was that the place came with a swimming pool. If any of you used to read my Wheaton’s Way column in the Sunday Observer, you’ll recall my above-ground-pool escapades. In the early heady days of that particular experiment, I had wondered why anyone would spend money on the ‘real thing’; that was, until I realised, one had to have a doctorate in chemistry just to keep the alkalines and chlorine in balance, lest the water turn green. I hadn’t had to test strips in liquid that often since my doctor last suspected I had a kidney infection.
When that pool sprang a leak and I had to keep feeding it water to stop the top from deflating and gallons running out (which finally happened), I decided that maybe there was something to this inground pool nonsense after all.
Yes, indeed. When we had finally moved into our present residence, we were in our pool almost every day. This was the life! But, it was not without its challenges.
As it is surrounded by lush foliage, there is a window of about an hour when the water is completely clear of debris. That is, immediately after the pool company has come to do their weekly service. After that time, leaves and flowers slowly blow their way in and the result is nothing like a scene out of Disney’s ‘Frog Prince’. Speaking of frogs, in tadpole/baby frog season, we spent every morning circling the pool helping one hapless froggy after the next off the interior wall to safety, so they didn’t drown. We also got a couple of land crabs in there too. That was fun.
One day, in the early afternoon, I was swimming away and I was on my own. Surrounded by hedges and hidden from the neighbours, I suddenly thought, “Why not divest yourself of the material trappings of your swimsuit?” Surely one of the big advantages of having one’s own pool is the licence to swim in the altogether.
Even though I knew no one could see me, I was still a little nervous. However, was I a woman or a wimp? I cast aside my (in fairness) heinous bikini that I had grabbed as an afterthought in Wal-Mart, left it on the pool steps, and started making my way to the other end of the pool. I fancied I was Brooke Shields in ‘Blue Lagoon’ (does that age me or what?) and I basked in the experience.
Not five minutes had passed when I heard a distant humming and whirring that seemed to be getting louder. Maybe it was a truck going down the main road. But no; it appeared to be above me. I could not have been further away from my clothes when it dawned on me that a helicopter was heading in my direction. Remembering my experience as a passenger, when I could espy individual stingrays in the water from my seat in the heavens, I knew that if I didn’t re-clothe myself in time, someone was going to get a shocking eyeful.
I swam like a woman possessed towards my swimsuit as the whirring got louder. Michael Phelps would have been left sputtering in my wake, I can tell you.
As I reached the steps, I grabbed my bikini and while remaining submerged – not unlike a hippo – I tried to get it back on. The rotors of the copter were now very close and panic set in, which didn’t help the situation. The bikini top featured a mishmash of strings that needed to cross in the back and tie in the front like some hellish cat’s cradle and my arms were going in all the wrong directions.
Just as the flying machine appeared from the north, I was tying the last knot. It wasn’t Cayman Helicopters; it was the police helicopter. Clearly pilot Steve Fitzgerald had been made aware of some terrible crime against humanity being committed in my swimming pool, and he had been sent out to investigate, tout suite. Luckily, there was nothing to report by the time he got there, so he flew on and I didn’t end up in central lockup.
I haven’t repeated my attempt to commune with nature, and besides, the water is now too cold. Who would have thought that one would need a heated pool in the Caribbean? By the time we got back from a vacation in October, our toes were shrinking back when we dipped them in.
Lynne is pushing for the installation of a water heater – which is not cheap – or she is threatening to buy a wetsuit and go swimming in that. Apropos of nothing, has anyone got Steve Fitzgerald’s number?