Category Archives: Mermaid Envy

Swim Disguise

At Chick-Fil-A this past Saturday, I glanced over to the line of people waiting to order and noticed my neighbor. While she waited, she looked around Chick-Fil-A, and as her eyes neared me, I waved at her.

We primarily see each other at the pool and occasionally will lap swim together. We’ve had many discussions over the years while we kickboard together, from the loss of her mom, turmoils at our jobs, the loss of her job, cost of electricity, discussions about travel, etc. We’ve known each other for years. She has an incredible memory for details and pretty much remembers every single thing anyone tells her.

She looked at me, then looked again. I could tell she didn’t recognize me at the first glance, and when she did recognize me, she said, “Oh, I’m so glad you waved! I didn’t recognize you at first. Is William here?”

I replied that he was, he was just playing in the playground area. She said, “Oh, that makes sense.”

I didn’t think anymore about it until the next day and remembered she had done that to me before. I showed up at a community board meeting and she didn’t know who I was until I started talking to the board about some of the issues we were having at the pool. She told me later she hadn’t recognized me, and that I sure looked nice dressed in my business suit.

Now, I’m starting to wonder… do I really look THAT different in street clothes than when I’m at the pool? I’m not sure if my swim suit is totally grungy (probably), or if I just look way different in a swim cap vs. having long hair (maybe?), or maybe we’re just pool friends (fair weather friends?). Possibly, I’m just “William’s mom” now (grunt.). Or maybe, now that I’m in my 40’s, I’ve finally melded into the non-descript portion of the population (another grunt).



Filed under Mermaid Envy

Early Morning Swim.

This year, instead of swimming late in the evening like I have in years past, I’ve been doing early morning swims.  There is nothing I don’t like about early morning swims, actually.  The only part that’s challenging is the getting out of bed part of it.

I lure myself with the promise of sluicing through the water, that feeling where the water is actually warmer than the air outside of the pool.  I never know if it’s going to be a dewy morning, the type that leaves drops of water on the flowers and spider webs… I love those types of mornings.  Sometimes some of the flowers are still sleeping from the night, just barely opening as I make my wake back home.  Sometimes a bird or two will come sit at the side of the pool, or up on the fence.  It’s like finding presents from nature all over the place.

It’s rare, but sometimes I have an interesting sky as the sun rises higher and higher, too.  I really appreciate mornings like that, but often I’ll get one morning like that and the next morning the sun just comes up and there’s nothing all that spectacular about it, except that’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

Maybe one day I’ll keep a waterproof camera on the side of the pool to take pictures of the cloud formations above me while I do my backstrokes.   This morning, for example, I saw a teddy bear with his arms crossed over his chest giving himself a hug, then I looked a few laps later and a sly fox laughing had taken form, and then a few minutes later an enormous Great Dane was running as he looked sideways at the Earth.  All in the clouds.


Filed under Mermaid Envy

Those Little Boys.

I saw them last week. It was evening, not morning, and I had been swimming laps for about 10 minutes when they entered the pool area. It was just their mom with them, and so I wasn’t actually sure it was them… the boys have grown so tall. Not yet at the gangly pre-teen stage, they moved with the grace of youth and their voices were still slightly shrill in their excitement as they threw a water football back and forth to each other.

Their ball got in my path 3 or 4 times, a missed pass here and there. I smilingly tossed it to them as I swam past it to let them know it was OK, but they still apologized to me.

They were high energy, as I remembered them to be. The younger one still seems to have that impish mischief that is inherent to him. Just moments before I got out of the pool to shower, their mom joined them in their game in the pool. I managed to get her attention when I was leaving the pool and confirmed that they were who I thought they were by inquiring if her husband has red hair. She gave me an odd half smile and paused before answering in the affirmative… her reaction gave me the feeling there was a “story” there, like maybe they’re not together anymore? I acted like I didn’t notice and just told her that, from one mom to another, I was impressed with her boys… that they played well together.

As most people are, she was reluctant to accept the compliment without a qualifier, and she said, “Oh, they’re not always this way.” I just smiled and said with a shrug, “They’re kids…” and left it at that.

