Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Swimming in the Poo-uhl

This week I went for a swim in the East Village pool, and as I splashed around in the balmy water I realized that it was the first time in well over a year. I'm not sure what caused me to break my self-imposed exile from the pool. I think it just looked too tempting; I drove by it several times, and each time it was completely empty (it was early so the kids were still in school). The temperature was hovering near 90, so the crisp blue water just looked too inviting to resist. Finally I gave in to its siren song, slipped on my swimsuit, and hiked over to get some aquatic exercise.

Exercise is a bit of a challenge in the East Village pool iteration. In Celebration, several villages have pools that can be used by any member of our homeowners association. The pools in Main, North, and South Villages are all large rectangular pools with lap lanes. In East Village we were an afterthought. Our "pool" is small and round, with a concrete island in the center, making it a challenge for lap swimming unless you want to know how an endlessly circling goldfish feels. I usually jog in the water, but the pool is shallow (three feet) unless you are close to the concrete center, where it is four feet. Thus, when I want to exercise. I dizzily jog 'round and 'round the island.

I think one of the main reasons that my visits to the local pool ceased is because I belong to the fitness center at Celebration Health. They have a lovely indoor lap pool where I can get my exercise much more easily. Sure, I could go to one of the pools in the other villages, but if I'm going to drive that far, why not just go to the fitness center? There I don't have to worry about the weather or of kids doing cannonballs in the lap lanes.

Another reason I avoid our in-town public pools is that often they become poo-uhls. This year, there was a rash of closings due to "accidents." We have lots of kids and babies in town, so such things are inevitable. Still, I agree with an internet poster who likened swim diapers to "fecal tea bags." Yes, I know that chlorine kills most germs, but I still prefer to confine myself to environments that are feces free whenever possible. In the bigger pools it's not as bad, but the East Village pool is so tiny that any contamination is magnified exponentially.

The last reason is complacency. Once upon a time, back when we were commuting regularly between Illinois and Florida, we visited the pool almost every time we were in town. I still harass my husband about his comment the first time we walked to the pool from our house. As we set out, he lamented, "When we bought the house, I thought the pool was a lot closer. It's soooo far!"

Now, mind you, the pool is all of a five minute's walk, and that's if you're really going slowly. To give you some perspective, there is a larger soccer/athletic field. Duloc Manor is perhaps half a block away from the field on one end, and the pool is at the other end. In Chicago terms, it would be two and a half to three "long blocks" away.

Hubby quickly saw just how off-kilter his comment had been. I suspect that he had somehow mixed up his perspective on where the pool was actually located in relation to our home. If you've ever driven down the curvy spaghetti bowl of Celebration streets, you'll know that's entirely possible. He never admitted it, tho', so every time thereafter that we'd go for a swim, I'd offer to back some dinner and a tent.

In those days, we usually spent less than 48 hours in Celebration at a time. We'd arrive after midnight on Friday and leave on Sunday afternoon. There wasn't time for spontaneous trips to Disney World or Universal because we were usually involved in some house-related project. The pool was a simple nearby pleasure, especially in the winter months. How precious it was to go for a swim, basking in the sunshine while knowing that back in the Windy City the ground was frozen and blanketed in snow.

Back then our pool pass only worked about 20 percent of the time, and whenever we complained, the issue was always blamed on a lightning strike. They say lightning never strikes twice, but I think it must have had a direct, multiple-strike line to that pool gate. We'd "break in" by bringing a stepladder to facilitate climbing over the gate.

Now, being here full time, we can devote our energies to other activities. When we do decide to swim, it's a lot more tempting to take a dip in our hot tub right in the backyard. The tub is a fancy seven-person model with a different set of therapeutic jets in each seat. The temperature is always a nice, toasty 99 (or wherever we set it). I know that no poopy diapers have sullied its pristine waters and that the chemical mix is just right. And, given the size of the East Village pool, it's really not all that much smaller! (Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but just a little.)

Since my blood is now Floridian-thin, I doubt I could even manage to swim in the pool during the winter months. In the commuting days, I could swim down to around 70 degrees. We'd visit Disney World every December, and I remember floating casually down the lazy river at Typhoon Lagoon in my swimsuit and seeing the lifeguards shivering in swim trunks and heavy jackets. Now I'm in a jacket at 70 degrees too!

But for now the temperatures are still at near-summer levels, and with the kids in school the pools are quiet in the morning and early afternoon. I really enjoyed my dip, and it gave me a chance to reach back in time and touch base with my earlier self. As I jogged around in the water, I thought back to those days when we usually visited the pool on Monday morning before getting ready for our flight to Chicago. Back then, the time whizzed by at light speed. I'd enjoy the swim, but I hated the fact that it heralded the end of another visit to the place that I truly felt was home.

I remember thinking about what it would be like when we finally lived in Celebration full-time. Would that day ever come? What would it feel like? Wouldn't it be wonderful to visit the pool as often as I wanted and to be able to stay as long as I liked?

Now that I have the capability, I take it for granted. I still know how lucky I am, but that luck is an accepted part of my life, not a tantalizing gem gleaming just out of reach. Perhaps I should go for a swim more often and reconnect with the ghost of that woman who was so homesick for Celebration just a few short years ago. It never hurts to reminded just how precious it is to live somewhere that you truly love.

Visit my Celebration, FL website:

Click below to visit my Life Coaching office at Kasamba:

Ask an Expert - Visit my Virtual Office at Kasamba

No comments: