Monday, April 26, 2021

Just keep swimming!

Do your kids love to swim?  Mine do.  We are fortunate enough to have a swimming pool, which has been a life saver when during the summer it can feel like our town is located on the surface of the sun. It gets fudgen hot here.

Having a pool is awesome.... and also the worst thing ever.  Let me tell you why.  No, it's not because of the maintenance and the cleaning and the cost of chemicals. It's because my kids want to be in the pool every second of every day. Even the cold days, in winter, when they might die of hypothermia if they got their way and got to go swimming in December. Zero F's given by my children when it comes to temperature requirements of enjoyable pool use. 

I managed to make it all the way to an 80 degree day in April before they wore me down enough to let them go swimming.  And now the exhausting, repetitive "get ready" cycle of swimming season is upon me. 

You know the drill.  Getting tiny humans ready for a day at the pool is a PROCESS.  Let's break it down:

First you have to get the kids into their bathing suits.  This part is straight forward enough.  

Then you apply copious amounts of sunscreen.  I have fair, ginger babies that sunburn if they even think about going outside.  I should probably buy stock in sunscreen. So much sunscreen.  I have found that I can't really cheat and use the spray stuff because it just doesn't work as well.  So I have to laboriously apply thick coatings of the lotion variety to the kiddos while they actively fight to get away from me. It's not super fun.  I joke to myself that this must be the parent equivalent of trying to catch a greased hog.

Then we need headwear. Baseball caps or floppy hats, something to protect their noggins.  

Once we get the swimwear and sunscreen situation handled, they get buckled into their life vests.  Phoebe can swim, but despite her perceived ability to swim like Michael Phelps, she isn't great at it yet.  Not great enough to warrant life vest free enjoyment on the pool.  Not unless I am in it with her, and friends that water is FRIGID, there is no way in the world I am getting into that pool until it is over 100 degrees outside.

Side note- do you remember being a kid and swimming in a creek that was, like, frozen ice water and thinking that was fun?  I remember that too...... but oh hell no. Not any more.  I need tepid water now. Like almost warm enough to slowly poach me.  A bath. Yes, it's a bath. A friend sent me this the other day when I said I was working on a blog, and it just occurred to me that it is perfect for this.

But I digress.... 

Next step- Towels!  Big fluffy beach towels. At least 6 because my (2!) children will make it their life's mission to properly soak at least 4 of those towels.  Maybe one more for the dog.  Muttley loves to swim.  He bobs across the pool like a furry little buoy. 

Okay, so they have their swimsuits and hats and sunscreen and towels and they are properly inserted into their life saving personal flotation devices.  Now we need to set up the umbrellas so that there is a teensy bit of shade on the water. Just enough shade to cool off the metal handrail that has been baking in the sun all day and will legit burn the skin right off your hands.  We set up some chairs in the shade, properly lay out the towels.  I think we are ready to enjoy some pool time!

The kids jump in. It's awesome!  They love it. I grab a book or my phone and sit down on one of the lounge chairs in the shade and just get comfy when.....

"Mooooooooom, I have to poooooop!" 

They've been in the water exactly 2.5 minutes. 

So I get up, help Oliver wrestle himself out of his life vest and towel dry him enough to send him inside to use the bathroom.    Guys, do you know how hard it is to pull soggy wet swim shorts up and down? It's a process.  He makes it into the bathroom but needs assistance getting the shorts off.  Once he's done, it's even harder to get the swim shorts back up again.  But we managed.  He happily races back off to the pool.  Quick buckle back up with the life vest and into the water he goes. 

But now it's Phoebe's turn, now she has to pee.  She is older and one would think that she could successfully remove her life vest, dry off a bit and use the rest room without help.  One would be WRONG.  She can't get her life vest off because the buckle hurts her fingers.  She haphazardly wraps a towel around her shoulders and leaves a wet trail all the way into the bathroom where she manages to get her swimsuit off and use the toilet, but can't seem to get it back on without getting tangled up and yelling for help.  Remember when I said getting the swimsuits on was a pretty straightforward process? 


Finally, after much getting ready and bathroom shenanigan's handled, both children are happily swimming in the pool and I am ready to hang out and relax. 

This happy relaxation time lasts exactly 13 minutes.  Now they are hungry and tired of swimming and want to go inside. 

So they grab their soggy towels and sort of dry off. Not enough to not drip water all over the living room floor, but better than dumping a bucket of water on it, I suppose.  Muttley, fresh off his swim across the pool and soaking wet, now has a case of the zoomies and races full speed across all the furniture, up and down the hallway 3 times, and back into the backyard to roll around in the dirt. It's a good thing he is so cute. 

I take a few minutes to put the umbrellas down, gather up the wet towels to throw in the wash and lock the pool fence back up.  I dry off the kids and get their wet swimsuits off and hanging up to dry, put dry clothes on them and plop them down at the table for a snack.  


"Yeah, babe?"

"I'm ready to get back in the pool now". 

And so we lather, rinse and repeat this process every day from now until fall.  

Saturday, April 10, 2021

I'm a super good listener

Last night I decided to take a leisurely shopping trip to target, all by my lonesome, in peace and quiiiiiiet.  It was going to be glorious. 