I was surprised to realize that I actually enjoyed seeing them again. Knowing that they are OK. Growing up, as children do. I hope I gave their mom some encouragement. If nothing else, I know she had a smile on her face for that moment.


Filed under I feel Glad, I feel Hope, Mermaid Envy

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.


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

Gym Hater.

Just until April, that’s what I tell myself every year around this time.   Swimming should be all nubile beauty, sleek water and natural light.  During the winter months, though, it’s filled with dirty water, hideous florescent lights and things the eye shouldn’t behold.  It’s when my patience with ugly nudity and rude people starts to wear thin on my mermaid mentality, because at this point I’ve been swimming at the gym for about 3.5 months.

Seriously, I don’t change outside of my shower or bathroom stall and I certainly don’t bend over in all my glorious nudity when the only thing protecting me from the outside world is a bend in the wall.  I don’t hang my shower bag over other people’s items.  And I most certainly don’t stick my feminine hygiene products on the wall of the shower.  It’s disgusting.  When swimming my laps, if I’m sharing a lane, I make sure that I stay on my side, even though it takes a little extra attention and I can’t relax like I usually do… I expect the same courtesy in return.

Our local gym’s pool has been closed off and on during this period, making it difficult to be reliable.  They claim they renovated it, but it looks the same to me.  Scuzzy dirty sidewalls, band aids in the bottom and random dirt in the corners.  Yuck.  Tony says a sign was up saying it had been shut down by the health department. That makes more sense to me since I was well on my way to chlorine burns again.  This week they have it shut down to replace the lights in the pool.  I didn’t even know the thing had lights in it and I’ve been swimming there for over 4 years.

My backup plan when this happens is to swim at another gym, but it’s further away, and when my schedule is as limited as it is these days, it makes it really hard to be motivated about it when every traffic light is in a conspiracy to take my precious minutes of sleep away from me.  But I go anyway.  Because even though I hate getting home after 10pm, and then I have to shower and lotion up, I love the feeling of accomplishment I feel.

Our community renovated all of its pools this past winter and, yes, it’s a renovation you can actually see.  I can’t wait for them to start heating them for the season… in April.  I will be posting pictures of the newly fancified pools and in the meantime, I keep telling myself, “Just until April, just until April.”


Filed under I feel Irritated, Mermaid Envy, Who I am

Tuesday Tidbits.

* At work, there is a crevice between the elevator carriage and the floors when the door opens. I don’t know why, but for some reason I always want to throw a gum wrapper or some small piece of trash down it. I won’t ever do it, but I always think about doing that when I step in or out of the elevator.

* My community is heating its pools 2 weeks early this year. Which is really great because we had some really warm weather this past weekend and so I had a couple hours of amazing swims. Pure bliss for me.

* Traffic has been lighter than usual this week. I assume because of spring break everyone went away. Instead of a 30 minute commute each way, it’s 20-25 minutes each way. Every minute matters!

* Another free oil change this past weekend thanks to the strange “loyalty” card the dealership gave me. I say strange because I’d only ever had my oil changed there once before, and they sent me a card for five free oil changes because I was loyal? Two used, three to go!

* We went to Sea World on April 1st. It was two years ago on April 1st that I miscarried our first baby. It was one year ago on April 1st that we found out I was pregnant with William and I was peeing on anything that stood still long enough because I couldn’t believe it. Now we have a beautiful baby boy who pees on us.

* Sometimes it’s important to pause to enjoy a beautiful sunset. So sometimes I do. Especially when a light turns yellow and I have no other choice.


Filed under Blogabilities, Mermaid Envy, Tidbits


* Loving feeling healthy again. Having a cold while tending a newborn really, really sucked.

* We’re having a rainy day here today. I’m loving it now, but I wasn’t thrilled when it started, because it sounded like a train going through town when it pounded down on the roof at Target. Horrified, I realized I had left my car’s passenger side window cracked. On the bright side, nothing got too wet and I am grateful that I hadn’t left the top down on my car and that I had only one window open.

