Friday Flashbacks: Heat wave!

By Mir
June 24, 2005

Sometimes I’m so brilliant, I just want to pat myself on the back. Heartily. With a stun gun.

The thermometer hit 90 today, and tomorrow it’s only gonna get worse. Knowing full well that I would not want to venture out tomorrow, I picked the kids up from school and took them SHOE SHOPPING, because everyone knows that a hot, sticky Friday afternoon at the end of a long week is a great time to take small children to multiple stores to try on sandals.

But–the small voice at the rear of my brain whines–they NEEDED sandals. It was FOR THEM. And they should appreciate it, becau–

That’s pretty much when the logic center of my brain bitchslaps that little voice into submission.

Let’s face it: things just aren’t the same in the heat. Tempers are shorter, everyone is stickier, and life just seems more complicated. The sure cure? A pool. There is nothing like a pool when the temperature soars, and tonight I shall recall Pools I Have Known rather than expound on The Great Sandal Hunt. As always, feel free to join in.

* My grandparents’ building in Florida had a pool and not much else in the way of entertainment, so visits to their house involved countless hours in the water. I think I probably learned to swim there. I know my grandfather once jumped into the water–cigar and all–to rescue me when I decided to throw my arms in the air (like I just didn’t care) while I was floating around in a ring-type flotation aid. In the upper elementary years my brother and I would compete to see how many laps we could each swim in a day. One time my parents let us stay up late and go swimming after bedtime which was both spooky and cool. I wonder how many hours I spent chlorinating myself there.

* For many years we belonged to the local country club mostly so that we could use the pool in the summer. My brother and I would spend entire days there in the summer, alternating swimming with fooling around on the paddleball courts, playing on the swingset out front, getting slushies at the snackbar, and tormenting each other. I was (actually still am) afraid of heights, and went up the ladder of the high dive and then made all the kids behind me get off so that I could come back down again on several occasions. Finally I worked up the courage to jump, and spent an afternoon plunging from above, over and over. I haven’t been on a high dive since, and have no desire to.

* For five years I went to a month-long sleepaway camp every August. There was swim lessons every morning and free swim every afternoon. At least once per session the counselors would rouse us after bedtime and lead us to the pool for a nighttime skinny dipping session. (Just us girls, of course. I assume the boys had the same ritual, at a different time.) Although I was an excellent swimmer, I had a phobia about going into the water head-first, and so had foiled every attempt to teach me how to dive. My last year at camp, I finally learned how. I also learned that if you enter the water by diving, you’d best have a well-anchored bathing suit. Oops.

* I briefly nannied for a very wealthy family when I first moved to California. They had a pool. I was more than happy to swim with the kids every single afternoon after I picked them up from school. I always felt like I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to, even though the kids loved it and the parents encouraged it. Maybe it was just the weirdness of occasionally having the father arrive home when I was still drying off….

* The first time I put Baby Chickadee into a kiddie pool, she was about four months old, and she HATED it. It was an oppressively hot day, and I’d brought her over to a friend’s house. My friend’s daughters (toddlers) splashed in and out of the pool in joy, and we moms stood in the pool to cool our feet, but every time I lowered Chickadee into the water she would shriek. Finally I gave up, and laid her on a blanket in the shade of a large tree. There, my non-napper proceeded to fall asleep–little tushie in the air, hair ruffling in the breeze–and sleep for a solid hour while I sat in the kiddie pool, enjoying the cold water on my legs and admiring the tempermental angel I was still surprised to call my own.

Tonight I filled up one of these because I figure no one is going outside tomorrow unless it’s to submerge themselves. I was smart in planning on filling tonight (so as not to tax the well so much) but stupid in that I was inflating the dumb thing after dusk, which meant I was being eaten alive. It wasn’t my favorite activity. But, tomorrow the kids will splash to their hearts’ content. Also, the fireflies were out.


  1. Cori

    We drove from Central California to East Texas the summer I turned 13. When we reached our hotel in Texas at 10pm, it was still in the 90’s so the manager let us into the pool and I swam in the dark for the first time. My parents were always such sticklers for schedules and bedtimes that being allowed to do something so obviously against the plan was amazing. Now I realize they had to be as miserably hot as we were and were enjoying the neon green coolness as much as we kids were. Now I’m the stickler and have to remind myself that memories are made when rules are broken. *must remember that!*

    Gotta ask…was the dad creepy about getting home in time to see you dry off? If so, eeew!

  2. notdonnareed

    I remember playing Marco Polo in my friend’s above-ground pool. As a child, that was how I defined “rich people” — they were the ones who had their very own pools.

    Being a child of the 70s, I couldn’t swim in the dark without hearing the theme to Jaws in my head.

  3. Mark

    Need sandals.
    Need sandals.

    Barefoot just doesn’t do it anymore.

  4. Hula Doula

    I heart swimming. Hula Girl went swimming at Glenwood Springs when she was 1 month old. She loved it. Hula Boy did the same.
    That’s the benefit to being born in the summer I guess!

  5. Red Clover

    Growing up in Florida we swam all the time. Now I live in GA, and my land lords (read that: should call them grandparents) have an inground pool. I still love to swim.

    But Im a total pansy about diving boards. I can’t even do the one on their pool. I think I’d die if I even considered a high dive.

    My 8 year old son tries to mock me into jumping off. But, I cant even force myself to walk to the end. Yep Im a pansy.

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