Thursday, June 09, 2005

Swim Season

The other night, I was tempted to head over to Celebration Health for a few laps in the swimming pool. The delicious peach ice cream at Coldstone, not to mention an evening snack of Oreos, had undoubtedly offset any benefits of my morning walk for the next two weeks. I figured that I needed to burn a few more calories to at least maintain the status quo.

But I was still working, and the huge video file that I was uploading took longer than I expected. I had some travel agency work to do, too, so journeying to the club would take too long. Then I had a bring idea: why not swim right down the block, in the East Village micro-pool? It had been a long time since I'd enjoyed a dip right in my own neighborhood. I'd be able to get in some exercise and still get home in time to finish up the travel reservations.

We live at one end of the East Village play field, and the pool is located at the other. I was too lazy to get out my bike, so I just hoofed it. I was clad for action in my swimsuit and flip flops, with my purple Figment towel flopping jauntily on my shoulder. There were some dark clouds off in the distance, but it looked like any lightning and rain would hold off long enough to get in some pool time.

When I arrived, there were two boys already in the pool, continuously jumping off the center island. I've never really understand why the island was installed, rather than making the pool larger. It's small enough to begin with, and the big concrete island takes up valuable real estate. Vandals are constantly ripping down the umbrella in the center, and it's a magnet for jumping and diving. That makes it virtually impossible to actually swim laps, and with all the craziness I've witnessed, I'm firmly convinced that someone is going to break their neck, or at least crack their skull, when diving into the shallow water someday.

I dipped my toes into the water, expecting an unpleasant chill. But a few weeks of temperatures in the 90s had warmed the liquid to a balmy, comfortable level. Instead of easing my way in, I was able to take an immediate plunge. Swimming laps was out, but I was able to do some water jogging while avoiding the flying bodies.

Shortly thereafter, another family arrived for an evening swim. They began a spirited water football game on one side of the pool, while the leapers focused on the other. I weaved my way through the bodies and managed to get in a nice little workout. Even with people all around, I can mentally move myself into my own little world while exercising. It's a sort of meditation time for me, when I ponder any pressing questions in my life or simply contemplate the state of the world.

On this evening, I remembered the last time that I'd been in the East Village pool. I was amazed to realize that I hadn't been there since my husband and I moved to Celebration full time. The "big move" was in Jnauary, and our local pool isn't heated, so our winter swims had been at nice, warm Lakeside.

Previously, visiting the pool had been a melancholy occasion. When we were coming to town on weekends, we'd gotten into the habit of taking a dip on Sunday morning before getting ready for our flight back to Chicago. The pool would usually be virtually deserted, and we'd paddle around and try to ignore the fact that our time in Celebration was rapidly ticking away.

My deep thoughts on those occasions were usually focused on what it would be like to live in Celebration full time. I would ponder how we could manage that logistically and wonder how long it would take. I dearly loved visiting our house, but 48 hours goes by too quickly. It's like dangling a moist, delicious devil's food cake under a starving chocoholic's nose. You let them have one bite, then suddenly take it away. The taste is sweet, but now they're worse off because the sample leaves them craving it all the more.

The last time I was in that pool, late last summer, I had no idea that my dream would be fulfilled a mere few months later. Now here I was, jogging around with no depressing thought of catching a plane. What a luxury!

All too soon, I realized that dusk had given way to true darkness, and the hour was approaching nine p.m. The Disney Cruise Line office is open until 10, so I needed to hustle back to Duloc Manor to get in my last phone calls of the day. Then I could update client paperwork until bedtime.

As I walked home, I noticed that the new townhouses lining the park are nearly ready for occupancy. One of the end units has a really cool two-tier porch. It's the only one with a two-story porch that I've ever noticed in all of East and South Villages. The outside and inside lights were on, and I could see that the interior was almost done. It looks like my favorite townhome will be hosting its new occupants soon.

At the corner, I passed a large family, or more likely some sort of combined group, as there were more than half a dozen people, most of them toting swim noodles. They appeared to be headed to the pool for a refreshing night swim.

Celebration Health is my preferred venue for serious exercise, but the neighborhood pool is a great place for a quick interlude. Soon I was back at Duloc Manor, refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of the workday.

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