* At one week post-partum I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. My clothes fit just a tiny bit weird, but I am astonished how fast the weight left me. I guess it makes sense though. I gained 24.5 pounds, William was nearly 11 pounds of that, his placenta was HUGE, so that left just a few pounds of fluid to lose. It was a bummer that I was so paranoid about my weight gain while pregnant, but it’s totally worth it on this side of the event.

* Speaking of, I’m loving that I’m allowing myself carbs and sugar again. I dramatically scaled back when I was pregnant, so I’m on quite the cereal kick lately and absolutely love this chocolate granola I found. Unfortunately, it appears to be one of those “limited editions” that Costco is carrying. So it’s apparently going to be one of my temporary loves.

* Got the “all clear” to start exercising again a few weeks ago from my OB. That night I attended the aquatic exercise class and I’m back to lap swimming every day since then.

* I am so grateful for my mom and my husband. They make it a priority for me to have the time to go swimming. I was getting ready to leave for the gym one day, and they both sat here and negotiated with each other which one of them was going to tend to William while I was gone. It was funny for me to observe, but only because it was never a consideration that I wouldn’t go.

* I have the most amazing friends, family and neighbors. Everyone has given us so many wonderful clothes, I think William is probably one of the best dressed babies I’ve ever seen! But also, baby carriers, strollers, car seats, a swing, an Angel Care monitor… given them to us. Just like that.

* I’m a bit… stunned(?) to realize that I think my son is going to be an extrovert and quite the charmer. He loves to engage people, he’ll stare people down until they acknowledge him and then he’ll give them the most amazing smiles and “talk” to them. He shuns his nap if we’re out and about in favor of charming the people around him. Which makes for a meltdown when we get home, but sure makes me feel like a million dollars when people tell me how adorable he is. Oh sheez, I think I may be one of THOSE moms, heaven help us!

Helping fold laundry…


Filed under Mermaid Envy, Our Kid is Cute, Tidbits

Turkey and Stuff

Our Thanksgiving this year was perfect, awesome really, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m so grateful for Tony’s family who has embraced me in their hearts and accepted me, quirks and all. The four days off from work were really nice, too, and spending them in my mom’s company made it a double blessing for me.

My contribution to the Thanksgiving feast this year was my standard sweet potato souffle. It’s an easy enough recipe that either Tony or I can make it, depending on who has the time available. Last year, he did it, this year I did it. This year I also contributed a green bean casserole quiche. It is different enough from the standard green bean casserole (which my sister-in-law makes) that it didn’t feel like we had doubled up on green bean things. Of course, my favorite dish of all the food was the turkey, but then I’m all about the turkey even when it isn’t Thanksgiving! In fact, I used money that was given to me for my birthday to purchase a broiler oven (like this one) so that I can easily make turkeys all year round if I want!

The hours at work are long, some days I’m there before 7am and usually leave after 5pm. Once work is over, the evening workout at the gym is done and dinner is eaten, there seems to be just enough time to prepare for the next day and get ready for bed. Under the heading of “Actions speak louder than words” I know my contributions at work are appreciated, because my boss relocated and now travels to the corporate office here in California a few days each month. This week he was here for three days. He spent one of the evenings he was here baking his seasonal batch of pumpkin bread just because I requested it. Now THAT makes me feel pretty special!

I’m also grateful for having a trustworthy mechanic in my life. Especially since it seems like there’s always something knicky-knacky going on with my car these days. For example, one of the tires in my car picked up a screw (insert various screwed jokes here) and I simply dropped it off on my way home from work and went and got it after they had closed. That minimized the inconvenience of the whole thing for me and they patched it right up at no charge to me.

My outside swim days are over for the season and the gym’s pool is my new haunt. While I’m not thrilled about it, it does serve its purpose and I’m grateful for that. Although it does seem as if the chemical levels in that pool are consistently wrong — I notified them last night that the chlorine levels are too high given that I went home one night and my swimsuit faded from black to grey in 24 hours and then last night I got home and discovered that the reason my skin was burning like I’d just been sunburned was because of a first degree chlorine burn (informational link) on the lower half of my body. I went back to the gym later that evening and did a “show and tell” with one of their female employees of the affected areas. She was stunned and promised to notify the gym’s manager this morning, which is good because I was uncomfortable last night feeling like I was sunburned on my butt (and elsewhere). In the whole scheme of things, though, my health is something I never, ever take for granted and I’m grateful that I am able to swim and eat and feel fantastic, healthy and strong.

