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Michiana Chronicles writers bring portraits of our life and times to the 88.1 WVPE airwaves every Friday at 7:45 am during Morning Edition and over the noon hour at 12:30 pm during Here and Now. Michiana Chronicles was first broadcast in October 2001. Contact the writers through their individual e-mails and thanks for listening!

Michiana Chronicles: Pool People

Heather Curlee-Novak

Last week I dreamt that I awoke to a snow-covered yard.  I know, it is now June and these fears should be far behind me, but the seasons have been discombobulated. We need to admit snow in June might not be completely off the table. On the subject of hell freezing over, despite my aversion to our hot, humid Indiana summers, I have found a secret to change my mind.  Yes folks, despite the 100% likelihood that five minutes outdoors after ten in the morning will coat me in rivulets of sweat, I love it.  Of course, you are on the edge of your hot, sticky lawn chairs to hear why, right?  My secret is the grown up answer to the kiddie pool!  

Last year our pandemic plan was hunker down and wait.  Asking two rambunctious kids to stay home from the beach and camp and playgrounds was not a fun prospect, so we bought them a pool.  We have a tiny yard, so we needed a tiny pool.  And with my sharp wit, we couldn’t risk one of those inflatable jobbers….we needed a miniature above ground pool of serious construction.  After heated competition on ebay while everyone else had the same great idea, we landed an eight foot “Summer Waves” frame pool.  

We told the kids, stalked the tracking number and at last it arrived.  We smoothed down the area where we wanted our pool, removed stones and plants and added sand.   We followed directions and put that baby together and started filling it up.  It took awhile. Like hours and hours.  I think we all got in it when it only had a few inches of water.  We became “Pool People”.  We bought chlorine, floats, and more beach towels.  We started sweeping the patio area more often.  We wandered outdoors to just take a little dip.  We added an outdoor speaker.  We bought more ice pops and plastic cups.  Mama bought a lounger that came with a cupholder…then bought another for The Daddy.  While the pool was for the kids, I often staked a claim to float solo or with another adult.  Two loungers fit, no more.  And no kids.  I unapologetically took over my kid’s pool regularly.  

I have rediscovered summer.  I am having a new childhood outdoors despite the heat.  I welcome the humidity.  I have found that after a dip in the chilly little pool I can do a bit of yardwork.  I refill birdfeeders and hang up wet towels.  With the speaker blasting Beastie Boys and David Bowie and New Order, I am watering the outdoor pots more often.  They might not die this year. I am enjoying my hammock more and when I do feel hot and sweaty…I plunge into the tiny pool.  It is luscious and refreshing.  I enjoy running the skimmer through it 238 times a day.  This summer I got more pool treatments to keep it clean and clear since we have more company.  My kid’s friends show up at our gate with a towel over their shoulder and we have snacks to bring out poolside.

My six foot four Dad loves to plop his gangly self down into the pool when he visits.  And of course, there must be a cocktail provided.  I lure my friends to hang out with me with the offer of the adult floatie and a tikki cup filled with ice and sweetness.  For a few moments, we stop adulting and ignore life’s responsibilities and bask in childhood relived.   I enjoy playing with my kids in the pool, too.  They play “Pretend to skim the pool” and “Forget to rinse your feet before stepping in “ and “Splash mom but get mad if she splashes back”.  I kind of like those games anyway.  It is hard to be grouchy in a pool. Our tiny pool is the perfect answer to sweaty, humid, summer weather. We do not have to road trip, rent a place or even drive to the beach to relax and cool off.  We simply step out our back door into our own private oasis.  

Music: "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)"

Heather Novak's professional history includes sales and customer service training and troubleshooting for businesses, but she loves motivational speaking best. Heather leads church events for youth, singles and women, has spoken for Chicago Apartment Association and many organizations throughout Indiana. Nowadays Heather is just another stay at home wild mama trying to loose some weight, keep some sanity and enjoy her life. She is being raised by two little girls named Portia and Libby and is indulged by a guy named John who was gracious enough to marry her. Heather blogs about F Words: Feisty Faith, Fumbling Family, Fairly Healthy Food, Failed Fashion and Fabulous Friendships. You can find her at