If at first you don’t succeed…

I think it must be a rule in the Grandparent Field Guide that once one has successfully welcomed multiple grandchildren into the world, the next step is to install a pool on your property for said grand children’s enjoyment.

Some of the best memories from my childhood are of summer days spent with my siblings and cousins at my grandparent’s pool.  The pool games were endless.  Sure, we played the legit games such as Marco Polo & Bull-Dog, but the best ones were made up:

  • Dive For Pennies – Throw pennies in the pool & see who could collect to most
  • Walk Like an Egyptian – My aunt would blast the Bangles song of the same name as we literally walked like an Egyptian to the water’s edge, at which point we’d do the craziest jump and/or dive we could think of.
  • Nerf Ball Toss – Jumping into the pool, a designated uncle would throw a Nerf football at us as we were mid-air.  The resulting catches & misses were pretty hilarious.
  • Shark Attack – Played at night, we’d turn the patio lights off and fill the entire pool with floaties and rafts, and the “shark” would hide amongst the flotsam and “attack” us as we tried to safely navigate from one end of the pool to the other.  Last one to be “eaten” won the game.

We’d have sleep-overs on summer nights and wake up to my grandfather’s pancakes (which I swear were the best on earth) after which we would race each other into the water…there was always something magical about being in the water early in the morning as opposed to the mid-afternoon heat.  And the air conditioning inside always felt 40 degrees colder than normal when we would later come in for one of my grandmothers patented milkshakes.

Me and Poppy...from a looong time ago!

Matthew and Aubrey from not so long ago. (10 years maybe?)

My little brother, from around the same time...practicing a pencil dive.

My grandparents typically weren’t swimmers, but they’d always be watching us have our fun from inside.  Occasionally, my grandfather would stick his head out the window to sternly remind us to “keep the water in the pool!” and follow up with his harmless “three strikes and you’re out for five minutes” policy.  When they did come outside, we would literally put on a diving show for them.  We’d perform our best dives, twists, and jumps (set to music like “Whoop, There It Is!”) as the they and the other “adults” looked on and judged our efforts.


As epic of a trip down memory lane that was, here’s the crazy part:  Missy experienced the exact same thingHer grandparent’s had their own pool too!  Ok, so maybe she didn’t play “Walk like an Egyptian,” but if you ask her, I’m sure she could tell you about her own crazy, made-up games she played with her siblings and cousins too.  Having a pool to utilize any time, day or night, without having to deal with the madness of a public water park, was a true blessing that, as the days get warmer, we’ve fully begun to appreciate.

+  +  +  +  +

As you know, we’ve already tried the baby pool out, and even though the girls enjoyed their time in it, Missy and I couldn’t fully partake in the fun ourselves. We needed another option if we were going to get our swim on as well during the hot summer days.  Turns out, somebody must have read the Grandparent Field Guide, because just over a month ago, this showed up at the Florer Farm: an 15’ diameter by 42″ deep, self rising, above ground pool!  The perfect size for cooling off on a hot summer day with three babies in tow!

However, installation wasn’t as easy as the picture on the box made it out to be.  Our first attempt was…well…a failure.

The top ring is supposed to be round, not oblong.

Trying to redistribute the water.

The blue tube is supposed to be round as the pool fills, and the floor is supposed to be wrinkle free…two things that were obviously not happening.  The water began to gather on the downhill side, which rendered the rest of the pool useless.  At least the girls (and Aunt Shannon) got a nights worth of enjoyment out of it.

So we drained our first efforts and relocated the pool to what we thought were flatter grounds.  Yet as we began to refill, the same problems started to appear, forcing us to pull the plug {literally} once again.  At this point, It was obvious that we needed to bring out the big guns. Armed with rakes, shovels, a laser-level, and Grandpa Steve, we proceeded to create a truly flat area as a base for our inflate-a-pool.

Regrading the lawn.

Minor slope changes made a major difference.

After a nights worth of work, all our efforts finally paid off, big time! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Finally filling properly.

Two more days of filling later, we finally had our pool.

The final product.

Hopefully one which we can enjoy now and for many summers to come.

Jovie in the Pool

Just floatin' around! (Pay no attention to that stupid pipe.)

Rowan enjoying the water.

Grandma Cindy with Rowan and Sienna.

It won’t be long now until I’m teaching them to dive for their pennies ;-)!

This entry was posted in All by Tom Hardinge. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

9 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed…

  1. and here I try again! Next summer you will have to teach them how to play “Spider on the wall!” Poppy/Dad loved playing that game he made up with all his grandbabies!!

  2. Pingback: Our Anni-Father-Versary-Day Weekend | living in pursuit

  3. Pingback: Snapshots | So Long, Sweet Summer | living in pursuit

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