Friday, June 22, 2007

On Nearly Drowning Myself in My Own Backyard

Yesterday afternoon, I came home to an empty house and a bit of a mess in our backyard.

Evidently, there was a strong thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, which had picked up the solar cover off of our pool, flipped it around, and yanked the entire solar cover roller device (a 20 foot long metal bar with wheels and a roller mechanism) into the pool.

I quickly put on a swim suit and jumped into the pool in order to maneuver the roller out of the water without damaging the liner of the pool (a $2000+ problem). The d**m thing was heavy, but, I got it out and returned to the cement, at which point I tried to roll up the solar cover on it. (This may makes sense only to people who have pools...sorry.) Anyway, the solar cover was so creased and wrinkled and generally discombobulated, that I couldn't roll it up - it was going to have to be straighted out before it would roll up properly.


I jumped back into the pool, and grabbed one corner of the cover and swam with it towards the other end of the pool, and then I swam back and grabbed the other corner and swam with it, until I was, essentially, in the pool with the solar cover stretched over all of the water. (A bit like having painted oneself into a corner.) I was at the deep end of the pool, away from the ladder, and I turned around to try to pull myself out, but, my feet slipped on the liner and I slid backwards into the water and under the d**m solar cover.

At which point I had two thought processes running very quickly through my head.

The first one was: I am going to drown in my own backyard under the solar cover, despite the fact that I am both a strong swimmer and freakishly buoyant. (Not to toot my own horn or anything, since, generally speaking, buoyancy is not a highly prized quality in a human being. I did, however, once have a dive master in St. Lucia assure me, as she was fastening 10 more lbs to my already heavy SCUBA weight belt, "well, my lady, if there is one thing you can be sure of, it is that you will nevah-evah drown." Also, once, I almost drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, when I got caught in some kind of wicked undercurrent, but, then I remembered that you are supposed to swim diagonally towards the shore when that happens, so, I swam and swam and eventually washed up like a very tired lump in the sand, and, obviously, I did not drown. I did, however, get a sunburn on some girly bits that were exposed, because, well, it was FRENCH RIVIERA, and that's the way they roll in those parts.*)

Anyway, the point is, I was thinking that I would drown under the solar cover and my husband and children would come home and find me, drowned, under the solar cover, and wonder WHAT the HELL I had been thinking, going for a swim with the solar cover on. And it occurred to me that the last person I had communicated with before this stupid fiasco was my friend Matt, in San Francisco, via IM, to whom I had IM'd, "I'm going home now to float in my pool" - and how the HELL was THAT going to interpreted once it came out that I had, in fact, DROWNED under my own pool cover (???), and also I thought that the whole thing felt like the opening scene of an episode of Six Feet Under during which someone dies in a stupid and ridiculous way, and I could just hear my husband's confusion and insistence that I could not have accidentally drowned in my own stupid back yard when I could swim strongly enough not to drown in the ocean, and also need extra weight to keep me from floating to the surface whilst SCUBA diving, and what the hell had I been doing in the first place, since he would not have known about the solar cover roller being in the pool in the first place.

(It's taking me far longer to describe this thought pattern than to actually think it, by the way.)

The second thought process in my mind, the most basic thought process probably coming from the most basic part of my brain was, "DO NOT DROWN" and "FIND THE LADDER" - which is, obviously, what I did, which is how I managed to escape the sucking solar cover of doom, and also the embarrassment of drowning in my own beloved backyard pool.

The whole scary episode lasted about 45 seconds of under-water time.

After which, I successfully rolled the solar cover up, got back in the pool, and then floated for a long time on my back, enjoying my freakish buoyancy....


*I would highly recommend, if you are ever on a French beach, and decide to "go native" and take your top off - WEAR SUNSCREEN on your girly bits. A LOT OF IT. Like, SPF 60. I did have sunscreen on, but, it didn't survive my fight with the undercurrent.


Blogger Space Mom said...

I would be horrified by your experience if I wasn't snorting coffee out my nose!

Friday, June 22, 2007 4:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

Let me just say how very very glad I am that you did NOT drown in your own pool!!!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007 5:12:00 PM  
Blogger KelleyO said...

OMG! How scary is that!!! I'm glad you are okay.

Friday, June 22, 2007 8:31:00 PM  
Blogger jenn said...

I got stuck under my parent's one once. You don't realize how crazy heavy those things are until you are in deep water UNDER the thing. I've always made sure my kids know about it...scares me a bit. Glad you made it out and thanks for the girly-parts warning...just in case.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 5:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicki said...

Ok, that is seriously scary and hilarious all at the same time. I'm also freakishly buoyant but NOT a good swimmer. I don't think I'd have survived 45 seconds :-/

I'm afraid these girly bits will NEVER see the light of day, french riviera or not!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007 9:33:00 PM  
Blogger Nicole - Raising Animals said...

I'm with Space Mom; That would be a horribly scary story if I weren't laughing at your expense right now. I'm also with Nicki on two points; I would not have survived the 45 minutes, so I'm impressed, and my girl parts will never see the light of day in the French Riviera. Unless we win the lotto and then I'll have the girly parts to flash all over the place....French Riviera or not.

This is how I post comments now....I just steal the thoughts of other posters! hahah

Saturday, June 23, 2007 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

OMG! That was hilarious! Not so funny had you drowned, but you didn't, so OMG that was hilarious!

Sunday, June 24, 2007 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger niobe said...

Congratulations on not being drowned. And also on writing a seriously hilarious (and quite informative) post.

Gosh, I'm glad I don't have a pool.

Sunday, June 24, 2007 8:35:00 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

OMG! I'm nearly hyperventilating at the thought of being in that situation! I don't know if I could hold my breath for 45 seconds either.

SO glad you made it out OK. And I just have to add that I love (and inspired by) the way you write.

Sunday, June 24, 2007 3:39:00 PM  
Blogger maxhelcal said...

Yikes! Thank goodness you're okay.

Now....don't get mad at me but I am gonna yell at you. That's what friends are for right?????

Gretchen!!!! Never, EVER swim alone! Crazy accidents happen and you could hit your head and be knocked unconscious etc. One of my very best friends just recently fell into her pool by accident when she was home alone and broke 3 of her ribs. Thank goodness she is okay too. So please be careful.

I hear you about the liner! Thank goodness we have gunite as my son Cal frequently rides his bike into ours. :-0 Crazy kid!


Monday, June 25, 2007 1:25:00 PM  

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