I used to love the pool, I really did. When I was a kid, I loved swimming, and going underwater especially. I swam as frequently as I was able.
As an adult? Not so much. As someone who camouflages gray hair with dye, I worry about what the chemicals will do to that whole situation. I do enjoy sitting in a jacuzzi. And if I pin my hair up, I *can* enjoy lounging in a pool for a short spell on a very hot day. But it's not really something I aspire to.
As a parent? Pools are exhausting. There's the dressing and the undressing, the application of sunscreen to wiggly bodies, keeping a very careful eye on everyone while in or near the water, inevitably dragging a kicking and screaming body *out* of the pool once swim time is over, the drying off, the difficult re-dressing of damp, unhappy bodies. The kids love pools, I think they are genetically predisposed for this to be the case. And so of course I let them swim when the opportunity presents itself, but I don't exactly seek pools out.
And so yesterday, when my mom (who owns a home with an in-ground pool) invited us over to visit with some out-of-town relatives and enjoy pizza by the pool, I got tired even having that conversation. It was a week night, so I'd be coming after work, and my parents live about 25 minutes away from me. So packing pool and pizza time into that short evening slot wasn't exactly appealing, although I certainly wanted to visit with my cousins whom I don't get to see that often. But the kids were all excited, so I sucked it up.
We arrive. Before we can even get our shoes off there are demands to get into the water. I get Anne changed into her swimsuit (so adorable you can hardly stand it, by the way) while Henry changes and I contemplate my options. I *really* don't feel like going in the pool. I haven't bought a new swim suit in something like 20 years. I make do with the ancient tankinis of my early 20's. They still fit, but you know...things aren't exactly the SAME as when I was in my early 20's. ;) Every time I put one on I wonder why in tarnation I haven't just gone to Target and bought a new one, but these are age old questions, are they not? At this point in our journey, it was 5:30 pm, and I was pretty tired. Putting on a tankini with elastic that isn't as stretchy as it used to be in the backside region and going into a pool with splash happy children wasn't really on my list of Fun Things To Do.
So I improvised. And let's just say that sometimes improvisation works out really well, and sometimes it doesn't. :) I got Anne all ready and headed out to the pool with her. I settled her in the pool stair area with some water toys and sat on the ground right beside her. She could play and I was right there but I didn't have to get wet. Great, right?
My cousin arrived, and her kids got into the pool too. They are 6 and 4, so close in age to my kids. This is how gender appears to be summed up in pool situations:
Boys: Every millimeter of our bodies is saturated with water. But I still think that...WE CAN GET *WETTER*! And to do that, why stay IN the pool, when we can get OUT and jump BACK IN!!
I'm surprised there was any water left in the pool by the time we departed.
Girls: Don't mind getting wet, but please don't splash my face. If you do, I will squirt you relentlessly with a water gun the instant you're not looking and/or hide something that you really want.
Anne was super thrilled to have another little girl to play with, and naturally she soon didn't want to stay solely on the stairs. I stayed right by her as she crept along the edge of the pool, but of course, if she went underwater, what would happen? I would go in after her, that's what, because the boys certainly weren't going to be of much help, lost in their water-filled delirium of happiness. I tried to coax everyone out of the pool so that I could relax and eat, since I was starving:
"Kids, do you want pizza?" *beams*
Well, that was predictable. Pretty soon, Anne left my side to venture out into the shallow end, and I immediately called her back.
"Anne! Come back honey, you don't know how to swim."
"Anne! Henry, could you..."
But the inevitable happened. Anne started to head back to me, but changed her mind and decided to be bold. In an instant, she was underwater, and I was in the pool. In my clothes.
Can I just tell you, dear reader, in case you were wondering, going into a pool in *corduroy pants* is not a pleasant experience, not at all. I walked down 2 or 3 steps and was able to grab her, soaking my pant legs to about mid-calf. As I soothed Anne back at poolside, my pants feeling like they were now weighed down with concrete, I thought to myself how much I hate pools. :0
Granted, this was sort of my own fault. I should have just put my bathing suit on and went in. Apparently I have a very hard head.
I got Anne inside and changed back into her regular clothes, sniffling. I brought her back outside to get set up with a slice of pizza and finally settled in to eat myself, moving uncomfortably the whole way. As I sat down, I noticed that the wetness on my pants appeared to be spreading upward, like some sort of evil flesh-eating fungus that is featured in a horror movie. My pants were now soaked all the way up to mid-thigh.
*long suffering sigh*
I looked up to realize that the entire backyard was staring at my pants in concern.
"Do you want a pair of my pants to wear?"
My mother, who is a good 6 inches shorter than I am, looks dubious, but wants to be helpful. She comes back with a pair of casual cotton pants. So this is how I found myself in my parents' basement on a Wednesday night in my underwear tossing my pants into the dryer.
Glamour. All glamour.
I came upstairs donned in polka dotted pajama pants, but at least I was dry. Henry was still in the pool and had to dry off and eat. As he did that, Anne tried to sneak into the jacuzzi with her cousin and got HER clothes wet, necessitating another trip to the basement and the clothes dryer. Soon, Anne was in her underwear, but she can get away with just wearing those in public.
By the time all of the clothes were dry, I was dying to go home. I did have fun visiting with my cousin, but my exhaustion meter was letting me know that it was getting impatient. Meanwhile, Mike had texted me to see how things were going, and I filled him in. His horror assured me that he would be taking care of bedtime duties and that I could relax upon my return home. Score. :)
As is always the case with small children, the extraction process from the backyard was painful and took 20 minutes longer than it should have. By the time we got home, I had a headache and Anne could hardly walk straight, she was so tired.
Pools. I do not love you. I'm glad to have survived this one and to have an evening of knitting and wine to look forward to tonight instead of swimming.