My husband has already started putting up Christmas decorations on the outside of our house this week. He plans to finish it this weekend and I plan to decorate the inside of our home (as always) this weekend. We’re looking forward to that!

It should be a great weekend ahead with popcorn, hot chocolate and Christmas music playing while we decorate!


Filed under Life Encompasses Me, Mermaid Envy, We Love to Decorate

Not a Quality Post.

The news in these parts is the hot, hot weather this week and the weird rain storms we had for Labor Day weekend. The rain storms were great for me and my lap swimming — no one but me swims in the rain. My theory is, I’m already wet, what difference does it make if it comes from the sky or the pool?

This week, the temperature has been up over 100° at our house during the day. We live inland, and I work coastal, which means that on my drive home I can literally feel the temperature rise the closer I get to home.

I’ve even started aggressively seeking out shady parking spots at work and weighing the risk of bird crap against having a hot car that takes 5 minutes to cool down at the end of the day, even with the top dropped. The risk of bird crap is winning.

On one particularly hot day with higher than normal humidity, we decided to just run the air conditioning all night. That decision was a big deal for us, because I’m totally cheap and hate giving away one more cent than I should to utility companies. I slept fine that night, but poor Tony was miserable… apparently, our thermostat is one of those “smart” ones that requires programming. It programmed itself to turn up to 85° at midnight, and Tony woke up in a pool of sweat. So much for our splurging, oops.

Now that we’ve thoroughly discussed the weather, I can share some weird, randomness… always fun. We went to Walmart the other day and we parked next to this car. The woman who drove this car has an extreme affection for all things Stitch related. She had Stitch dolls for occasions I didn’t even know they made Stitch dolls for, like Easter, for example. I was really impressed and might have had just a touch of Stitch envy.

We had family over for a Labor Day BBQ and pool fun (had it all to ourselves because of the wonky weather). When everyone came back from the pool, I kept thinking there was a creepy Super Hero waiting and watching us by our front door. But it wasn’t, nope. Just a strange stacking of pool towels.

Also, because it was really, really good? California Pizza Kitchen’s tiramisu. Doesn’t that just scream cardiac arrest? ha


Filed under I have Family, Mermaid Envy, Weird is Fun

Blogabilities – Week of 08/14/2011

* I went to Costco today and at check-out, the cashier applied a coupon (which I didn’t supply him with) for $2 off one of my items. In fact, I didn’t even know he’d done it until I was already back at work reviewing my receipt. That was really nice of him. So, I give a virtual “thank you” to cashiers who are kind to their customers, even when the customer is oblivious to their kindness.

* I found out this week that a friend of mine and his wife are expecting after an 8 year battle with infertility. I am truly speechless with joy for him and his wife. They have worked so hard for this. With a long, long road ahead of them, every time they cross my mind I pray that the road they’re facing will be smooth and enjoyable. So much I want to say, but … speechless. It really made my week when he shared their news with me!

* On the pet front, all the fish seem healthy for now. The bird is moulting, so she’s just a little bit cranky. The cats? Well, we discovered tonight that one of them has diarrhea with blood. We’re not sure if it’s just a weird thing, like maybe one of them ate something he shouldn’t have and he’ll be OK after a couple days or what. So we’re just observing for now.

* We went to Disneyland on Tuesday night. We got Tony a “Happy Birthday” pin (it was Wednesday) and also a “Happy Anniversary” pin (coming up on Saturday). It was fun, although I totally think the Buzz Lightyear ride is rigged. Otherwise, how to explain the HUGE gap in points?

* No glamorous sunrises to go with my sunrise swims this week. It’s been really foggy in the mornings, which brings the gift of really fresh smelling air and makes the pool feel warmer once I’m in. I continue to revel in my outdoor swims (vs. indoor). *happy sigh*

* A mountain trip is on the agenda for this weekend. Really looking forward to that.


Filed under Blogabilities, I have Friends, Kid Substitutes, Mermaid Envy