May 12th, 2008



Hey! Who turned off the heat? The temperature plunged today, in half, and the wind is blowing cold. The pansies are happy about it, though, if no one else is, since they were beginning to wilt. I was afraid it was too good to last, and though I'm very hopeful that the last week and a half of absolutely perfect weather won't be the last we'll see all summer, I've lived in Sweden far too long to be sanguine about our chances. So, hold your thumbs that Swedish summer has not come and gone already in May!

It's exceptionally poor timing on the temperature's part since we caved this past weekend and got us a pool. A pool? In Sweden? Bwahahaha! Yes, I know, we're officially insane, but it was used and only 200 kronor from Anders' boss (his kids are too big for it now) and our kids are over the moon with happiness. It's as high as my waist and big and round, approximately as big as the big trampoline, and though the water is straight out of the hose (read: ICE COLD) that hasn't deterred the children from jumping in the second it was full, and inviting all their friends to join them, whereupon they went dancing around it in a leaping, screaming and shivering circle while the sun shone down on their chattering teeth and blue lips.

Anders is currently building a FENCE around the pool, since according to Swedish law, we are held responsible should anything untoward happen in our pool whether or not we are home. I have already hammered these rules into my children's over-excited brains, but I think I shall have to make a sign in great black letters on a white board and post it on the fence:

Ek Pool: The Rules
2. NO letting your friends drown
3. NO letting your friend's little brothers/sisters drown
4. NO swimming WHATSOEVER when Mama & Papa aren't home
5. NO sitting on the edge of the pool in your swimsuit WAITING for Mama & Papa to get home. Nice try.

There. I am officially a party pooper. But, if you knew how many horrible nightmares about drowning children I have had, you would understand. I had a difficult enough time with swimming lessons.

The last rule is a sort of inside joke that no one else would ever understand, although my sister might possibly remember once I've jogged her memory. And my brother has sworn that it's the first thing he'll do when/if he gets up here while it's summer.

For one year, when I was in sixth grade, we lived in a townhouse complex in Montgomery, Alabama, while my dad did some military officer training school or something. It was the year before we moved to Europe, the year my sister was in the newspaper with a full page spread of her in a bathing suit walking her rabbit on a leash. Living in Alabama was...something special, but the coolest thing about the townhouse complex was that it was built in a series of contained rectangles that each surrounded a large pool. I don't remember how many pools there were, but we had one in our backyard, basically, and so did all of the friends that we made that year, whether they lived in our complex or another.

One complex, not too far from us, housed a family with 2 kids that we became friendly with to a certain degree. They were well-off, from what I remember, and the mother was a country music singer but not anyone famous that I can put a name to. They couldn't have been that big-time, or they certainly wouldn't have been living in a townhouse complex with a bunch of military brats in Montgomery. Anyway, the major thing that I remember about them is that they had a HUGE rectangular trampoline. It was the only trampoline I'd ever been on, and practically the only since, until we bought one for our own kids a few summers ago.

Around THEIR pool, which was apparently a bit more exclusive than ours, was a high brick wall. The trampoline was just inside the wall, on the cement yard surrounding the pool. It was close enough, if you turned the trampoline (with the help of ALL the kids around) end-wise to the pool, to jump FROM THE WALL to the trampoline and BOUNCE INTO THE WATER.

Which was freaking awesome and a wonder that there were never (that I knew of) any pulped skulls or smashed bodies from missing the trampoline or the water.

Anyway, I really hope the summer obliges us by being the best ever so we can justify the stupid pool. Any other rules I need to add in big block letters?

Great Big Gobs of Belated Birthday Wishes to the sadly-missing-in-action Sheryl!
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