I homeschool, but my kids are very socialized. I, on the other hand, do not always feel so socialized. Especially at the end of weeks where TravelDaddy has been absent and my only adult interaction has been Facebook. So, in order to get some socialization, I grudgingly signed up for the swim day at the local aquatic center.
If you know me well, you may understand why I did so grudgingly. You see, even in the summer, I like my pool water to feel like pee. 87-90 degrees is perfect for pool water. Even on a balmy July afternoon. Unfortunately, I have encountered very few who share my enthusiasm for tepid water. That is why when someone says their pool is heated, I remain a little skeptical.
Going swimming in January wouldn't be a problem for me with regard to my three swimmers. All I have to do is be physically present poolside as their Guardian. But the little one, well, she presents a problem. I thought about bringing a big bag of candy and bribing her to sit on the side of the pool with me while the others splashed and frolicked and played in the water and I sat and gabbed with the grown-ups. But that would have been very Bad Mommy of me.
So I grudgingly--again--put on my swimsuit. Good thing because when I registered, the lady asked me if I had my suit on. I replied in the affirmative.
"May I see it?" she asked.
"Excuse me?" I replied.
"May I see it?" she pushed.
"Uuumm. OK," I said as I pulled up my sweater and my shirt to reveal the suit. Do I win the Miss America crown now? I suppose they want to make sure moms are not just, uh, coming to the pool to socialize (who would do that anyway?); however, they do have lifeguards present, plus if my kid was drowning, I wouldn't stand on the side of the pool complaining that I couldn't save my kid because I'm not properly garbed.
That wasn't the only annoying thing that happened when I signed in. I live about 15 minutes from the aquatic center. The center itself is part of a park which belongs to the county, not my county but a neighboring one. After asking me to model my swimsuit, she asked to see my driver's license. I wanted to remind her that my family and I simply want to swim, not adopt a child, but I remembered my manners in the presence of my children and showed her my license. Turns out she was just searching for my hometown so she could know that I am not a resident of the center's county. Which means I got the privelege of paying DOUBLE! So instead of $20 I had to pay $40. With four very expectant children standing beside me gawking excitedly at the huge slide on the other side of the glass wall, I wasn't going to turn around and go home. I forked over the cash.
And once inside it was nicely warm. My three older ones had a blast. My youngest not so much. Part of the problem was that she had to wear an obnoxious lifevest. I had her normal wings on but was kindly informed by one of the lifeguards that those were not permitted. Why was I not surprised?
I waded in with her for a few minutes before she informed me she was done. One thing I had anticipated was that there would be no food or drink inside. I was surprised then to see a picnic area with vending machines. Of course the Princess was hungry after her brief moments in the pool, but all I had was a $5. I asked my friends if they had change. When none of them did, I announced that I was going to go up front to ask for some change. After all, I paid them a small fortune for a couple hours in their pool; a handful of quarters was the least they could do. That's when my friend pointed to the sign on the vending machine. We are unable to provide change at the front desk. Again, why was I not surprised ?