Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pooling resources

It's June 1, and so that means it's time for that monthly dubious public service -- the posting of my column from Northern Arizona's Mountain Living magazine. It'll mark the second consecutive 19 Minutes post touching on swimming pools, though in my defense, the magazine column was actually written a month ago, before the noodle hammock incident:

If you’re new to northern Arizona, welcome to the early Summer, known affectionately as the “Dry and Windy Season”, or less-affectionately as the “Spend All Your Money On Chapstick Season”.

My wife and I moved to Flagstaff around this time six years ago, and being from wetter origins (I was a river otter as a child), we quickly went in search of water. It didn’t take long to figure out that most of the items featuring the word “lake” on Arizona maps are what Minnesota maps would call “fields”.

So, for those of you in search of some water-oriented recreation, I have a few tips gleaned from my extensive experience:

It’s important to have the right gear. If you’re a typical adult, that simply means a swimsuit. If you’re an adult with a eleven-month old child, that simply means a swimsuit, swim diapers, an extra swimsuit in case the swim diapers leak, a terrycloth cover up, an inflatable kiddie boat with the notation “Not for use as a Floatation Device”, plastic keys to chew on while in the kiddie boat, SPF 400 sunscreen, a sun hat to put on your child so that she can immediately take it off, and a car trailer to carry everything.

The area’s creeks and rivers are good places to take a quick dip on a hot summer day, especially if you enjoy being impaled on large rocks.

The beach is also great for a quick getaway, though the eight-hour drive to the coast somewhat reduces the spontaneity of the trip. The other downside is you’ll have eight hours on the trip back with which to consume the box of salt water taffy you’re bringing back for your co-workers. (Naturally, you’ll leave the licorice-flavored pieces for your co-workers. Your co-workers, of course, were going to leave the licorice-flavored pieces for the cleaning staff. The cleaning staff was going to throw them away.)

Regardless of where you swim, it’s a good idea to refresh your skills with swimming lessons. My fourth-grade class in Wheaton, Maryland was forced to take swimming lessons at the coldest, dankest YMCA pool this side of Murmansk. We were bussed to this pool every week for a couple months, where we changed into our swimsuits as fast as fourth-graders possibly could, and jumped in the water so we could tell each other jokes while the teacher tried to teach us the backstroke. Even if we weren’t telling each other jokes, she would have been tough to hear, because her voice echoed horribly in the cavernous pool, a condition made worse by her heavy lisp. At the end of the class, she assigned us to a level, on the off-chance anyone wanted to voluntarily return to the pool. “Thine up for guppieth,” I remember her telling me.

My own daughter, despite being less than a year old, has already finished her first set of swimming lessons. She learned how to float while wearing a life-jacket, how to chew on a pool toy the instructor gave her, and how to listen to her dad make motor boat noises as he pulled her around the pool. She got an ‘A’.

My wife and I learned something too – those swim diapers actually work pretty well.

1 comment:

Carol Davidson said...

Have you had the pooping in the swim diapers in the pool moment yet?

And how about your daughter... has she?