Category Archives: I Judge Bad Parents

Summertime and Swimtime Drama

It’s mid-summer already and our community’s pool drama is in full swing. Every year I write about parents who send their kid off to the community pool unattended, and it seems like every year it keeps getting worse.

Our community’s pools underwent a major overhaul over this past winter season. They pulled out all the concrete and poured new. They replaced all the lounge chairs and even the shower. I’m not crazy about the shower, as it’s now on a timer and shuts off right went you’re in the middle of rinsing something off.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, except it’s related to the pool, not the drama I want to talk about.

We’ve had a lot of trouble over the past couple years with teenagers hopping the fence. The fence that has pointy spears that bend outward at the top. A deterrent you wouldn’t find me willingly trying to vault over, not even when I was younger and more nimble. This year is the first year that I’ve seen it first hand… and it was when I was kickboarding with no ear plugs or goggles, so I know it wasn’t a figment of my overactive imagination.

Thump, clang, clang, and there they were. The kid hoisted himself over and then let his girlfriend in. They seemed a bit startled to see me. Not surprising since the timer on the pool light was off, so it was unlit and I was swimming in the dark. He claimed they lived there and his dad lost the pool key. I responded that it was an odd way for him to gain entrance to the pool. It happened again a couple nights later, and I called the sheriff on them after I left.

My neighbor claimed they did it again in front of her in broad daylight, and then when she confronted them, they got violent and ran their car into a community streetlight. What point that proves, I have no idea. But it must have made sense to them, right?

So it happened that over the weekend Tony and William were on their way to Walmart. I asked him to drive by the pool and if it was full of kids to come back and get me. I’d rather go to Walmart than try to lap swim in a pool full of kids. If it were all clear, though, I’d go swimming. He texted me and told me to call the Sheriff, that those teenagers were in the pool area, that they’d hopped the fence right as he was driving by. When he told them they needed a key for entry, they got confrontational, So, I called the Sheriff. I headed down the pool intending to act like I knew nothing, except the pool area was empty and there were two teenage boys walking around the toddler playground next to the pool.

The Sheriff showed up, took a look around, and informed me that even if there had been someone unauthorized in the pool area, there was nothing for him to enforce … he needed a “No Trespassing” sign and a “Key required for pool entry” sign posted on the gate. Funny no one had ever mentioned that in all the years past, but kind of makes sense I guess. Meanwhile, the two teenage boys had meandered off out of sight.

My neighbor then comes in with one of the teenage boys and introduces him to me as a neighbor who lives on the corner of her street. Suspiciously I look at him and ask him if he hopped the fence a half hour ago. “No, we thought about it but decided not to.” Hmmm. I asked him if he got confrontational with someone, “Well, my cousin did but he’s kind of a hothead.” My neighbor leaves, and then enters this kid’s “hothead cousin.” They go sit in the spa together and stare at me as I swim my laps.

Shortly after that, their mother comes in and talks to them. After a few minutes, she comes to the side of the pool and it’s obvious she wants to talk to me. I could have kept swimming, I suppose, but she was just this side of annoying, so I stop my workout, pull out my earplugs and ask her if I can help her.

She wanted to discuss the fact that my husband had confronted her darling son and nephew. To me, there was nothing to discuss. You break the rules (hopping the fence and getting confrontational with someone), you get the Sheriff called on you. End of discussion. She claimed my husband said the “F” word to the boys. I know Tony, and even without asking him, I know that’s not his style, and certainly not with a Toddler who parrots everything we say in the vicinity. So I told her that wasn’t true. She started to argue with me, and I shrugged and said, “Look. You’re going to believe your teenagers, who have already proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and I’m going to believe my husband.” She said, “I’ve lived in this community now for 9 years…” I interrupted and said, “Good for you. Then you know very well that we’ve had issues with security here, and you also know that a key is required for entry. That’s the rule. You hop the fence, the sheriff gets called.” I continued, without waiting for a response, “There’s nothing further to be discussed here. I’m on a limited time schedule and I’m going to finish my swim.” She waves her hand at me and the path I was swimming, and instead of apologizing for wasting my time, she says smartly, “OK, well, go ahead then.” I pause, look at her and say, “You misunderstood. I wasn’t asking your permission.” I put my earplugs in and continued my swim.

