Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

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It has been a while since I have written here.  Sometimes life happens. We get busy with kids, school, summer, vacations, deaths in the family and who knows what else.  My life is crazy and busy. But, I am going to try harder to write on the Talbert Zoo more often.  I have “Publish to the Talbert Zoo,” on my to-do list for Mondays.  I promise to keep that schedule.  Only time will tell if I can stick with it.

Now back to the main topic of this post.

Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

The Talbert Zoo has had a string of bad luck this summer, 2019.  As a Catholic I really should not believe in luck, so let’s just say, bad things have happened this summer.  I don’t understand why.
It was Memorial Day weekend and the kids started getting anxious about the end of the school year and the start of summer.  Chris and I discussed if it would be more affordable to put up an easy set pool in the yard for the kids or spend $5 to take them to the beach.  The pool I was looking at was about $200.  We had a considerable amount of money in our savings account so we could afford a pool.  If I took them to the beach 3 days a week it would cost $15 a week and they had about 9 weeks of summer vacation. That is $135.  I work from home and would have to take 3 days off a week in order to take them to the beach. I make roughly $50-$100 a day working from home.  We would lose about $150-$300 a week.  We opted for the swimming pool.
That week I ordered an Intex Steel Frame Pool from Amazon.  It arrived in 2 days and only took about an hour for me to set up.  I was very proud of my work. My kids got even more excited about the end of the school year when they saw the new pool sitting in our back yard. It was beautiful and filled with sparkling clear water.  
Before long it was June and school had ended for the year. The kids swam in their new pool nearly every day and I had quality time to work from home.  Chris and I agreed that we made the right decision. 
When June was coming to a close we started to get ready to fly out to Sacramento, CA to visit Grandma Talbert.  A couple of days before we left we got a letter from the city of Crystal Lake.  It said that someone reported that we put up a swimming pool without getting a permit.  What? We were shocked that we needed a permit in order to put up a temporary easy set pool.  So I went to City Hall with the letter to find out what we needed to do.  
I learned that in order to qualify for a permit for the pool first we needed to get someone out to our yard to inspect it and mark where underground pipes, electric wires, etc. were placed.  We are not allowed to set up a pool over these objects.  In order for her to inspect our yard we needed to take down the pool. This is completely impossible.  We do not have anywhere to store the pool.  We are planning on draining it and covering it up for the winter.  I put this pool up with the intention of using it for two summers. After the second summer we can tear it down and toss it.
Second, because our pool is shorter than 4′ the city requires that we place a 4′ tall barrier around it with a self latching gate.  What?? This does not make any sense.  Remember I only spent $200 on the pool. This included a tarp to go underneath it, chlorine, a removable ladder and solar cover.  If we put up a permanent fence (that’s what the city wants, a permanent fence around a temporary pool) we would need about 60 feet of fence.  That would just make it around the pool.  One section of fence runs about $100.  If the section is 8 feet long, we would need about 8 sections. Not including the cost of a self latching gate this would run about $800. This fence would only go around our pool not the whole back yard. If we wanted to fence in the whole back yard it would probably run about $2,000.
Third, the city wants us to relocate our electricity in our yard so that we can plug in the pool within 15′ of the pool pump.  How much do electrician’s charge for something like that? $1000? That is what Chris estimated it would cost. Forget that! I am going to keep my pool plugged in with my $12 extension chord. 
The permit itself costs $55 but we can not purchase a permit until we pass the inspection.  In order to have a permit for our temporary kiddie pool it would cost us $1,855.  Our pool is only 2 1/2 feet deep and has a removable ladder.  We have the solar cover on it when it isn’t being used. The city claims the permit is for safety reasons.  They say our kiddie pool is unsafe. This is just Big Brother claiming that they are smarter than we are and if we don’t listen they will take our money.
I told the city that I wasn’t interested in reapplying for a permit. The pool is going to stay until my kids start school.  We got an email stating that we must drain the pool or the city will fine us.  We got this notice when we were out in California.  Chris agreed to let the city drain our pool while we were gone.  I was livid! I did not want anyone from the city on our property.
When we got back from California the girls and I put up a temporary fence around the pool.  We used this flimsy white plastic lattice. We had a few thunderstorms in July and this fence did not hold up very well. The city told us that the lattice fence would not pass inspection and was not acceptable. I tore it down. I spent $260 on this fence with the hopes that the city would leave us alone. It didn’t work.
I emailed the city asking how much the fine would be.  Todd from the city replied saying it would cost $150 at the low end and $1500 at the high end. He also said that there could be a court hearing on this.  I replied and said I would send the city $150 if we can settle out of court. He didn’t respond so I assumed he agreed. I mailed off a check for $150 hoping that this would be the end of it.
On Saturday Aug. 10 we got a letter in the mail with our returned check.  The letter said that we missed our court date on Aug. 9 and they refused our check.  Chris freaked out and yelled at me.  He said, “We are going to lose our house over this stupid pool.”  I yelled a few things I shouldn’t have right back at him.  I am pretty sure the city can not take our home away over this. So far we do not have an official fine from the city.  I am going to continue to hope and pray that this blows over and goes away.  I am much more optimistic than Chris.
Another bad thing happened to me recently. Stay tuned. I will share that story next week.

Cascia Talbert is a Catholic mother of five special needs kids. In 2018 she published the book, "Taking Care of Your Family's Health and Well-Being, Saints to Turn to and the Catholic Faith," available anywhere books are sold. She is also a professional flutist and an Avon Independent Sales Representative. You can learn more about Cascia on the following websites, cjsfunandgames.com and avoncrystallake.com. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, children and Baby, the playful black kitty.

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