Sunday before last was planned to be a quiet and relaxing day around here at the Desperate Household. After a busy Saturday and a late Saturday night, we all slept in to some degree, and Desperate Hubby and I were sitting around drinking coffee when the kids finally rolled out of bed around nine.
They immediately started with the usual round of questions…..”What are we going to do today……where are we going? What do you meaannnn we aren’t doing anything?”
I was somewhat less than inspired about making a big plan for one of my rare unscheduled summer days, so I was happy when Desperate Hubby took charge of the conversation. “What do you think we should do today?” he asked.
“Go get a pool! Go get a pool!” Batman loudly suggested. Batman’s sister jumped up and down excitedly squealing “YESSSSSS, a pool daddy. A pool!!” The kids have been waiting patiently through the preceding hot summer afternoons for the day when we had enough free time to get a pool to put on the back porch. They remember the pool of last summer rather idealistically, since it had lasted only a few days before Winston popped the supporting ring that kept the sides up and we had to dispose of it not long after it was filled.
DH looked at Batman for a moment. “Well, where are we going to get the money to buy a pool? Do you have money for a pool?”
Batman went silent, and I could just see the thoughts running through his head. I have before mentioned Batman’s very un-child-like capacity for collecting stuff, from leftover live fishing worms (with which he started a worm farm on his dresser that outgrew two aquarium structures until I finally disposed of it after the third time I found worms crawling down the carpet in the hallway), to maps, to old purses filled with hunting calls and an entire suitcase of camouflage hunting clothes.
Another thing Batman collected, I knew, was money. Like everything else he gathered, he was both thorough in his acquisition skills, leaving no stone (or jeans pocket, as the case may be) unturned in his quest to add to his stash, and vigilant in keeping his loot under wraps. At the age of five he doesn’t totally understand the concept of money, but he does know that it buys stuff, and he has been saving money for a boat, one penny, nickel and dime at a time.
Batman determined this saving goal one weekend after fishing with his daddy from the local shore while his sister and I were enjoying a trip to Las Vegas for a horse show. Desperate Hubby reported that Batman looked longingly at all the people floating around the lake in their fishing boats that afternoon. Father and son talked about the boats: what kind would best suit them; where they would go with it; what fish they would catch.
Then he ended that conversation with these words of wisdom for his father: “You know dad, if you keep giving mom all your money for those stupid horses we are NEVER gonna get a boat.”
So he started saving.
He had steadfastly refused to consider using his money for anything up to this point; no matter how much he wanted something he would not break into his bank. So it came as a great surprise that Sunday morning when he said “Yes, I do have money for a pool. I will get it out and see if it’s enough.”
So he did.
First we counted the paper money, which Batman refers to as “Cash.” He had accrued an astounding $30 in ones, fives and a single ten-dollar bill, a little of it birthday money that hadn’t made it to the bank but most undoubtedly appropriated from around the house as it sat momentarily unsupervised.
Next we went on to the coins. I showed him how to count out the quarters, and he sat patiently on the coffee table painstakingly stacking little columns of four. I added the money from the laundry jar that sits on a shelf above the washing machine to his pile so he had quite a load to sort through.
When the counting was complete even Batman was surprised at how much he had accumulated: $42 in quarters alone.
When all the money was separated out and counted it added up to nearly ninety dollars, almost enough to pay for the hard-sided pool that I had found on-line at a clearance price in several stores within a few miles from us. Satisfied that Batman had exhibited financial maturity by agreeing to use his money for something that he really, really wanted, DH told him to bring the “Cash” and put all the rest away and keep on saving. At first I thought “How sweet!” and then I realized that hubby just didn’t want to deal with the change. Still, it was nice.
The happy trio of daddy, son and daughter left on their quest, coming home over an hour later with not the hard-sided pool we had agreed on, but a duplicate of the blow-up pool from last year that had been trashed so quickly. Seems we were not the only family thinking of cooling off in the 100 degree-plus temperatures forecast for the coming week.
Still, the kids were happy. They immediately got suited up in preparation for a full afternoon of swimming.
They waited impatiently as the water slowly lifted the plastic ring that provided wall support for the pool.
When the pool was finally full, they jumped in to the cold water with all the enthusiasm you could imagine. They wore their vests.
And shared the float tube.
The cold water took its toll rather quickly, so mid-afternoon Annabelle took a break from swimming to ride Grumpy around while she warmed up. She caught him, booted him up, fashioned reins out of her lead rope and got on all by herself while I watched from the shade of the back porch.
Then she trotted him around and around the grass until the most surprising thing happened.
Daddy came out to swim.
Having daddy join them in the pool reignited all of the initial enthusiasm the kids had started with, and it wasn’t long before they were all playing like wild monkeys.
It took Batman a while to get his nerve up to jump, but when he did he was unstoppable.
The kids had a wonderful time swimming in the pool that afternoon. By the next day the water had warmed up considerably, and Batman and his sister had fun for the next several afternoons swimming in the pool and watching Winston jump in and out of the increasingly murky water.
Sadly, this year’s pool soon met the same demise as last year. Batman’s hard-saved-for investment lasted only about ten days before our crazy bird dog Winston created a tiny hole in the upper ring, either with his toe nails or the collar that Annabelle had accidentally left on him, and the pool now lists dramatically to one side with only about ten inches of dirty water inside.
Not to worry though. Knowing that this would be the likely outcome, I ordered a new, much more durable, hard-sided pool with a filter to be delivered to our house. It arrives today.
Batman doesn’t even have to pay for it.