I've never actually wanted a pool myself that badly, however. I have no problem going to a swimming pool and enjoy the sociality of being with other people while swimming. It was fun to go to the pool in Dushanbe and have it turn into an impromptu pool party while the children played with their friends and I caught up mine.
Brandon has never wanted a pool. He is the safety-minded one in the relationship and pools present a very real danger - every year at least one or two children in the Foreign Service drown in backyard pools. The thought of having a pool never sat well with him.
But when we realized that Tashkent does not have an embassy pool, things changed. Tashkent's summers are pretty identical to Dushanbe's - long, hot, and hotter. Last week it the highs were was hot as 108 degrees and as cool as 100 degrees. Most of the embassy houses have pools, and so when we filled out the housing survey the number one preference was a pool. I didn't want to spend all summer hauling all six of our children to go and bum off someone else's pool.
When we got a pool, I was very happy, and when I saw pictures of the pool, I was even happier. The pools here can be rather small and sometimes awkwardly situated, and we were lucky and got a good-sized pool with a pool house and cabana. It is evidently known as the pool party pool, so it does come with responsibilities, evidently. I wasn't sure, however, how it would work out to have a private pool instead of just hanging out with everyone at the embassy pool. But, I figured, any pool is better than no pool at all.
We've now been here for three weeks and I've had enough time to decide how I feel about having my own backyard pool - and I've decided that it's awesome. It has been so great that Brandon and I have decided that we want a pool at our house when we eventually retire.
When we wanted to go to the pool in Dushanbe, it would take an hour between announcing that we would go to the pool and actually getting in the water. Now I just announce, "Pool time," put on my swimsuit, and walk out the back door. Our pool gets shaded around 3:30 or so, so most days we don't even put on sunscreen. Swimming is no longer a serious commitment - if we have half an hour to swim, we swim for half an hour. And when we're done, we get out of the pool and go inside. No changing, no driving home, no waiting for Brandon to finish work before we can go home. It's amazingly convenient.
Brandon and I will occasionally swim after the children are in bed. One night we went to the grocery store, bought baklava, and then swam by the pool while eating baklava and fresh grapes. It was one of those times when you realize how amazingly awesome your life is.
Having a pool also makes yard work a lot more bearable. Getting sweaty while mowing the lawn used to be really annoying, but now it just makes jumping into the pool even more refreshing. Our lawn is in a somewhat poor state and so I've been swimming until I'm cold, weeding until I'm hot, and then repeating the procedure.
I also like that I don't have to worry about the children bothering anyone else while swimming. I can sit and read a book without worrying about anyone judging me for not watching my children. I love that 'parenting' means sitting in a lounge chair while watching my children swim. It's pretty awesome.
Yesterday was our first weekend with no commitments, so I got to see if it would be boring to spend the whole day at home. We had a late breakfast, tidied up the house, and then swam for four hours. Brandon and I got the back lawn into shape (I love that we have enough lawns that we have to designate them by location) while the children swam, we threw children into the pool, we played games with them, and we all lounged around the pool. After we were done swimming, we made pizza and watched a movie. That evening I asked Brandon - who would prefer to walk in the gate on Friday and not leave until Monday - if he was happy.
"Of course!" he answered, "I got exactly what I wanted - a whole day where I didn't have to leave the house. And you got what you wanted - hours and hours by the pool. Can it get better than this?"
I'm going to be sad when we have to leave Tashkent and I have to swim with the masses again. I'm pretty sure I'll always remember our private pool days with longing. But until then, I'm going to enjoy my pool!