Gimme Shade

I spent a decent amount of time online yesterday shopping for an overhanging umbrella to go over our pool, which gets full sun from late morning to late afternoon. What I’ve done in the past to avoid the sun is not go swimming during those times. Sometimes I’ll wear a big hat and get lots of sun anyway and feel guilty about predisposing Ax to skin cancer while he splashes around. It’s true. For a few years now I’ve been unable to pull the trigger on a shade solution. It’s a money thing, and an optimization/perfectionist thing. I’ve had visions of European-ish shade sails rigged up on poles, but been dissuaded by the inevitable aggregation of bird poop, leaves, and dust that would sully the vision. I’ve also contemplated building a small structure near the pool on which to fasten retractable awnings. And many times I have looked at outdoor umbrellas, the big kind that cantilever and overhang.

I thought this was my year. Memorial Day sales notices crowded my inbox. I got online. There were umbrellas that looked like they could do the job costing anywhere from about fifty-seven, to several thousand dollars. I selected one towards the lower end, but still some coin, signed in, entered all my info, and pressed Order Now. Done.

I proudly texted the confirmation link to Mike, who’s travelling for work. He called. Somehow during the course of the conversation it became apparent that the umbrella I’d painstakingly ordered had a lot of bad reviews. Like really bad ones, like it could kill us all.

I went online. I tried to cancel the order. It could not be done. I type/talked with a bot for a while about how my order had already been processed and could not be cancelled. I told the bot, “I am very sad I cannot cancel my order because we really do not want this umbrella.” The bot conceded and said in that case it would “email the warehouse directly to cancel the order.”

Mike and I breathed a sigh of relief. I don’t want bad umbrellas. I don’t want stuff that merely suffices. I want beautiful stuff that I love and makes me feel wonderful. Some day my shade structure will manifest. Until then, there’s the great indoors, Badger sunscreen, and hats.