all good things come to an end

IMG_1507… including summer.

It’s not officially over yet, but with August coming to a close and the fall upon us, schools re-opening and buses back on the streets, we’re getting there. For me, summer is at an end because our pool closes this week.

This was the first summer of my life that I had a pool of my own — well, it belongs to the complex we live in, so sadly we have to share it, but you get what I mean. Every other year I’ve been a sporadic swimmer at best, sometimes getting to a pool only once or twice, sometimes not at all. (Beach? In Buffalo? Surely you jest.) But this year, it was every possible day for the entire summer. Am I sad to see it end? Yes… and no.

I like the pool, I do. It’s great for cooling off, though I’m also partial to central air for that, and it wasn’t that hot of a summer to begin with. I like having friends over to the pool, and I like hanging out there with Dave and our cousin Adam. I freely admit I don’t always like the other people, not when they’re rude, or loud, or just annoying. The Real Housewives of Long Island can be funny, but they can also be nauseating. And I’m huge fan of babies in the pool — they’re darn cute in those swimmie-contraptions they have these days, they look like Baby Pool Armor, and they always seem to be having such a blast — but I am not quite as fond of preteens playing endless games of “toothpaste” and jumping in the pool right on top of my head.

I did like the exercise more than I’ve liked any other exercise I’ve done in my life. I swam laps all summer, almost every day, working my way up to 30 a day. I would have liked to do more, but I’ll keep at it next summer. I also discovered I can float effortlessly and can tread water apparently forever (I got bored after 15 minutes and stopped, but don’t think the end was anywhere near), so if we’re ever on the Titanic, Dave can just hang onto me and we’re set.

I won’t miss the chlorine, though. I mean, god knows it’s necessary (all those kids, and no one ever gets out and goes into the bathroom in the clubhouse — you do the math), but the smell is icky. Every day when I get home Fred sniffs my hand disdainfully, and doesn’t warm up until I’ve had a chance to shower. My hair could do without the chemicals, too.

Overall, it was a good summer at the pool, but I confess I’m looking forward to a nice, long, harvesty autumn, and even a cozy warm winter by the fireplace, snug at home.

calgon, take me away

turtleI’ve been swimming pretty much every day lately, which is notable just because I’ve never been much of a swimmer. I didn’t grow up with a pool and in fact didn’t learn until I was about 11 years old — I taught myself, at the town pool (back in the days when an eleven year-old could get on her bike and ride a mile or two over to the town pool and go in the pool alone). Even so, I’m utterly and deathly and irrationally afraid of going under water, to this day. (And no,that’s not going to change. It wouldn’t be an irrational fear if I could just pull myself together, would it?)

However, now I have a pool where I live. Dave loves the pool. It’s where he spends the summer, every day he can. And I love it too, when it’s sunny and hot and there aren’t screaming children making sounds like mewling goats. Or grown-up Real Housewives of Longuyland talking at a volume that can reach New Jersey. (But I digress.) It’s nice, though, enjoying the water, reading a book by the side, swimming around.

I’m also swimming laps every day, for exercise. I’m trying to get my legs stronger, especially the left leg which has nerve issues. There’s not much you can do about nerve pain, aside from some drugs that I find scary, but if I can build up the leg muscles around that nerve, my pain should be less. I do half my laps propelling myself as much as possible with just my legs, letting them do the work. And it’s great exercise in general, which goes along with my other big project of late.

Truth be told, though, what I really like to do, when it’s not crowded, is float. Just float. I’ve never been a great swimmer, but I can float on my back for as long as I like, with no effort at all. I don’t know why. People who weigh more, they say, float better — fat is less dense than muscle — but that can’t be it, because I’ve always been able to do this. Skinny, heavy, eleven years old or forty-two, it’s always been the same. And it’s the most peaceful, most wonderful thing in the world, floating on top of the water, eyes turned up to the sky, arms stretched out or even clasped behind my head, the clicking noises of the pool filter loud in my ears and every other noise muffled away to nothing. Maybe everyone has one little skill and this one’s mine — if so, I’ll take it.

(Mind, I’d still like teleportation, too, if it’s available.)