Two days into my July-non-vacation and it’s already the weekend. Yesterday’s build up of work stress can get relegated elsewhere for the next 48 hours. But this isn’t just any weekend, it’s July 4th weekend! That means grilling, chilling, general fun summer stuff and celebrating our great nation – the U.S.A.
So as ‘Merica gets into Independence Day mode, and prepares for its 240th birthday party (what’s the popular gift for 240 year-olds these days??), I will go to work. And it’s sad and borderline embarrassing to tell people that you have to work on our biggest national holiday, and it’s not because you work in an Emergency Room or at air traffic control, or some other place that needs to be 100% operational 24-7-365, but it’s because you work on spreadsheets. Yeah.
I have some very good Fourth of July memories (of not working) and I get worried that my kids won’t have the same if I have to work this holiday each year. But maybe I get ahead of myself and just overthink it. I have to remind myself that 1. They are still young, and the little one is asleep before nightfall in July 2. Fireworks would probably scare the shizzles out of the kids for a few more years (maybe), fireworks basically give my cats PTSD so we can probably still hold off on that a bit 3. When I was their age, there was no New York City ban on fireworks and the streets were literally on fire 4. You don’t know how to grill. So what were these great Fourth memories again? Time paints a rose-hued lens on what was more or less patriotic tomfoolery.
So here’s something to build good summertime memories despite having to work on the Fourth: we went swimming. Our town pool (which technically serves three towns) is great. At least when we first joined, I was in awe. Some of the Co-op apartments we had looked at (before we found our house) advertise the pool and the adjoining golf and tennis area as part of the selling point of the Co-ops. It’s like a country club, without the fees of a country club. You can join based on residency, not based on who you know and do they like you.
The longer I’ve been going to this pool, the more I’m getting familiar with the lay of the land and who is in charge of whom at the Mecca of Seventh Borough Summertime: The Town Pool. And I say town pool, but I really mean poolS. There are 5 pools, and 4 of them are somehow kind of built into a hill. As you come through the gate, you have the Granny pool on your immediate right and the snack bar is to the left. The Snack bar is mainly staffed by 12 year-olds and managed by 14 year-olds. If you make it through food service, you can drive a golf cart at 15 and become a lifeguard at 16 and really move up the ranks. I’m not sure, but I’d guess the three or four adults who are actually in charge are School-year phys ed teachers picking up a summer gig. They all carry clipboards and wear matching polo shirts. The kids who seem like they’d rather be anywhere else but the pool all tend to have the job of setting up and breaking down the lounge chairs. That looks like a crummy job. None of those kids look happy even though sometimes they get tipped for bringing chairs. Lastly, there are the shuttle drivers who drive the ‘trolley’ around the parking lot, because while the parking lot may not look so big, when you’re schlepping a bag full of damp towels and two tired children around, it’s a Godsend. The ‘trolley’ is like a very long golf cart. It’s the super stretch limo of golf carts. I swear sometimes we go to the pool just to ride the ‘trolley’.
Opposite the snack bar is the Granny Pool, which is strictly for adults, and by adults I mean you have to be 18 to swim there, so there is no ‘Adult Swim’ time, the Granny Pool is Adult Swim all the time. And even though a 19 year-old would surely be welcome at the Granny pool, the average age of swimmers at that pool is 75.
Passing the Granny pool, if you sort of go down a hill and then up a hill, you will find yourself at the Diving Pool. The Diving Pool has two springboards and is 13 feet deep. The Diving Pool is frequented by the 10-13 year-old set, but sometimes I get on line for the springboard myself and take the plunge. Down yet another hill or like two flights of stairs, depending how you go, are the baby pools. One pool starts at six inches and slopes down to about 18 inches. In the shallow side of the pool you won’t find kids playing splish splash. You’ll find all the moms and dads lounging as if it were a swim-up bar while the tots are mostly in the adjacent playground or the other baby pool, which has like a million sprinklers attached to it. I mean, it’s probably 5 sprinklers, but there is not a corner of that pool you can stay sprinkler free in, trust me, I’ve tried. This pool tends to lose interest with 5 years and up crowd.
Finally, at the bottom of the last hill, is the large 4 foot-deep ‘Olympic Size’ pool with laps lanes and basketball hoops. This is really where it’s at. Each time we go to the pool, I stand on the top of the hill and ask the kids which pool do they want to go to today, and without fail, it’s the big ‘Olympic’ pool at the way bottom of the hill. And this pool is like an evil mirage because it looks so much closer than it is, and ten minutes later, you finally get there (Fifteen minutes if the kids have to stop and take stock of everyone else’s floaties and water toys) and you wish the trolley could transport you from one pool to the next, but given the sloping of the pool decks, a ski lift would be more appropriate.
And once we’re in the pool it’s like the most fun in the world, and they love it, and I try to get them to work on swim strokes and they ignore me, because just holding on to your mom is way more fun than swimming on your own. But they’ll get there, and skills increase and fear subsides (Kate actually has zero fear, despite having basically zero swimming skills). Nick practises his cannonballs and Kate practises inhaling less water than before. And hopefully they will gain a love of the water and build good memories of summertime at the pool.