Saturday, April 23, 2016

Adventures of the Able-Bodied Spouse: Me vs. The Pool Cover

Every once in a while, I have an encounter that is so blog worthy, you'd think it was pre-calculated. The kind that is frustrating, pathetic, sad, and hilarious all rolled into one package. I've written about them before. Remember my encounter with the rat in our backyard? Or the time I set up a holiday light display all by myself in our front yard? Yep, I've got another one of those stories.

As the wife of a quadriplegic, all of the physical work regarding the house belongs to me. Some of the time I get help - either from family or professionals. But in other instances, there's simply no one else available to get the job done.

If you don't already know this about Las Vegas, it can get really windy here. So yesterday afternoon, the wind came barreling in from the mountains (honestly, I don't know where it comes from - or from what direction for that matter - but that sounded really good). By the time the sun set, the winds were in full effect. You could hear it battering against the house - feel it almost when the gusts would hit hard.

Late in the evening, Jeff and I were talking in our bedroom when we heard a loud flapping noise in the backyard. We both looked at one another with wrinkled brows. "Check the fence," said Jeff as he looked toward the doors in our bedroom that lead to the backyard. I walked across the room, opened the right-side door, and squinted into the darkness. I could still make out the outline of the fencing we have around our pool equipment. It's been known to flop over backward in the wind, but it was still in place tonight. Then I looked over to the pool and saw what was making the noise.

"It's the pool cover," I shouted to Jeff over my shoulder as I stepped out into the wind to further investigate. About a third of the cover had blown back on itself. The loose end was still flapping. I knelt down and grabbed the end closest to me. I had planned to pull it back onto the pool, but as I lifted the corner, the cover suddenly transformed into a sail. The wind pushed its way under the cover, lifting it like one of those colorful parachutes kids play with at the end of a tumbling class.

Right then I knew I had two choices: I could let go of the cover (and possibly watch it take flight over into the neighbor's yard), or I could just go with it and try to maneuver the cover off of the pool and up against the house. I went with the second option. So holding on with both hands now, the wind and I effectively removed almost the entire pool cover in a span of about 3 seconds. I trudged over to the portion of the cover still in the water, gripped it with both hands, and heaved it - grunt and all - like a Strong Man Competition contender onto the concrete. I was more than a little damp by this point. And nearly out of breath. I most definitely set the record time for solo pool cover removal this night.

I knew I couldn't just leave the cover haphazardly lying up against the back of the house. The wind would likely catch it again and splay it up against the back windows. So I began squishing it as quickly and compactly as I could - which in the end really wasn't very compact. Remember the movie Tremors with those giant sand worms? It looked like that - only blue.

Now, I had the unenviable task of hauling the cover onto the side of the house where it had the best chance of remaining intact as a blob until morning. So I grabbed it from the end, and pulled. My first attempt was underwhelming. I had to really put my back and legs into it to get the whole, heavy, soaking wet blob to move. So using the weight of my being, I leaned back and began dragging the cover like a dead body around the corner of the house. I would love to tell you that I was able to make a smooth turn, but alas, that's not what happened. The cover got hung up on the corner. So I dropped the end and made my way up to the snag.

The side of our house is rather narrow, and considering we have a couple patio chairs and a trash can stored over there, with the introduction of the blue blob, I now had nowhere to walk. I kept losing my footing, slipping on the wet cover, and tripping over the miscellaneous pool tools. (Note to self: clean the side yard ASAP). Did I mention the only light I had in this endeavor was supplied by the moon?

I somehow freed the cover from the corner snag, and kept up the grudge work of pulling/pushing it around the corner. By now the wind had picked up again, and was blowing so furiously that the pool water was splattering me. I felt like a deckhand on one of those crab fishing reality shows.  Little sharp particles of water were hitting me in the face. My tank top and shorts attire was entirely inadequate as my arms and legs were splattered with little pieces of wet dirt.

Finally, finally, I finished hauling the blob around the corner. I let out a loud sigh, gave it a dirty look, and headed back into the bedroom.

"What happened?" asked Jeff as I stepped inside. In my frenzy, I had forgotten that he didn't know what was really going on out there. He couldn't possibly have known. He was already in his bed, and had only heard me say something about the pool cover before I disappeared out the door. He heard the ruckus of the pool cover being wrangled about the concrete, then saw me reappear looking like I'd narrowly survived a hurricane.

"The pool cover blew off," I said. My breathing was still heavy.

The ever-so-practical and blunt husband of mine looked at me and said, "Well, it's better than it ending up on the neighbor's roof."

Which is exactly what I was thinking, too.

Here's a picture of the cover this morning:

And here's the best picture I could find to depict the wind. It was taken 10 years ago in Hawaii at a very windy spot on Oahu. This is how I felt last night. Minus the smile:


As humorous as this event is - and truthfully, right after it happened, I thought This is for sure going on the blog - the truth is that today, the day following the fight with the pool cover, was a hard one for me. For me as a quad wife. For me as the person with all the physical responsibility.

I didn't want to do today.

I didn't want a husband who is paralyzed.

I didn't want to do everything for him. I didn't want to feed him, or wipe his eyes, or brush his teeth, or get him dressed.

I wanted him to do those things for himself.

I wanted one of our old Saturdays, where I would take Evie to Target and the grocery store. Maybe the park. A day where I wouldn't have to arrange for someone to stay with Jeff and be responsible for keeping him alive while I'm gone.

I wanted a Saturday where Jeff would drink beer all day long and play video games. I know, I can't believe I actually miss those two things - but I do. He hasn't done either one since his injury.

Most days I am fine with doing everything. Most days I don't dwell on the past or compare our new life to our old life with sadness and envy. Most days I am okay with this life.

Today wasn't one of those days.

But tomorrow is just around the corner.

Kind of like the pool cover.

This evening the wind has died down a bit. I checked the pool temperature, and it's dropped considerably since yesterday without the bubble cover to heat it. We really wanted it to be warm this weekend for Evie and her friends to swim. But the wind had other plans.

"We need to put it on tonight," said Jeff.

"Nope," I said, shaking my head. "Not a chance."

The wind is supposed to be back again soon. And frankly, I need a little more time before I'm ready for Round 2.