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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stayin' Cool...Always Cool

We're experiencing something of a heatwave.  In fact, it seems we always come back to extremes.  We were last in the States for the winter of 2009-2010.  You remember it, the worst winter on record?  Now here we are back in the Midwest again, this time for the worst drought in basically forever.

The O'Tool kids love to swim, both because they are cool and to stay cool.  Of course, you can't just send small children to play in various aquatic contrivances all on their own.  So the job falls to Mom or me, the grandmas, or various aunts and uncles.  Since I am also cool and need to stay cool, I have frequently accompanied the children for safety purposes only.

This past week we were at Prairie Ridge Aquatic Complex in Ankeny.  It was so blasting hot that it didn't even feel good to be in the pool.  Uncle Tim and I parked ourselves at one end of the pool, mostly submerged and sheltered by the shade of the lifeguard tower.  Children's breaktime had just ended and my daughter Meredith made her way from the poolside chairs back toward our little refuge, aiming to prey on our peaceful respite.  Seeing her coming Despicable Tim and I needed to find cover.  The only way to effectively hide from a 6 year old in a pool is under the water.  So Tim dove and swam one way and I dove and swam another.

Not having much time to consider the surroundings I did notice that the pool was mostly clear to my right.  No one was in the middle of the pool, only along the edges.  This is important for me because I don't open my eyes under water, what with all the children who may or may not use the facilities before jumping in.  I didn't want to bump into anyone as I made my escape.  I was heading diagonally across the pool and stayed submerged until my outstretched hand touched the edge of the pool.

It's at this point the story gets a little embarrassing.  There at the edge of the pool was a young mother teaching her 18 month old how to swim.  Apparently she had been standing there, about 2 feet from the edge, arms outstretched, attempting to coax her child into the water.  Due to my diagonal southeasterly direction across the pool, I somehow managed to swim right past her without so much as brushing her leg as a warning that another person would be occupying space near me.  Upon touching the wall I sprung from the water for a deep breath of the sweet life-giving oxygen I had been neglecting whilst submerged.  And I sprang up right between her outstretched arms.  There I was, dripping wet and gasping for air, towering over this now frightened woman and separating her from her beloved youngster.  And to an outside observer not knowing that I had just materialized before her it must have appeared that she was about to wrap me in a warm embrace.

Fortunately a quick apology and mad dash for the ladder preserved any shred of self dignity that I so closely maintain.  But that's the hazard of being cool.

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