CJDaily's Blog

July 31, 2009

Sweat and tears…

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 11:19 pm

My mother is the exact opposite of me.  I am more of a “get all my ducks in a row” type person before I do well, ANYTHING, and she is a “Hey an idea just popped into my head I’ll be right back” kind of gal.  Take today for example.  She mentioned something about needing to mow the backyard, but didn’t say when.  Belle was acting antsy and since it was humid as hell outside we’d been staying in the the air conditioning.

My phone rang and I started having a conversation with my sister, but Belle was causing a ruckus in the background, so my Mom took her out of the room.  Next thing I know, Mom has Belle in a bathing suit and is zooming out the back door with her.  I assume she’s taking her out to let her play with the hose or in the sprinkler.

A few minutes later I look out the back window and see what the actual scenario is.  Belle is squeezed into last years bathing suit, since it was the only one Mom could find without interrupting me.  Her chunky little thighs are exploding out of the bottom and the neckline of the suit is level with her armpits.  She is standing on a deflated pool that my mom bought for her last week but hasn’t inflated yet.  There is a puddle of hose water in the bottom of the deflated plastic and Belle is shrieking with joy and doing what looks like a rain dance, falling down every five seconds because it’s slippery. 

“Mom!” I stick my head out of the sliding door.  “The pool’s not inflated!”

“Oh, she’s having a great time,” Mom flaps a dismissive hand at my indignant face.

“Mom!” I hiss.  “She is standing on a deflated pool in a puddle of water in a bathing suit that shows her nipples!  Could we be any more white trash?”

My mother takes this way too lightly and just laughs, while I hustle outside to see if I can cast some dignity on this situation.  It is so hot and humid I feel like I am practically drinking the air.  The grass has still not be mown and is practically a mosquito breeding ground.  Within five seconds I am doing a dance of my own, flinching and wincing and flailing in the air.  Belle is totally unperturbed, still shimmying in her puddle, but I am shrieking and little welts are appearing all over my body. 

“It’s awful out here!” I wail to my mom, who has pulled out the lawn mower and looks prepared to use it, regardless of the baby pool smack in the middle of the yard.  She says something insensitive about me being a total wuss, and hands me a little hand pump that I take in order to try and inflate the plastic dance-floor in our yard. 

The pool my mom bought is a substantial sized babypool.  It is shaped like a figure 8, although obviously not connected in the middle, and takes roughly 135 gallons to fill.  That’s right.  For a one year old.  I would have bought her the plastic turtle kind that you can only sit cross-legged in.  But instead I have this behemoth plastic UFO taking up a quarter of my yard, and it has TWO levels that need to be inflated–the bottom layer of the walls, and then the top layer.  I feel like taking the hand pump my Mom just gave me and hurling it at her but instead I grimly set it down and go inside first.

A quick trip to the laundry room gives me two bottles of bug spray.  I already have bites all over my feet, legs, arms, even on my elbows.  Maybe some people don’t mind mosquitoes, but when I get bitten I get huge red welts like there’s a plague sweeping the land.  They itch like a bitch and last for a week or two.  Call me a wimp, but I can’t stand it.  So before I go back outside I hose myself down with the less toxic looking spray bottle, and bring both bottles back outside just in case. 

The little hand pump is a joke.  I am pumping and sweating and I don’t even see the plastic pool walls moving.  Belle is very amused, both with me toiling over the hand pump, and Mom who has begun mowing the lawn–around the pool.  I decide to drag the pool over to the porch to at least get it out of Mom’s way, and to escape the ankle high grass I’m squatting in while the mosquitoes fly up my dress.  Oh yes–did I mention I’m wearing a short sundress? 

I call my dad, asking if he has something better to inflate the pool.  When I describe to him what I am using he laughs so hard he can’t speak for a full minute, during which I sit sweating, covered in grass, water, and bug spray that smells like toxic waste, not really feeling the joke.  Apparently there is a much better air pump in the garage, and I retrieve it, shaking it at my mother from across the yard.  She is still pushing the mower, oblivious to my rage.  At least this pumps works better.  Belle is still splashing around in her puddle, which is now filled with grass clippings.  Grass is plastered to her legs because she can’t resist running over to follow Mom for a minute, then running back full speed to jump back in her pathetic plastic puddle.  Her bathing suit is straining at the seams and she is soaking wet.  She looks homeless.  She is having the time of her life.

I, however, am spraying myself down with the more deadly looking bug-spray, as the first layer apparently isn’t strong enough to dissuade the hungriest mosquitos.  I am vividly reminded of the scene in The African Queen where Katharine Hepburn  is swarmed by mosquitos in the jungle.  I can see them hovering a few inches away, repelled for a moment before they decide to go for it anyway.  I am pushing the air pump up and down desperately,  watching the walls inflate at the speed of a Baywatch babe running down the beach.  SO SLOWWWWLY. 

It is when my butt starts itching that I realize the enemy has breached my defenses and it is time to retreat.  The multiple layers of sticky, sewer-scented, ozone damaging bug spray have failed me.  I am itching like mad and my dress is clinging to me in a combination of sweat and puddle water.  I am decorated in grass clippings that my daughter has thoughtfully smeared on me.  I smell. 

I quit. 

Plucking Belle from her barely inflated embarrassment of a pool, I take her inside, heading straight for the bathroom.  If she wants water, I know of a good bathtub that’s deeper than half an inch and doesn’t need to be inflated.  And when I am clean and covered in cortisone cream I am going to have a good long talk with my mother about doing things in the proper order, like mowing before pool time, or inflating before filling.  Or maybe just staying inside when the backyard is 100 degrees and full of bloodsucking insects.  Just a thought.

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