Local Watering Hole

We leave for the Black Hills Saturday. If you decide to bother to fly to Nebraska, hunt down our address and break into our house, please do me the courtesy of at least watering the flowers before you run off with…what? Uh, my hand mixer? Oooh! My outmoded Bosch Tassimo coffee maker! Yes, that, since the damn thing is just taking up valuable counter real estate because I refuse to wait three weeks like I did the last time for them to fill an on-line order.

Our town opened a water park a couple weeks ago and I told myself that I wasn’t going to bother fighting the crowds to take the kids, but this heat has changed my mind. Noteworthy:

I still feel a tad conspicuous wearing my rashguard (a.k.a. sunshirt, surfshirt) in the pool. One of the first days we were there, Aitch was wearing one of hers, one with long sleeves, and a little girl her age came up and asked if that was her swimsuit. I resisted the urge to dunk her. However, my self-awareness is saving me from looking like 90% of the patrons at the park: sunburned like a North Dakotan tourist on his first trip to Myrtle Beach. And after a half-dozen trips there, I’ve seen a handful of other adults wearing similar git-ups (one of my mother’s colloquium).

Both kids’ swimming skills have greatly improved as a result. My son’s friends are fairly good swimmers so he has to keep up or get left behind. The addition of a snorkeling mask allows him to be more comfortable putting his face in the water without fear of it in his eyes or up his nose. Dood’s repeated complaint about our time there is how rough the surface of the pool’s floor is on the bottom of his feet. Sometimes it’s these little touch-sensitivities of his along with sensitivity to loud noises, walking on his toes, and difficulty making eye-contact that make me wonder if he could have undiagnosed and very low spectrum autism along with his ADHD…. hmmmmmm…

Aitch, on the other hand, is a fish. She "swims" under the water, working furiously dog-paddling but making little progress. I’ve taught her how to take big deep breaths through her nose when water gets up there and causes that dreaded burn and I’ve introduced the idea of humming when underwater which prevents water from getting up the nose. She loves the wave pool section and tries to rescue her brother from the deep. Unfortunately, when the waves start, a three-foot-deep pool easily reaches four to four-and-a-half and she loses her toe grip on the floor. Not to mention the innertubes that could knock her under in a blink. I am always there, ready to scoop her up and haul her back to shallower water. I’m sure if the lifeguards were watching, she’d give them a heart attack.

The park brings out the worst of some people, too. Doodicus leaves his bag with his towel in the locker room, like many people do, even though I prefer to keep all of our stuff together on a lounge chair. A couple days ago, the change from the $10 I gave him to get into the park was stolen out of his bag. I thought it was a relatively cheap lesson for him to learn, but the next day we went again, and again he chose not to bring me his bag, and again someone went through his bag, pulling everything out. In what must have been in their hurry to cover their tracks they stuffed someone else’s items into Dood’s bag, including a little boy’s t-shirt. Dood turned it in to lost and found. I explained to Dood that there are some kids who this is all they learn in life, and who is to question walking into a public locker room to see a kid going through a bag and not presume it’s theirs? Now because I’m a cynic, I would instantly assume that it wasn’t theirs and be suspicious. But that’s just me.

Other things I’ve noted? (You asked, right?? Just in case you DO come while we’re on vacation, you might as well take a vacation here in sunny, ass-humid, Nebraska!) They don’t have a facebook page. I find that incredibly annoying and inconvenient. I would voluntarily take on that project. Their staff is too young and inexperienced on the whole, and this was proven a couple days ago a fire started in the wood mulch of the parking lot (fireworks? cigarette? magnifying glass and ants??), and I heard them asking each other if they should call emergency services. Of course I butted in and said they should. Then an adult man came in after observing the fire and asked them for their fire extinguisher. One girl said, "I don’t think we have one…." and in that instance the guy saw it right there on the wall behind the desk. How are they ever going to spot a drowning child with that kind of observational skills?

The lifeguard’s swimsuits look like they came right off of Baywatch: too small and un-lined for the girls. It’s a bit disconcerting. Maybe it doesn’t even bother them, especially with their friends who show up wearing considerably less (a couple of fig leafs and some fishing line would do more). And why don’t swim parks have an outdoor clock somewhere?? If I tell the kids five more minutes, dammit, I mean five.

We’ll be packing up every portable electronic device we own for this trip. I’ve also booked a hotel that has an indoor water park. That way if it’s too hot, or raining, or possibly the forest is on fire (again), we’ll have something to keep us occupied. I can’t remember what the drive is like to the Black Hills, it’s been so long (and was on a school bus), but I can’t imagine the drive from one side of South Dakota being any better or worse than it was from one side of Nebraska to the other (and into the dead zone of Easter Colorado).

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