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Our new oasis

Rick Ryckeley's picture

I will admit something in writing for all my readers to see – I, Rick Ryckeley, want a pool in my backyard.
Not just any pool, mind you. I want a backyard oasis. It will have a waterfall flowing down into a grotto like the pool I love in Orlando. A wet sun deck will lead into a shallow end. A fountain made from an out-of-service fire hydrant will be the center of a wet play area for the newly arrived granddaughter.

I’ve wanted this pool for years, and each time I visit a friend who has a pool, I just add another idea to my wish list.
I use logic to justify anything I want to convince The Wife to go along with my great ideas. After all, The Wife is very logical. She can justify a weekly delivery from that Internet shoe store without me figuring out any counter argument.
“After all,” she says, “I have feet, and so I must have shoes.”

Read on dear reader, and you will learn how I convinced The Wife that we really do need a backyard oasis complete with waterfall, grotto, sundeck, and fire-hydrant fountain.
When I want to buy something, I can always justify it by one of three ways. They will work for you also.

First, “I had to buy it because it was on sale. The special sale was about to end, so I had to act now.”
This works most of the time, except when I want to buy something that’s not actually on sale.

Something I really want not on sale? Fear not, great consumer. Just use my second way of justification, “It was buy one, get one free.”
When all else fails, when the item isn’t on sale or buy one get, one free, use my third and favorite way of justification: “Buying it will save us money.”

The latter was my go-to approach to justify a backyard oasis with waterfall, grotto, sun deck, and fire-hydrant fountain.
Yes, I know. A pool is expensive to build and maintain, but here are my justifications. Feel free to use them to persuade your loved one. Soon you too could be splashing around in a backyard water oasis of your very own. Here’s how I convinced The Wife.

A pool will actually save us money. Yep, hard to believe, but it’s true. Doctors agree; swimming is a great way to exercise. More exercise, means fewer trips to the doctor. Fewer trips to the doctor mean fewer doctor bills. See, we can save money by building a pool.
Besides, anyone who’s fallen down and broken a hip needs a pool for rehab. But, I’m just getting started with building this argument.
If your loved one claims that you can’t swim in a pool during the winter because it’s just too cold, and the cost of heating the water with gas is sky high, point out the error in their counter arguments like I did when The Wife asked the same questions.

I told her I’d simply write another check to heat the pool year round. Solar panels on the roof will do the job nicely and sunlight is free. Just think of the money we’ll save not having that high gas bill. Now we can swim, be healthy, and save money all year long.
What about all those chemicals and maintenance? Not a problem. There’ll be no chemicals. We’ll write another check and buy a salt-water filtration system.

Think about it: you swim in the ocean and it’s salt water. Never saw anyone dumping in expensive chlorine or scrubbing with a wire brush to get the slime off sides of the ocean, now have ya?
Lastly, we won’t be spending all our exercise and swim time skimming leaves. Nope, another check and the entire pool and sundeck will be screened. And for those really hot August days, we’ll simply install ceiling fans.

Here is where The Wife got me. She asked two questions that put a stop to the pool for good. She asked, “Where is the money going to come from to cover all those checks you write? Why don’t we just go to one of our friends that have a pool? They never use theirs.”
She uses logic in all our big decisions, and in doing so has made our life what it is today. But for some reason that logic eluded her on one special day long ago.

Next week is our anniversary. Yep, 14 years ago, at the base of a waterfall high atop a Tennessee mountain, The Wife said, “Yes.”
And I’ve been trying to figure out why ever since. It just not logical — there’s really no other way to explain it. I knew me back then, and I wouldn’t even marry me.

Last night I finally asked her why and the answer came wrapped inside a kiss.
The Wife said, “I didn’t use logic, silly. I simply love you.” Then she kissed me again.
Now that’s a justification we both can agree on. Happy anniversary, my love — grab your bathing suit. Let’s go to our neighbors for a dip.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]

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