She left the pool area shortly after, leaving the two kids alone in there with me. So, now I know why her son and nephew think nothing of breaking the rules. Also, why they think it’s OK to get confrontational when they’ve done something wrong.

Also, even though I donned a crazy, mismatched swimsuit last night (a pink paisley swim top and blue Hawaiian flowered board shorts) I was glad for the 11 people who filed into the pool area at 9:15pm. I kind of don’t like being alone now when I swim late at night.

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Filed under Best Husband, I Judge Bad Parents, Mermaid Envy

Blogabilities – Week of 05/29/2011

* Someone hacked into one of my Yahoo e-mail accounts and sent a bunch of spam e-mails to my contacts… some of whom I’ve not been in contact with for years and years. Beyond the fact that I’m a little confused at how they managed to hack in, since I don’t ever use unsecured connections, always log out, change my password often, and run anti-virus software, I find myself just a teensy bit amused, because the spam they sent out was about quitting smoking. Considering ALL the types of spam out there, I have to say that’s not the worst option to have been sent on my behalf. I only hope the people who received it weren’t dumb enough to click on the link.

* Tony has been having severe back pain since last Monday. He took himself to our General Practitioner on Friday night, who prescribed some pain medication and sent him home. But the persistent pain continued and worsened over the long holiday weekend — of course. Isn’t that always the way of it? On Tuesday, he again presented to our GP who referred him to a specialist… who couldn’t see him until June 10th. He called back for another referral, and went in Tuesday afternoon at 4pm. At 4:45pm he called me to say he was being admitted to the hospital for surgery and would be staying overnight for recovery and observation. Because I really want to gross you out (because I was kind of grossed out and I have a pretty high tolerance for grossness), I’ll tell you that he had an abscess at the base of his tail bone that the specialist cut into and drained out 1/2 cup of pus. He was released Wednesday afternoon, and is home recovering in much less pain.

* A couple weeks ago, I e-mailed the city in which I work about a traffic signal. They had reprogrammed it, not sure why, but it was allowing only 4 cars per green through which, during rush hour, or any hour, really, since the light exits traffic for the airport, caused a mile long back-up on the freeway. In California, people react to this by slowing and cutting in the exit lane at the last second, which causes slowing (and near-miss rear-end accidents) in the lane they’re changing from… and at the light, people squeak through on a red light. This morning I received TWO emails from the city, attaching the trail of emails since I emailed them, showing that they’ve been internally pushing this through to the appropriate jurisdiction and following up with them. I am so impressed.

* Last night for my evening swim, I went to the “upper pool” in our community. I may have to do that again, as that pool is surrounded by star jasmine shrubs. We’ve established in previous posts that the jasmine plants are blooming profusely this year, and I’m thrilled to report that the gardeners haven’t yet trimmed those shrubs back. The scent, combined with my favorite activity, was simply heavenly. The only problem I had with that was that it evoked a desire in me to go to some remote tropical place, like Kauai (for example), and swim there.

* Pool safety is one of my biggest concerns and also a pet peeve. So many parents bring their kids over, let them “swim” around in the pool, while they bury their nose in a book, get on their cell phone or take a nap, and call that supervision. It’s not. Or those parents who think it’s OK to send their younglings over to the pool all by themselves. It’s not. A couple years ago, my former boss related a story after his weekend, how he attended a pool party with 15 adults supervising their collective cache of children and yet his young daughter, who knew how to swim, almost drowned in the midst of all that supervision. He noticed, fortunately, and dove in, fully clothed to save his little girl. How can that possibly happen, you ask? See here: Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning. Also, you guys, if your kids are in those wading pools or above ground pools, it’s just as important that kids be supervised. Link

* Looking forward to the weekend already. A three day weekend followed by a four day work week really rocks!

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Filed under Blogabilities, I Judge Bad Parents, Mermaid Envy