when steve went swimming

My parents bought this easy set pool for $50 at Target a few weeks ago. This is one of those pools that has the inflatable ring that floats on the water and keeps the pool walls up. Or something. I don’t know, it’s science-y. They’d been wanting to get an inexpensive pool for quite some time, but worried that the outdoor cats would immediately destroy anything inflatable. But when Mom saw that this one was only $50, she figured it would be a good test. If the cats destroyed it right away, she’d only wasted $50 learning that lesson.

Of course they then spent another $50 getting accessories for the pool, but whatever. It was still pretty cheap.

So apparently the pool was a success, because for several days in a row I couldn’t get a single one of the five people living there to answer a landline or cell phone. They’d call me a few hours later, saying they’d been out in the pool. They’re always in the pool. I think they may be eating and sleeping in the pool these days, especially with this crazy heat wave we’re having.

One of the main reasons my family and I ever talk on the phone is to exchange cat stories. So I’d called them one night to tell them about the camel cricket Abby and Marco had caught and partially dismembered in the hallway. They’d been acting all weird and kept coming over to me and meowing significantly, and when I got up later and headed down the hallway I saw this giant…THING. And they ran over and posed by it for a while. And then Marco picked it up and started to bring it to me, which is about when I realized it was what was left of a very large bug and ran shrieking in the other room. So yeah anyway, I called them to tell them that. And they told me about how they were outside one day and heard a PLOP and a SPLASH and looked over to see Steve the cat paddling around in the new pool.

Ha ha ha, funny stories, we all laughed and that was that.

This past weekend I was feeling completely shitty about, basically, the entire universe, and when I called my mom to whine about it she suggested that I drive over on Sunday and enjoy the Miracle Pool with them. The Miracle Pool, it seems, cures what ails you. Even if it’s mental flu.

So I drove over on Sunday to enjoy the Miracle Pool, and sure enough, as I was coming up the hill I saw Jamie swimming around in it where they’d set it up on the basketball court. I went in and changed into my bathing suit and joined her, and a little while after that, Mom and Dad came out too.

The best thing about this pool is that it’s 30″ deep, which is pretty much the perfect height if you just want to sit in the water. It comes up to just above my shoulders. So we’re all sitting there in a circle, and making idle conversation, and talk came around to Stevie in the pool again. Dad says that he could have sworn Steve jumped into the pool on purpose and, in fact, enjoyed the swim. And then, the next thing we knew, we were wondering aloud if he’d be as excited to swim a second time. So we told Jamie to go find him and put him in the pool.

IMPORTANT PLOT POINT: Not once did any of the three voting adults in the pool suggest that dumping an overgrown, spastic, fully-clawed cat into a swimming pool with AN INFLATABLE RING HOLDING IT UP might not be the best plan. In fact, we sat there excitedly waiting to see what would happen when Steve went swimming.

I can assure you that Stevie’s first swim was not, in fact, something he did on purpose, and if his behavior this time was any indication, it was certainly not something he enjoyed. Because Steve started paddling frantically for the side of the pool, and in total movie slow-mo we all realized what was going on, and in slow distorted voices we yelled, “Jamie, GET THE CAT” and she reached for him and he flailed and caught both his front paws and one of his back ones in the inflatable ring at the top of the pool.

Jay flung Steve out of the pool, he went tearing off somewhere with the last shreds of his feline dignity, and Mom and Dad started yelling at Jamie like she’d run over a toddler with her car, while also trying to spring into action and out of the pool to find the patch kit. *This is a good time to reference IMPORTANT PLOT POINT, above.*

I was still all mopey and low-energy so I kind of just sat there and watched it unfold. My family is kickass in a major crisis, but in a minor crisis like the multiple puncture wounds to the $50 Miracle Pool, they deal with things basically by bickering and bitching each other to death. So Jamie was feeling all stung and kept protesting that she didn’t think Steve would claw the pool, and Mom and Dad were trying to dry off the ring and find all the holes and get the patch kit set while arguing about the best way to patch the pool. And I just sat there and leaned back a bit and made a snarky comment about how I could have felt shitty in the peace and quiet of my own home rather than here with everyone bitching.

And then the wall of the pool collapsed behind me and I started getting washed away as the 600 gallons of water began pouring down the hill.

The water was really insanely strong and I hadn’t been expecting that I might drown in the Miracle Pool because we decided it was a good idea to dump Steve the cat into the water. Luckily we managed to grab the rapidly-deflating ring on that side before too much water was lost (and before I drowned) and Jamie and I braced ourselves and held that side of the wall up while Mom and Dad finished the patch job and filled the ring with air again. The swimming vibe was pretty much gone by then, so we went inside and showered and changed and Dad kept checking the pool for the rest of the night to see if the patch had held.

The Miracle Pool was still standing when I left the house at 6:30 the next morning, and as far as I know it’s still standing today. It’s a pretty good bet that it is because I don’t think anyone in my family has called me all week.

Comments 10

  • SO FUNNY! I love it. Glad you’re writing again!

  • What was not mentioned in the story was that the adult male of the house said (probably in some foreign language) was “if you put the cat in the pool, make sure we are all close enough to grab said cat if he tries to climb out” All areas were covered except were cat was dropped into the pool. The person who was covering that area ( will not mention name ) and by the way was not in the pool, just watched as the cat paddled to her area. We all screamed to bring her out of her trance but were not fast enough. And thats the rest of the story!

  • I’m still laughing at “Mom and Dad started yelling at Jamie like she’d run over a toddler with her car.”

  • This made me very happy. Amen to you writing again!

  • A simple “watch his claws” doesn’t really suffice.

  • thanks for making my day!!!!!!!

    your family and mine are quite alike but your stories tend to be better, but maybe it is the writer and not the stories…

  • Nice! I totally want a Miracle Pool now…

  • how i’ve missed you, lorie! yay!! hope you’re well … or at least hanging in there.

    i love the name ‘steve’ for a cat.

    smusses!

  • […] Eight years ago I wrote about this stupid dream I had, but I also wrote one of my favorite stories on the site, about the time we put Steve the cat in the swimming pool. […]

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