Okay, I’ve either come unstuck in time or I’ve come unstuck in space. Or from reality. Quite possibly, in reality we live in some imagined dystopia, more horrible than Aldous Huxley or George Orwell or even Mitch McConnell could dream up for us.
The morning started with an unplanned appointment. I’d left despairing word on the voicemail of the supposed Stupendous Pool Dude favored by WonderAccountant and Mr. WonderAccountant. SPD only noticed my plaintive cry for help along about 6 this morning. He called to reply while I was in the backyard wrestling (again…still) with the damned pool and thinking it’s time to seriously consider filling the thing in and replacing it with a nice, big shade tree.
I call him back and he says “I’m on my way.” And he shows up here at 7 a.m.
Most of what he had to say was nothing new. Nevertheless, taken together his advice may prove helpful. One can always hope…
After much testing, discussing, and thinking, the old fella (he IS an old fella! been doing this for a LONG time) opined as follows:
- The pool renovation dudes had indeed applied a stabilizer when they refilled the pool; the CYA levels are good.
- Nevertheless, the pH is out of whack (no shit, Jose?)
- This was likely caused by the use of granulated chlorine, which is highly acetic. Use that only to shock-treat, not for day-to-day chlorination.
- Running the pool cleaner off the skimmer inlet rather than through the new port in the side of the pool is problematic; it dampens the speed with which the water can be recirculated, plus he truly hates it that the thing pulls debris into the pump-pot strainer basket.
- Better circulation can be acquired by setting the thing to pull water through the main drain, which will move the water faster and should help to filter out the haze-making stuff, which he suspects is bacterial rather than algal.
- The chlorine was just OK as of 7 a.m., but that was only because a half-hour earlier I’d poured in my last half-gallon of liquid chlorine.
- Harvey might work better with a shorter length of hosing…
He sprinkled in another four or five pounds of soda ash. This brought the pH level up into the “ideal” range, and he said to keep applying liquid Cl a couple times a day. (So that means, oh hooray, I get to traipse to Home Depot between the lunch-time confab with VickyC and her collaborator in the nonprofit biz and the 4:00 p.m. spree with WonderAccountant that I’m committed to. Wheee!)
Shovel him out the door. Write a list of the 87 gerjillion things I have to do between the 11 a.m. meeting and the 4 p.m. meeting. Fly around trying to clean up, paint the face, disguise the hair, and throw on some socially acceptable clothing. Shoot out the door just in time to get to Windsor on Central, the designated restaurant meeting place.
I’m the first to arrive, a bit before the appointed hour. Get a booth. Order up some iced tea. Peruse the menu.
This is a trendy restaurant with trendy prices.
- Soup: $4 for a measly cup; $7 for a bowl
- Salads: $11 – $11.50
- Sandwiches and hamburgers: $13 to $15.50
- Hors d’oeuvres (called “starters” because apparently younger restauranteurs and their customers can neither spell nor pronounce the actual word): $11 – $15
- Full meals: $15 to $19.75
Plus tax. Plus tip.
Yeah. Don’t s’ppose they have a side of onion rings? No. Of course not. 😀
So I figure I’ll have a $7 (plus tax, plus tip) bowl of soup for lunch. And I wait for the others to show up.
And wait. And wait. And wait…
By about the third wait, my ears are hurting seriously. WHAT is with the current fad for blasting restaurant patrons with loud, nerve-jangling, conversation-negating noise? Wherever you go these days, you get blasted with some excruciating excuse for music, which usually entails one or more performers screaming. And why do people persist in going to restaurants whose proprietors bombard them with ear-splitting, unpleasant noise? And who persuaded otherwise sane businessmen and women that this racket is music? Or Muzak?
It’s not just loud and unharmonic and ugly. It’s gutter “music.” It’s some guy shouting about his cocaine use to a gut-banging background thump.
Dude! I don’t care about your cocaine habit! And I especially don’t care to have it shoved in my face while I’m trying to eat my $7 bowl of soup or my $20 hamburger.
Fifteen or twenty minutes into the wait, I can stand it no longer. I get up and leave.
Is it because I am old, I wonder? Do I think rap is ugly, is not music, is antithetical to a decent (expensive!) meal because I am old, passé, and out of it? Really?
What was trendy when we were pups? Northern Italian. For sure. Nothing would do but veal scallopini. Food was about the same: trendily stylish. Tasted about the same as the stuff you get now: restaurant food has always tasted pretty uniformly the same from one establishment to the next. That has not changed.
So what was the difference? Ambience-wise: instead of annoying loud music, you got annoying echoes rattling around a hard-surfaced cave-like interior. And yes, that racket tended to drown out conversation, too. Food-wise: though it was largely supplemented by pasta, most of the cuisine did not appear to have come out of a box, a can, or a bag.
My parents would have been capable of enjoying a Northern Italian-style restaurant of the early 1970s, even though they wouldn’t have appreciated the echo effect. It would, however, not have been their preference.
What was trendy when they were pups? Red velvet wallpaper with mahogany trim. White tablecloths. Muted lighting. And beef. A lot of beef. Roast beef. Grilled steaks of various grades. Stewed beef. Casseroled beef. Beef chili. A fair amount of potatoes accompanied these fine dishes. And coffee: they drank coffee with dinner instead of wine.
After what I felt was altogether too long a wait for my mysteriously absent friends, I concluded that…
- I had the wrong day…
- Or I had the wrong time…
- Or I had the wrong place…
And I certainly had the wrong purveyor of Muzak. Out the door, into the accursed Venza, and down the road with me!
From there it was up to Home Depot, there to purchase eight gallons of liquid chlorine, which should tide the pool over for something like four to six days. Grabbed a few sundries, shot out the door, stopped by the Walmart long enough to grab a bag of bird seed to tide the doves over until 40 pounds of seed arrive from Amazon. Sailed home.
Dumped another half-gallon of the chlorine into the pool. Observed that it still looked very hazy.
Poured a bourbon and water. Threw a mahi steak on the grill along with an ear of sweet corn. Consumed this with half an avocado, a handful of campari tomatoes, and a glass of wine.
Another couple of hours have passed. The pool looks like it’s beginning to clear. The heat is weirdly miserable, inexplicably: it’s only 109 out there, which is just not all that hot. But for some reason it feels almost as excruciating as cocaine-obsessed rap.
Now I have about 15 minutes before I have to get dressed again, this time to visit a favorite hangout with WonderAccountant, where we are determined to cool off with Margaritas, guacamole, and chips.
Never more well-deserved.