Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Decorum at the Swimming Pool

For today's spring break schedule - swimming laps.

Do you remember way back when that your parents used to make you wait a half an hour before going into the pool? Well, it isn't a bad idea after all. Somehow that got messed up today. The problem is that the dog park was way closer to the house than the fast food the boys wanted. So it seemed logical for us to run the dog first, just enough that the dog wouldn't chew up stuff in the car or go crazy on the cat at 1:45 in the morning. After we walked, I ran through a drive-thru of a fast food joint on the way to the pool. You would have thought I'd be okay. I got a salad. After we arrived, I took some time to eat slowly while the boys ran on into the pool and jumped in. They had jammed their burgers down in the five minutes it took to drive from the drive-thru to the pool. After I ate, I got into my bathing suit and jumped into the cold water. It's no wonder 1960s moms talked about getting a cramp. It seemed like my stomach landed in the water behind me and a half a second later.  The boys were already out in the middle where their toes barely touch the bottom. They were excited about that. They used to nearly drown in that deeper center part. I hopped to the middle of the pool to greet them wishing I didn't have to duck under the ropes separating the lap lanes. It was cold. After I got the shivering stopped, my stomach kept communicating. I was not to do any laps, not just yet. No diving, no jumping, no somersaults, no swimming of any kind. Just standing there was fine.

A full stomach does seem to float better than an empty one though. That was a plus because floating was all my stomach would let me do.  The boys were in the same boat. Full. Slow. Standing or floating. Not swimming. No. One half hour.

So, we basically floated in the water for a half an hour before we got to swimming. First, the boys invented some new swimming strokes. There was my stomach's favorite, the wave. The idea is to lie on your back and wave your hands and feet to see how fast you could move. The boys beat me in that race. I'm not sure I moved off the starting block. I blame the weight of the salad. Then they invented the taco. That name almost brought up some sympathetic ingredients, but I didn't make them change the name. It was too much effort. The point with this stroke is for you to lie on your back with your arms slightly out and your ankles crossed. Then, you alternate slapping your thighs while returning the opposite hand to the slightly out position. Now, that was just about my speed, a little faster than the wave, but still pretty slow. Still, the boys were quicker in the water. Then, as my stomach quieted down, we practiced the corkscrew, one crawl stroke, one back stroke, and repeat, trying to go in a straight line. I like that one. I lost track of the different strokes we invented.

The next thing we did was to rescue each other. I learned that twelve year old boys usually drag your face under water most of the time as they're rescuing you. It's a good thing to remember. Then I taught them to look closely at the frog I'd caught in my fist and it spit at them! I'd done this before but I still got the splash in the face at the end. I tried to teach them how to cup your hands together to get maximum splash, but I was afraid the lifeguards would whistle me to stop. I hate getting into trouble. So I walked on my hands until they stopped splashing me.

It feels great to be able to walk on my hands at my advanced age. I also like being able to do somersaults and back flips. I have to be honest that I could only ever do these things in the water, even when I was young and strong and flexible. I'm still better than the boys at walking on my hands. Ha!

Did someone say I probably looked ridiculous out there? No! Not me.

Then, we played hoops. Oh man. I wished I'd had the excuse of the floating stomach then. I got slapped in the eye, kneed in the knee, foot-stomped, and thumb-wrenched. I had to pause with that one, when my thumb was accidentally pulled backward and I heard a pop. Nick told me he could tell which word I mouthed as I pressed the offending hand to my chest and danced around. Three minutes of dancing, some eye squinching, finger wiggling, and, later, a couple of Advils, and I'll tell you that my thumb is fine, sore but fine.

I won the match, by the way, two against one, if you must know.

I ROCK at pool hoops!

Then we found a bunch of creative ways to toss the ball to each other. Somehow, we ended up being the only three in the pool, but we had another half hour and by God, we were going to use it. So, there was the volleyball spike, the basketball handoff, the ballet toss. I tell you, the ballet toss was not my idea and it was hilarious. Then, the shot in the chest throw, the shot in the head throw, the shot in the arm throw, the slow motion shot in the face throw, the slow motion, banana peel slip toss, the Matrix dodge throw, and the breached whale flipper thing. Somebody is training to become a stunt man. We even tossed that ball to each other with our feet.  We were a pretty creative crew.

Then, times up. Out of the pool! Since my stomach had settled down, I could have stayed in the pool for another hour or so. I never did get a chance to swim laps.

Thanks for listening, jb

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