As a little girl, one of my favorite words was bedraggled, because even though it isn’t truly onomatopoeic, it conjurs a perfect image of its definition: wet, limp, dishevelled.

I mention this because I spent last Monday afternoon feeling like the picture-dictionary definition of that word.

Our pool filter was havng a problem, so we called our home warranty service who sent out a Happy Pool Guy in Shorts (HPGiS)who ran his fingers through his blond hair and said, “The good news is that it’s not the actual filter, it’s the cleaning system; the bad news is that it’s not covered. It’ll probably cost around $200 to fix it, and we have to order a part.”

We paid the required $50, and HPGiS went off, presumably to order the part, and work up an official quote. He called back the following Monday with a total, which we had no problem with, and I left a message in response giving the go-ahead. The message was lost so a week later I called back, and finally on the 23rd, HPGiS and the part were in my yard and the filter was burbling happily, although there was a second part of the filter system that Fuzzy was told to go purchase at the nearest pool store (there’s a Leslie’s in our neighborhood, so that wasn’t a big deal, and the parts were a replacement bag for the polaris cleaner, and a new o-ring for the separation filter.) He did that, and for the first time since ever, I learned how the vacuum thing is supposed to work – apparently it had been broken when we moved in, and we didn’t know because we’d never encountered this type of cleaner before.

Anyway, my day of bedragglement began before the trip to Leslie’s, when I was volunteered to fish the vacuum out of the pool and remove the broken bag, so Fuzzy could take it with him. I hadn’t realize that the hose attached to it was still pushing water into the device, you see, and ended up sitting on my ass on the patio, while tons of chlorinated water poured over the black pants I was wearing (they were old, but still…). Peeling wet black cotton off of wet skin is NOT fun.

So, while I dry off, change, and drink cranberry juice, Fuzzy trots out to get the bag, and comes back in and attaches it to the now-waterless vacuum, and we drop it in the water, and turn the valve back to the ON position, which is fine, except that I hadn’t realized that the tail with the little rubber wheely things on it also had a water nozzle at one end, so when the thing climbed back up the pool wall, spun in a circle, and then submerged itself again, I got squirted in the face.

Later, I went outside, and noticed that the vacuum was completely tangled in its hose, and was no longer able to move from where it was wedged against the bottom step of the pool, so I pulled it back toward the surface, and having learned from the earlier incident, kept it mostly beneath the surface of the water as I unknotted the hose.

Except…except that Cleo came out to bark at it, and ran into me, and while I didn’t fall into the pool, I did lose my grip on the vacuum, and it flipped over, and started spraying water at me, at the dog, and over my whole patio, like an extremely localized, chlorine-scented rainstorm. Then, it sank to the bottom, and unknotted itself, leaving me soaked and frustrated. I’m pretty sure it was feeling smug, though, because a few minutes later, it climbed the wall right near me, and squirted my retreating form again, as if blowing me a raspberry.

It was in the high nineties, outside.

It was in the low seventies inside the door, because in order to make our bedroom tolerable, we have to make the rest of the house arctic. (Note to self: get window unit for the bedroom, so that you can turn off the central air at night.)

I stood on the mat inside the kitchen door, dripping and bedraggled and yelled, “Fuzzy! I need a hug….and a really big towel!!!” And he came and wrapped me in a big yellow bath sheet, and wiped the water out of my eyes, and didn’t even mock…much.

Later, I took a hot shower, which made me feel much better, but, as I pointed out to Fuzzy, while letting my hair drip dry “I may not smell like chlorine any more, but I’m still WET.”

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