Some see the pool half full

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First, let me state for the record that no dogs were harmed in the making of this column.

Primarily because those little buggers are fast and really hard to catch.

Our dogs easily outpaced the screaming woman (me), in a wet bathrobe and soaked slippers, who was coming at them like a crazed banshee muttering threats of doggie demise.

This is not the unreasonable response it might first seem.

It is, I firmly contend, the only appropriate and entirely reasonable response when the dogs eat your swimming pool.

Pool-ing together. To set the stage, my soul mate and I spent a blissfully hot and tedious Sunday afternoon painstakingly patching and coaxing a fairly massive, vinyl “pop up” swimming pool to hold water.

We did this with the unfailing assistance of two small children who, already clad in swimsuits and water wings, took the phrase, “Is it done yet Daddy, is it done yet?!” to newly annoying heights.

Meanwhile, always a nervous wreck about what could possibly go wrong with any endeavor, I helped by uttering dire predictions of disaster.

I was convinced we were emptying the last drop of water ever to be drawn from our well into this big, blue fishbowl of a pool.

Pessimist. I, you may note, am a world-class worrier. I pride myself on my innate and uncanny ability to sense the danger and possible pitfall of nearly any undertaking or endeavor. You see fun? I see disaster.

You could, in almost any seemingly fun activity, always poke an eye out. Think about it – you’ll see I’m right.

In this case, we could also end up waterless and forced to bathe in the pool for the duration of the summer.

Yes, I am a buzz-kill. It’s a gift really.

Therefore, I am first and foremost crushed – simply devastated – that I, proud of my world-class pessimism, completely missed the opportunity to worry about our dogs ingesting a 3,700 gallon swimming pool! It all seems so obvious now.

Breakfast. Yes, in some moments of madness early Monday morn, the entire top ring of the pool was reduced to a shredded vinyl mass.

There I stood, coffee in hand, glancing out the back door just in time to see the lovely waterfall effect as our precious water went gushing over the sides, the shredded vinyl billowing beautifully in the stream.

This is where I came in – screaming bloody murder and dashing around the backyard, slipper-sliding in the mud.

Crying a river. Crushed, I spent most of the day mourning the loss of my pool. Yes, I know there are people with real problems in the world, but I had a six-year-old who had been wearing floaties in breathless anticipation of swimming since shortly after we unrolled the pool Sunday afternoon.

What we had now was less of a pool, and more of a Slip ‘N Slide with aspirations. It was nothing more than a puddle of blue vinyl with, perhaps, an inch of water languishing in the bottom.

Certainly, I could – and would – buy another pool. I’m nothing if not a monumentally stupid glutton for punishment.

What to do? That would not, however, solve the afternoon’s problem, which was that I didn’t have a pool now and my daughter had a playmate coming home with her to swim in her “really big pool!”

What is a mother to do? This is NEVER covered in those What to Expect … parenting books. There is no chapter on dogs eating swimming pools!

I know. I checked. For this, I was on my own.

Too soon the girls were home from camp. Before I could stop her, my daughter was clad in her cutest little swimsuit and water wings, hopping up and down and excitedly chattering about all the swimming she and her little friend would soon do. Super duper.

Breaking the news. This is when I broke it to her about the pool: There would be no “swimming” as there was, at best, an inch of water on a tattered piece of plastic in the yard.

She looked at me – incredulously – and I braced myself for tears. Instead, she broke into a wide, beaming smile, and shouted excitedly to her friend, “Goodie! We won’t need floaties!”

Then, scrapping their water wings in mere moments, both girls raced to the pool-turned-puddle and proceeded to spend the afternoon happily splashing in what remained of the water. Who knew?

An old saying. I guess it’s true what they say about optimists (my daughter) and pessimists (me).

Sometimes your glass (or pool) is half empty, and sometimes it’s half full.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt has a new pool and slippers with better traction. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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