I have acquired new and wonderous super-powers lately. Nothing as flash as the power of invisibility (with this voice who am I kidding), or how NOT to wake-up with a hang-over after one too many Saving-Mum-Blancs, but learning general fixings and upkeep that I am sure any good-natured boy scout would give an appreciative nod to.
I am getting all handy about the place which as you can imagine comes with its own soundtrack of muffled swear words followed by a triumphant, ‘Hey girls guess what mum did today?’ Joan Rivers and The QE2 give me varying levels of positive reinforcement, not so much for a job well done…but for not completely cocking it up.
Baby steps people.
One of the first things I had to wrap my head around was back-washing the pool. I still don’t really understand what this means or why this is so crucial, all I know is that it needs to happen once every 3 weeks. It’s a bit like descaling the coffee machine, there is little visual gratification for the twenty minutes of your life you will never get back, but apparently it preserves the life of the thing.
I would much rather fix or create something that people notice or admire. Arranging flowers, setting the mood for a dinner party, painting a wall, even working in the garden. I would rather stand back and bask in the glow of my handy work with the outbreak of applause to spur me on.
Back-washing the pool does not fall into this category.
I am a usually quite good at all the other pool bits. I skim the leaves, brush down the sides, clear out the filters and all that malarkey (again more visually satisfying). I look at it as free exercise. I stick in the headphones and off I go, while Millicent Olivia Sophia Louise, the worst Cavoodle in the world, skips along behind me sniffing the pile of wet leaves as they emerge. I think she is hoping I will catch a salmon or something. Nothing like a bit of outside work in the fresh air I say.
Back-washing the pool was a new thing for me along with understanding the intricacies of pool chemistry (and relighting the pilot light on the hot water service, but that’s for another time).
Off I went to Swimmart in Malvern. Probably the most profitable business in Australia behind BHP.
I rocked up with my empty chlorine tubs and a sample of water, all profesh like. The guys in there are lovely but I loathe the way they feel compelled to tutor me in chemistry. I explained I am more of word person.
Me: “Hey guys, would you mind testing the water for me?”
The Guys: “How green is the pool.”
Me: “Are we talking Hunter boots green or a Caribbean wallpaper green?”
The Guys (with blank looks on their faces): “Can you see the bottom of the pool?”
Me: “If you mean can I see the next-door neighbours’ deciduous somethin’ somethin’ that has blown over the fence now residing at the bottom of my expensive water feature, then yes.”
The Guys: “Ok so you may need to add one litre of acid.”
Me (feeling a science class coming on): “Can you please just write it down.”
The Guys: “Then you are going to need to run the filter for about two hours.”
Me (clearly, they didn’t hear me): “Can you please write it down.”
The Guys: “Then your gunna load in the chlorine. Half a drum should do it.”
Me: “Look, here is a pen and paper. Would you mind writing it all down.”
The Guys: “Then after another two hours, tip in this over-priced bullshit-in-a-can because we think we can probably strip another $40 out of this transaction.”
Me: “I will sign a confession to say that I am unapologetically a girl and don’t give a flying hoot about pool chemicals, if for the love of God, you just write it sodding-well down!”
I leave there 30 minutes later with an entourage of men carting plastic barrels of chemical God-knows-what out to the car. To be honest I was in fear of turning on the ignition seeing myself as the Wily Coyote about to go up in smoke while attached to a raft of ACME fireworks.
Safely home, I followed the list of instructions and was happy to see that all this farting about did not result in a mushroom cloud going off over the house, so I must have done it correctly.
Anyhoos, since then I have managed to keep the pool situation remarkably in hand. I have even found a way to enhance the back-washing experience by making a coffee and standing out by the filter frigging around with the knobs and timers, all while surfing the interwebs for new and fascinating peanut butter protein ball recipes. It seems far less like a complete and utter waste of my time now.
Of course, one should ever get ahead of oneself. Just as I was contemplating building a gazebo now that I was all handy and such, I was brought promptly back to earth one morning after my run to see I had flooded the pool.
Me: “Oh, for fuck’s sake. “
The Guys: “Hello this is Swim Mart. Ms Muller hello. CHA CHING!!!”
Love Jaq xxx
P.S I have been so blown away by all your amazing support with the announcement of my new radio show, The Breakfast Stable on 1377 SEN+. Apparently I was the only one surprised that I would one day manage to wear down the management of Crocmedia to give me and my gorgeous Stablemates our own show. Launching 7am on May 12 (Mother’s Day) we will give you the latest on what’s happening in and around Melbourne. I know it’s early but I promise to use inside voices!