06/10/03: It all started a week ago Sunday when I saw a store ad in the newspaper for a 3'x8' pool for $40. I thought, hey, what an inexpensive, simple way to enjoy some leisure time this summer. I bought the pool, but of course while I was at the store I also needed a hose, air pump to inflate the upper ring of the pool, inflatable floating mat, and swimsuit. To save money, I went cheap on the swimsuit and got a bicycle pump instead of an electric or battery-powered pump.
I went home, excited to get started, and set up everything in the backyard. Then I discovered the bicycle pump didn't fit the pool. I played around with different attachments and things but couldn't get it to work, so I decided I'd better watch the instructional video that came with the pool. (No Tools Needed! Quick Set-Up!) But I didn't have a VCR to watch the tape, and I didn't want to borrow the neighbors' VCR because I didn't want them to know I had a pool and then have to invite their young daughter, M., over to swim - I bought the thing so I could RELAX. So I called the public library, got transferred to 3 people, and found out I could watch my tape on their VCR if I reserved a room. Fortunately, the room was available, so I headed to the library to figure out how to inflate the pool rim.
Of course, the video said nothing about how to inflate the rim, it just said "inflate", then went on and on about how their own handy pump, available at many retailers near me, worked well for this job. So I went back to the store to see how much the handy pool pump cost, but they didn't have it. I went to a 2nd store, and they didn't have it. However, while I was driving, I remembered the movie "Apollo 13" and how they had to solve the carbon monoxide problem by attaching a square part to a round hole. With that inspiration, I went home to try again.
When I got home, I realized I had no duct tape (sorry, Dad, you tried your best), so I took out some clear packaging tape and tried that. About half a roll later, I had the pump attached to the pool and all airways blocked (on the pool). In the process, however, I'd sliced the side of my thumb twice on the metal teeth of the tape roller and split open the seam at the back of my shorts. I went inside (we're a few hours into this process now), got bandaids, checked my shorts, saw that an inner seam was still holding together, decided that was good enough, and went back outside.
Finally, I was ready to pump up the pool with my trusty, cheap bicycle pump. At first I thought I was getting nowhere, I took a lot of breaks, my bandaids kept coming off, and my shorts split some more. During this whole time, my dog Chester and his doggie friend Tessa were in the house barking their heads off because they were missing all the fun outside. I grabbed the handy packaging tape and taped my bandaids onto my thumb and kept on going, trooper that I am. (Some would say stubborn.) After a while I made some good progress, but then seemed to be getting nowhere again, and I couldn't find a leak. By this time I'd been working with the pump for about an hour, so I went inside, called my friend S., and offered to buy him dinner if he'd come finish the job.
S. good-naturedly came to the rescue, and after I added some more tape and sliced my thumb a 3rd time, I held the seal and S. used the pump and we finished pretty quickly. At last, I thought, I'm going to enjoy my pool. I hooked my new hose up to the house and began filling the pool. While this was happening my young neighbor M. came over and caught me in the act. She began asking lots of questions, including when could she get in. I tried to explain that it was my pool for relaxing, not for other people to play in, and she offered to relax in it with me. Then she said, "I'll be right back," and left. A couple of minutes later she returned and said her mom said it was okay for her to play in my pool. I told her, nicely, that I hadn't invited her to play in my pool yet, so she shouldn't ask her mom yet. S. started laughing at me, because he knew I'd eventually give in, and went into the house. A few seconds later he came back outside and said, "Kerri, we have a problem." (Just like Apollo 13!) But I was still bickering with M. about whether or not I was going to share my pool with her, so I ignored S. until he yelled, "Kerri, your house is flooded!"
I turned off the hose, sent M. back home, and went inside to find my living room carpet soaked and about 1/2 inch of water on the linoleum in the kitchen/dining room. The pipe that runs from the house to the spigot outside had split. I started moving stuff up, around, and outside. In the process, I tried to push the dining table along the floor and one of the legs broke off. Since this was my lucky day, I caught the table before all my papers, teaching materials, etc. fell off into the water. At this point, Chester and Tessa are now in the backyard barking up a storm because they're missing all the fun in the house.
S. left to get a wet vac and I called the management co. I rented from. The ditzy girl working the answering service didn't know what a spigot was; I explained it and told her I needed someone ASAP. Neighbors came over to see what was going on and to offer help, S. returned with the wet vac, and I decided I'd better call the mgmt. co. again. A different woman answered and put me through to a maintenance guy right away. The carpet dryer-outer arrived, and he turned out to be just as chatty as S, so while he and S. carried on a great conversation and did a little work, I did some cleaning then went outside to quiet the dogs and talk to M., who had come back a couple of times to watch the fun. Twenty-four hours and a jumbo margarita later, I enjoyed my pool - alone.