Now that we are in the dog days of summer, and the heat makes dogs pant so much that they don’t even wear pants, it can safely be said that most people would give their right arms for a pool, which kind of defeats the purpose because they’d end up swimming in circles.
Nonetheless, a pool not only provides watery fun for homeowners — as well as their neighbors, who may or may not have been invited for a swim and often refuse to leave, causing the owners to either call the cops or put the house on the market — but it is a sure sign of status.
This leads neighbors without such luxuries to ask the following questions:
How can the Zezimas afford a pool?
Why don’t they invite us for a swim?
And, most pertinent, what the hell is gunite?
According to Merriam-Webster, who has a dictionary-shaped pool, gunite is “a building material consisting of a mixture of cement, sand and water that is sprayed onto a mold” and is used in luxury swimming pools.
I don’t want to brag, because the neighbors might hear me, but we have not one, not two, but three pools.
That they are of the kiddie variety is beside the point.
The kiddies are my granddaughters Chloe, 6, and her sister, Lilly, 2 1/2, who love to frolic in four inches of grass-flecked water while my wife, Sue, and I sit poolside in rickety beach chairs, attired stylishly in saggy T-shirts and ketchup-stained shorts while quaffing lukewarm summer ales straight out of the bottle, a sure sign of status.
Instead of gunite, these pools are made of good, old-fashioned, earth-destroying plastic and come in small, medium and large.
The biggest is 70 inches across and is lined with pictures of dinosaurs, which probably reminds the kids of their grandparents. It is filled not with special water from massive delivery trucks used by the rich and famous for their elaborate pools, but with what comes out of a garden hose. It is invariably cold enough to give a walrus pneumonia.
We use an energy-efficient heating system powered by either the sun or, if it is playing peekaboo with the clouds, boiled water from a teakettle.
Whereas the elite surround their pools with sophisticated landscaping that includes colorful pavers, sculpted rocks and finely manicured hillocks, we have a natural look featuring a broken walkway that hasn’t been repaired in more than a dozen years.
On one side is monstrous vegetation that includes an out-of-control holly bush, two ugly hydrangeas and Sue’s garden, which has so far produced only a handful of hot peppers and even fewer tomatoes. On the other side is an above-ground oil tank that is utterly useless for heating pool water.
You may have seen how Hollywood stars adorn their pools with elaborate waterfalls or artificial geysers that shoot water high enough to splash their private jets.
We have a little round sprinkler with plastic flowers. It sends water about 10 feet into the air. The girls like to run under the falling spray, which sometimes gets cut off if there is a kink in the hose. It is my job to fix the problem and get soaked in the process.
This vastly amuses my granddaughters, who then want me to stand in ankle-deep pool water with them and play with their toys. These aren’t battleship-size floats but squirt guns and action figures we otherwise keep in a soggy shopping bag.
For the girls’ next pool party, Sue has gone all out and bought a box of ice pops. The neighbors, I am sure, will be jealous.
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Hearst Connecticut Media and is the author of four books. His latest is “Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures.” Email: JerryZ111@optonline.net. Blog: www.jerryzezima.blogspot.com.