Wednesday, April 3, 2013

10 Rules of the Dreaded Indoor Pool & Water Park

Last week was Spring Break here and we stayed home and tried to find fun things to do that didn't cost too much money. We went and saw some historic stuff, which was awesome. We went to the library, saw friends, played laser tag (Mini dominated because she is a heartless little mercenary), and we saw "The Croods".  You guys, I'm freaking exhausted.

But one thing we did really wore me out. We went swimming. I'm very lucky. I live in a great community where our County Recreation Centers are incrediballs. There is one that is a huge indoor pool and water park, complete with 3 story water slides, tot lots inside the pool (!!), beach slope areas for little kids, lazy rivers, you name it. It's awesome! And for me to take all 3 of my kids there for the day costs $15 total. I've been there many times and usually work hard to go at off hours, when it's not crowded.


There's only one problem. During spring break week, it is the most crowded place on earth. And like a jackass, I went with a bunch of buds. It was so crowded, they stopped letting people in. There was a line out the door. At the rec center, you guys. It was CRAZY and it was nearly as bad as Chuck E Cheese. Almost. 

So of course, I lost my mind and almost had to go to the nervous hospital. Here are ten rules of going to the indoor pool and water park during Spring Break that I developed as a result of my experience last week.

Be prepared to park approximately 6.4 miles away and walk. This was not too bad on our way in. On our way out we froze our buns off as the early spring wind whipped around our pasty white, still damp legs and caused my children to moan about how freeeeezzzzzing they were (notwithstanding the fact that they refused to wear jackets because it's not even winter anymore, mom).

Make some rules to try and safely manage this experience. Explain the rules. Then try to enforce rules. I found myself freaking out as I watched my child immediately race up three flights of concrete stairs with wet feet and then slip and fall as I screamed "NOOOO RUNNNING!!! RULE #1 is NO RUNNING ON THE SLIPPERY STEPS OF DEATH!! GAHHHH!!!!"

It will be so crowded that you will have an immediete panic attack. Children, when wet, all look exactly alike. And there were hundreds of them. It was so crowded that when I called out: "Hawk?!"(not exactly the world's most common name) and about 30 kids were like "Mommy?"


This is the actual pool. But with
hundreds less  people there.
CONSTANT VIGILANCE. Don't chat. Don't look at your phone. Don't do anything except monitor the offspring. Oh do you have to go the bathroom, Lydia? TFB. No potty for you - just try to watch your kids. Those 14 year old lifeguards are outnumbered 156 to 1.

Don't look too closely at the pool water. Or at the bottom of the pool. It's just best that you don't. If your mind begins to think about the microbes seeping out of the water-logged swimmy diaper of the small child to your right, just think about something else. Like Syria. Or filing tax extensions.

Oh dear God, while you are standing on the pavement surrounding the pool: do not look down. You will see clumps of hair that appear to have come from a Sicilian Yeti and shriveled up band aids and long abandoned hair ties and other things that make the bile churn in your belly.

Someone will probably puke in the pool while you're there. This should come as no surprise. Particularly when you consider that birthday parties are being hosted at this facility. Where children's tummies are being filled up with pizza and cupcakes and Cheetoes and then they're released like greyhounds right back into the pool.

Break time! During those few minutes when they clear the pool, I always hope that people will leave in droves. But they never do. With all three kids safely in my vision, this was the only time my heart rate returned to normal. Unfortunately, it was also when I broke some rules and started looking at the pavement and the pool water. DEAR GOD HOW SOON CAN WE LEAVE?

Don't try to take pictures. Just don't. They will not come out and you won't be able to find your kids, let alone make them stand still long enough to take a picture. So if you're on the sidelines, trying to snap a shot of your preschooler going down the slide (with 125 other preschoolers in between you), some mom will invariably think that you're trying to take pictures of her kid in his bathing suit and may possibly give you the death glare or even freak out a little. She's probably suffering from the same "OHMYGODWHATIFTHEREARESEXOFFENDERSHERE?!" syndrome and can only see one of her kids and where the hell did the other one go?

The locker room. Wear shoes. And gloves. And a biohazard suit. Maybe just don't go in there. Especially don't go in there right after the lifeguards tell everyone that someone just puked in the pool. Because that locker room will become a seething mass of naked, wet, angry, disgusting humanity that you do not want to be a part of. Trust your Auntie Lydia. Just drive home wet and shower there.

Of course, there's what happens next. I get out of there and get home, with the kids still chattering about how much fun they had and I immediately develop Indoor Pool & Water Park amnesia. So that next year, I'm sure to decide it's a great idea to go do it all again.

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

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