I say it WAS going to be glorious because it turned into a really bizarre adventure in stranger oversharing that left me wishing I had just put my pajamas on and stayed home, away from the crazies. 

Is crazy contagious? I probably should have burned my clothes...... shit.  

It all started normally enough.  It was a beautiful evening for a trek across town.  I had great parking karma, and the store wasn't overly busy.  The best part was that I was there ALONE. Sweet, sweet aloneness. No kiddos demanding toys, or having to use the rest room when I literally just asked them to go before we left the house. No strange questions when I have to buy tampons ("mom, what are those?!). It was calm and I was living for it.  

Now, I only went to target for 1 thing, a new laundry hamper for Phoebe's room.  So did I need a cart?  No.  Did I get a cart anyway so that I could fill it up with stuff from the $3 bins? You bet your bippy I did.  I can't go to Target and spend less than $100.  It's a problem. 

I got my cart and my coffee and made my way to the bathing suit section.  Not that I am actually going to buy and wear a bathing suit, don't be ridiculous, I was just browsing.  I had the time and the determination to make this solo excursion worth it, and damnit, I was going to peruse bathing suits I would never wear. 

The bathing suit section did nothing but inspire my self confidence to light itself on fire and crawl into a dumpster, so I moved along to jeans and t-shirts, or as I like to refer to them, "my uniform".

This is where she found me. The crazy. 

I had my cart, full of $3 treasures, to the side of me and I was looking at a t-shirt on the shelf to my left.  I felt her come up along side of me and reach past my cart to grab a sweater.  I politely said, "Oh, I'm so sorry, excuse me" as I moved my cart out of her way.

That was it. That was all she needed.

She turned her body fully towards me and made very aggressive eye contact and said "I bought this sweater in a large instead of a medium. I didn't realize it until I got home. Don't you hate it when that happens?"

I do hate it when that happens. I nodded my head in agreement, and started to move along.  But she kept talking.

"I used to wear these smocked shirts in high school in the 70's, it's so crazy how everything that was cool then is coming back"

"These ones seem fairly well made, like the quality seems like it will last"

"I learned to sew when I was 7 years old.  My grandma put me in Brownies and when all the other girls were learning the "_____" (I can't remember what she called it now) hem, I was already doing an invisible finished hem"

"My grandma gave me her singer sewing machine, the kind you operate with your knee (*does knee motion*) and I used to make all my own clothes"

This all seems normal enough, right?  Like she didn't seem looney at first, maybe just lonely and liked to talk about sewing.  She had been talking for a while though, and didn't seem at all concerned with the fact that I had said exactly zero words to encourage her to continue talking.  I suppose the fact that I hadn't just walked away was encouragement enough for her.  But, friends, it's about to get weird. 

"I miss my grandmother a lot. She was always teaching me things. Not like my mom"

"My grandmother was more of a mother to me than my real mom. She was always too busy with her boyfriends".

"I had 4 stepfathers!"

"They were all weirdo's and perverts.  The last one was always too lazy to walk down the hall to use the master bathroom, so he would come into my bedroom and pee all over the floor (*pretends to hold an imaginary penis and pee on the floor*- I shit you not!) and then my mom would yell at me to clean it up"

"That's why I graduated early and moved out at 15 years old"

She said lots of other stuff after that, but to be frank, I was too shocked to listen to what any of it was.  Let me reiterate at this point that the only thing I had said to her thus far was "Oh, I'm so sorry, excuse me". 


I feel terribly for her that she obviously had a troubled upbringing and not a healthy relationship with her mother. I am not trying to make light of those facts. It is very sad. 

But guys, I am a STRANGER to her. I have said 6 words to her.   I was sort of panicked at this point because she was still talking and I couldn't image what other horrors she was going to disclose to me. 

There was a Target employee half way down the aisle from me, folding pants and I know she could hear what was going on. I was looking at her with a "Help me!" look in my eyes.  I probably would have mouthed a literal "Help me", but with masks on she never would have seen it.  And what would she have done? What could she have done? Nothing really. I was just trapped in the most uncomfortable stranger-oversharing experience of my life.

She was mid- sentence about pervert stepfather #3 when my phone mercifully chirped a notification out of my purse, just loud enough for her to hear it. She paused speaking as I pulled it out of my bag to check it. 

"Oh, I'm so sorry, excuse me", I said, for the 2nd time in our interaction. "It's my husband, I need to call him. Have a good evening".  I walked away. Let's be honest, I sprinted away. 

I was halfway across the store when I realized I had left my cart! I couldn't go back. What if she was still there?  There was no amount of $3 treats that was worth round two of that conversation. I say "conversation", like we actually spoke to one another. It was more like her one woman Target sweater aisle monologue. 

At that point I figured that my solo trip to Target had lost it's magic. Defeated, I picked out a hamper and proceeded to check out, without my numerous, unnecessary, impulse purchases.  Did you really even go to Target if you only come home with one item? I'd like to claim this as a small victory in my 12 step Target program, but sadly if I had been left to my own devices I would have come home with a lot more. Maybe I should thank awkward, oversharing crazy lady?  Maybe......

Clean up on aisle 5!