It’s spring break. Which, for us, means extra togetherness with no exciting trips or events planned. Since my kids only attend school on Monday and Wednesday we tend to take trips during the off-season and avoid crowds. Thus, spring break is simply a long string of days filled with extra television watching and trampoline jumping. Maybe an occasional playdate thrown in to break up the monotony.
This morning I woke up and decided, completely on a whim, that I would take the children to a brand new YMCA about 30 minutes away. It’s got some sort of water park inside complete with a lazy river and a multi-story slide. Since I’m not a member of the Y, I called to inquire about a day pass. The lady on the phone said it would be $20 and that the pool was open and not busy. Score!
And this is where things got hard. First, I had to explain the plans to the children. Since we rarely do ANYTHING on a whim, it took a full 10 minutes to explain what it was we were doing and why we were doing it. My simple “We’re going swimming in a neato indoor pool with a SLIDE” was not nearly enough information. Here is a sample of the questions I was peppered with:
- where is the pool? (why does it matter? are they concerned about gas mileage? they have no sense of time or direction so why do they care?)
- who will be there? (I have no idea. How would I possibly know the names and occupations of anyone who may be in attendance at a pool we’ve never visited?)
- will it be crowded? (by the time we get there? probably)
- will the water be cold?
- will other children “be splashy”?
- do I get to wear my goggles?
- will there be things to eat there?
- what if I get hungry?
- what if I get thirsty?
- do I have to wear shoes
I want you to know that I handled these questions with aplomb, all while chivvying them toward their swimsuits and towels. We managed to make it out the door in less than 15 minutes, which left us the half-hour drive in which to speak about every possible scenario we might encounter at the Mystery Pool.
By the time we arrived I was patting myself on the back for not losing my temper because OMG IT’S JUST A POOOOL HOW HARD CAN THIS BE TO UNDERSTAND??
When we walked in, the dude at the registration desk (who was not happy to be at work today and wanted me to know it) looked at me with a deadpan stare and said “You do know the pool closes at 10am right?”. It was 9:25am.
I should just end the story there so you can laugh at my pain, but LO IT GETS WORSE. I decide that I will pay the $20 to swim for 30 minutes because I have endured the Ortloff Inquisition to get here and BY GOD WE’RE GOING TO SWIM. Deadpan Dude says we’re welcome to come back at 6:15pm and swim for another 90 minutes at no charge. (How kind!).
We speed-walk to the pool and are immediately approached by a chipper lifeguard to tells me that no child is allowed into the pool until he/she passes a swim test. And hey! There’s a swim test going on right now! So I rip clothing from my children and shove them into the water. William passes. Paige fails (and dear heavens, nearly drowns for trying).
9:36am: Paige cries for a good 5 minutes about having to wear a life jacket. I am told I must be in the water and arms-length from her at all times. I wasn’t planning on swimming. I take one for the team and get in. Paige is still sobbing.
9:45am: Paige has pulled herself together. Follow William and Paige up the 3 flights of stairs to the top of the water slide only to be told that children in life jackets cannot slide.
9:50am: Follow Paige down 3 flights of stairs, past dripping children in line, all while she sobs and sobs.
9:52am: Get in lazy river with Paige where she immediately declares this is the BEST THING EVAR. (!)
10:00am: Whistles blow announcing the pool is closed. Paige sobs again.
10:05-10:17am: Wait, shivering, for a “wet change only” dressing room so that we can remove our bathing suits. Try to assure children “we’ll be warm in juuuust a minute”.
10:25am: Drive half hour home, change clothes, tell children they can watch a cartoon, crawl back in bed and wonder why I got up at all this morning. Ponder if it’s worth it to drive back at 6:15 for more