On Thursday, Jen planned to take the kids to the outdoor pool at the San Jose Main YMCA after lunch. Ike, however, misbehaved so much while they were eating out at lunch that she refused to take them anywhere else that afternoon. They didn't know where they were going, but they knew they had missed out on an "adventure" and were quite disappointed.
Yesterday, Ike wanted to go to the pool in the afternoon. In the morning, I'd taken Ike, Elli, and Gwen to HazMat dropoff, swept out the truck bed of the shards of the florescent bulb that didn't survive the trip, and taken the three older kids to a park for biking and playing in the water feature. I was already well exercised for the day, but I was up for trying a trip to the pool since the previous attempt had failed.
Our mistake was in getting the kids sunscreened and suited up before we finished packing. Ike, Elli, and Gwen were so anxious to go that they would not let us finish preparing the other supplies we needed. Finally, we gave up from too much stress. They were again bitterly disappointed, but we suggested that there was still one more afternoon available to the weekend if they moderated their behavior. The rest of the day went pretty well once they calmed down.
Today, Gray was not feeling well (either a cold or an immunization recieved a few days ago), so Jen stayed home while I took the others to church. Ike, out of his leg cast for less than a week, resumed one of his favorite post-church games of running on the 1.5 foot terrace wall in the playground and leaping the gap with the stairs. He didn't check that the path was clear and collided with an adult on the stairs. I verified that she was alright (thought the coffee mug she'd held was not), but Ike was moaning about his ankle. Crap, not again. He's handling this injury much better, though, so it's probably just a light sprain.
After lunch, he was out running around on it, with a slight limp. He still wanted to go swimming, so Jen and I started packing. The kids knew what was up and still bugged us incessantly, but we didn't put on the swimwear until we were ready to go. Off to the Main Y at last!
Upon arrival, Jen took the girls and Gray straight through to the pool. Ike and I stopped in the locker room so I could take off my outer layer of clothes and stash stuff in a locker. Sadly, the locker hole gauge was less than that of my new lock. Hurm. So I just took our stuff out to the poolside like Jen did with her bag.
On the way out, I saw signs describing the new pool rules. Uh, oh. A summary:
1) Non-swimmers must be within arm's reach of an accompanying adult at all times.
2) No adult may be responsible for more than two non-swimmers.
3) Non-swimmers are any kids who have not passed the swim test, thus do not get a green wrist band marking them "Swimmers".
4) To go down the slide (the slide that Ike has looked upon with longing for 3-4 years of our intermittent visits to this pool), you must be 48" or taller and have a Swimmers wrist band.
Let's see, that puts us at four kids and two adults. Could be ugly. But Ike can swim just fine, I thought, so I'll just get him the wrist band.
Swim test requirements:
1) Jump into water and recover
2) Swim 25 yards
3) Tread water for 1 minute
"Ike, do you know how to tread water? Did you learn that in swim class?" "Oh, yes!" OK, over to the swim test table. I waited five minutes, during which I saw the head lifeguard over hassling Jen about the girls' swim vests. A few minutes later, they had to take them off. Oh, joy, this was just getting better and better. Finally, someone came by to give the swim test.
She took us to the indoor pool, which is 9 feet deep. Ike paused a bit at this info. He jumped on in, though, and came back to the edge. Then it was time for the treading water. "What's tread water?" "Didn't you learn that in swim class?" "No, I didn't finish swim class because I broke my leg." Riiiight, that would have put a damper on things. I give him a lot of credit, he tried so hard to do it with his injured foot. I wasn't watching the clock because I was cheering him on, but I think he gave out at 45-50 seconds. So, no green band for today.
I rejoined Jen. Now we had two girls without swim vests, Elli in tears because she wanted her vest, Ike in tears because he couldn't ride the slide, and we had to keep exactly two kids next to each other at all times. It was like crossing the river with the fox, the chicken, and the bag of grain
. This was all taking a turn toward the sucktastic.
Jen calmed everyone down by explaining that we could cry and whine about all of the rules and things we couldn't do, or we could enjoy the things we could do, since we were at the pool and we could swim and play under the mushroom waterfall and so forth. The afternoon went pretty well after that. (Even though one of the lifeguards stopped by to commit a state crime at Jen
We escorted all four around in a bunch until Gray was too cold. Jen took him to the locker room to change while I escorted two at a time with one sitting in a deck chair to the side. Upon Jen's return, Elli decided she was done, so I played with Ike and Gwen for another five minutes before we wrapped up and I took them to the locker room to change.
In the end, it was a very good thing Jen didn't make it to this pool on her own. She'd have had no choice but to leave immediately, with all of the tears and gnashing of teeth and misery that would cause. The dice don't lie.