Sunday, March 28, 2010

Who needs a swimming pool when you have a grill?

Summer is just around the bend, but I will NOT be putting in a swimming pool. No, don’t even try to talk me into it. I have made up my mind.

Swimming pools are large money-sucking holes in the ground that require time, attention, maintenance, supervision, regulation, preservation, upkeep, and a whole lot of other words that apply to having a swimming pool, but not to just sitting on the couch sucking on a sweet iced tea.

Swimming pools require work. Work is a four-letter word. I don’t talk like that.

Take for instance the upkeep of a swimming pool. To keep the water clear, fresh and not crawling with algae and other icky things, you’ve got to put chemicals in the pool that if you breathe them, you’ll probably pass out and die, which means you’ve wasted a lot of perfectly good money on something you’ll never get to use. Socks would have been more practical, and not near as deadly.

And then there’s the chore of scooping up the leaves and branches and dead crickets and June bugs that just so happened to take a dip in your pool, uninvited, because it was there and they thought, “Hey, c’mon Alice, nobody will care, and we’ll be out before they even notice.” But they didn’t get out alive, and now they’re floating under the diving board, and you’ve got to clean up the mess because nobody’s going to want to swan dive through a bunch of deceased June bugs.

“Cliff, I thought you said you cleaned out all those dead bugs. Look at this. They’re all in my hair.”

“Sorry June. That’s the price you pay for having a swimming pool.”

When your pool is spiffy clean and in good repair, then you’re practically obligated to invite all your friends and relatives to swimming parties, where they play water volleyball, and you spend most of the time praying nobody pees in the pool. Of course, you’re not going to swim in there because if someone hasn’t peed in the pool already, sooner or later they will, and that’s just plain disgusting.

“Sorry Cliff, but I think my boy just peed in your pool. But, as they say, boys will be boys. So, when are those hamburgers gonna be done?”

Ah, hamburgers. Cooked on the grill. The aroma of beef and charcoal wafting through the air, helping you to forget about the thought of chlorine mixed with little boy pee. Because when it comes to having pool parties, you’re practically obligated to have a cookout, and to not have one would be akin to going to work without putting on your pants.

If I were to ever have a swimming pool, which I’m not, but just for argument’s sake let’s say I did, my station would be at the grill. Grills are easier to understand and take care of than swimming pools. Put charcoal in. Light it. Watch charcoal burn. Put meat on grill. Cook it. Try to stay upwind of the smoke. Take meat off grill. Eat it. Watch everybody roll their eyes in delight because meat cooked over charcoal tastes better than meat cooked on a stove. Stand guard to make sure nobody tries to pee in your grill.

An outdoor barbecue grill (charcoal, not gas heaven forbid) is one of those things that keeps us in touch with our past. We can watch the fire and imagine what our ancestors went through to tame the west, make a home out of the wilderness, build roads, communities, and thriving businesses, and then eventually champion inside plumbing, electricity, cable television, super megastores, and the need to put in swimming pools and throw pool parties for family and friends.

”Cliff, stop daydreaming. Our guests are hungry, and shouldn’t those burgers be done by now? Do you hear me Cliff?”

“Sorry June. I heard you.”

That’s when you start thinking, “Isn’t it time for these people to go home?” And then you start getting a little snippy, a little ill-tempered, a little surly, sulky and gruff. So much so that your friends and neighbors start to notice, start to grumble, start to make motions of leaving, which is okay by you, but then you say things like, “Going so soon? We’ll have to do this again sometime.” And they say, “When?”

Like I said before, I will NOT be putting in a swimming pool this summer. But I am giving some thought to a new grill. I can taste the burgers already!


  1. To earn money for a trip to Washington, my little girl is taking care of a swimming pool for friends. I drive her there, help her, drive her back. She and I agree that pools are too much trouble. Okay to visit, but wouldn't want to have one.

  2. We love our pool and find the extra effort to keep it is worth it. But then again, we live in Arizona where it's 110 degrees on a cool summer day. I swim daily and consider it my luxury in life.