Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Public Pool Enemies #1 and Um... #2

I've already mentioned (as has everyone else and her sister Mimi) that it's hotter than a hundred years of the Mexican sun out here on the prairie. I have also already mentioned that we had the distinct pleasure of entertaining my two stepchildren, Sissy (11) and Buddy (9), for the week last week. So, in addition to our harrowing, musical trip to the Museum of Science and Industry, we planned a day at the highly-touted municipal swimming complex for all three of the chiddren, plus ourselves.

We all already know, don't we, that a trip to the municipal pool constitutes a drop-dead guarantee for some knee slappin' blog fodder, so I went with my eyes wide open, determined not to miss a single drop of blogaliciousness as I frollicked and cavorted with the family.

And my alertness did not go unrewarded.

I was slapped smack in the face with the first dose of hilarity upon arrival at the clubhouse, where I prepared to shell out the $962 it costs for two kids and two adults to enjoy the adventure at Stingray Bay (Beans swim free). It wasn't the price of admission that cracked me up though (the price of admission only triggered my gag reflex), instead I giggled at the sign slapped up boldly in front of the lady collecting our life savings in exchange for a day of splishy splashy joy, which read ABSOLUTELY NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN FOR POOL CLOSURES DUE TO FECAL MATTER OR INCLEMENT WEATHER. I read it aloud (softly) and laughed again. FECAL MATTER. Hee hee hee. I try to keep up at least a razor thin facade of maturity when there are children around, but really, you have to admit, that's just good old-fashioned funny.

Only it ain't that funny, my friend.

After we were all paid up (thank goodness they take credit cards, we'll be paying down that visit through February of '08) we marched single file through the locker rooms and out onto the deck under radiant sunshine. I procured a shady locale for our towels, shoes, assorted swim gear and sunscreen as the rest of the crew shucked off laundry and barreled into the zero-depth shore of the pool. After primly arranging all of our things and daintily slinking out of my swimsuit cover-up, I plucked up my courage and followed the rest of the gang, who were already up to their necks and splashing for all they were worth. As I splunked my way further and further into the blue depths, I looked to my left and my right and realized I was going to have to make a decision. Was I going to demure from serious water play and stand knee-deep in the kiddie area watching the action like every other mother there, or was I going to be the Mom I like to fancy myself - the one who throws vanity and dignity to the wind and gets wet all the way up to and perhaps over her own head in the name of fun? I chose the latter, mostly because my crew really wouldn't settle for less and if I didn't go in willingly, mostly likely I'd be going in over Al's shoulder with three small people cheering loudly in unison.

So I went in and I went in with wild abandon. Plunged the head under repeatedly, played a little pick-up game of hide-and-seek and splash tag with a group of 8 or 10 other kids plus our three, and generally soaked up gallons and gallons of fresh, 82 degree pool-filler like I thought I might not see water again for another decade.

And then the trill of a lifeguard's whistle.

Not the toot-toot, Hey, you, quit dunking your brother or toot-toot, WALK! or the toot-toot Ma'am your swimsuit top has to COVER those. No no, this was that unmistakeable long, harsh TWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE that unmistakeably indicates big trouble for all concerned. Noting that the sky had grown a bit dark and overcast, we assumed lightening had been spotted in the vicinity and beat a hasty retreat to our umbrella, where we gathered our picnic supplies and walked a short distance to the covered shelter where we ate our ham sandwiches, grapes, chips and apple bars and drank our lemonade while speculating on how long it'd take for the storm to pass so we could get back to the swimming.

Once finished with their lunches, the two big kids expressed curiosity over some lifeguard activity poolside and were dispatched to investigate. Al and Bean and I continued with our lunches until they returned, announcing reverently, "They said there's poop in the pool. They're going to clean it out. Can we go watch Dad, Can we?" Dad acquiesced. I mean, what kind of father would deny his children this once in a lifetime opportunity? To see real live lifeguards scoop real live fecal matter off the bottom of a pool, and then deposit it in a special red bag and carry it to the lifeguard doody duty room to investigate it further. (I will not tell you about how Al described the procedure to me in full detail. I will, however, tell you that I'll never eat a Baby Ruth bar again.) This! Was! Exciting! er... STUFF! The kids scurried off hastily to spectate, returning regularly to update us on the Mission: Poop Retrieval. Verily they said unto us that there must have been an elephant in the pool because IT WAS A HEE-UGE PILE OF POOP. Bean could not grasp the information fully, "Dere's poo poo inna Poowoo? Why did somemuddy poo poo inna poowoo? Dere not gonna get any enna-ems! (That's m&ms, for those who don't have a potty-trained bribed toddler.)

Once the poop had been successfully rescued, contained and tested (ew.), we saw lifeguards scurrying around all sides of the pool dumping in enough chemicals to purify Lake Michigan, and were then delighted to hear that after a brief 45 minute interlude, we'd be welcome to dive back into the cool rippling waters of the Fecal Lagoon. Al and I were skeptical as to the swimworthiness of the water what with all the elephant dung and chemicals, and began to ponder just how we could avoid such a fate without inciting riot amongst the chiddren, when a bolt of lightening answered our fervent prayers. Inclement weather prevailed, and within minutes we were in the car and on the way home for hot showers and steel-bristle-brush scrubdowns all around.

That FECAL MATTER sign probably won't strike me as particularly funny the next time we go swimming. No, on second thought, maybe it will. Hee hee hee.


  1. It sure does take all the fun out of going to a pool (or waterpark) when you look around at all those kids and really start to think doesn't it? Amen for little backyard pools!

  2. Ewwww! Yuck! I always assume there's loads and loads of number 1 in public pools but I have never given number 2 a thought!

    I am a big fan of the M&M bribe when potty training! It worked great for my two little ones. Potty training was a breeze and I owe it all to the candy coated chocolate goodies!

  3. Wow, there's so much to look forward to. I can't wait (she said sarcastically)

  4. Oh, yes, been there done that a few times this summer. Brilliant post title.

  5. Yes. I love your title too, I mean two.

    That is one of the funniest things I've read in a long, long time.

    Did they find out who it belonged to? Do they prosecute?

  6. oh my!!!!!
    i would NEVER EVER go back there again.
    and bathe w/ bleach when i got home.

  7. Hey, all I can say is that you should be thankful it didn't belong to one of yourn. Bean may have been a little upset if she was the one who wouldn't get her enna-ems.

    At least it wasn't enna-mas.

    Sorry- I had to say it!

  8. Are you kidding me? That's hilarious. The sign and the actual event. And the size of an elephant's? Eww!

    Do you wonder if things like this happen to non-bloggers? If they do, it's such a shame that we all can't read about them and be so entertained!

  9. And that, my friend, is why I have never - no, not ever! - been to a swim park. Just. Can't. Do it.

    It does sound like the activities leading up to the doody incident were much fun. You and Al are COOL PARENTS! (Thought you might like to hear that today.)

  10. Visions of Bill Murray in his haz-mat suit at the bottom of the empty pool at Bushwood Country Club. From a mom who also goes in over her head, doing cannonballs and handstands! :)

  11. Oh. my. gosh. I haven't laughed at a blog like that in AGES. I had tears! Kent had to ask if I was okay, hehehe.

    Public pools (for me) have a huge ICK factor anyway and I've never been able to convince myself to get in one. My favorite part of the entry was Bean's "Dere's poo poo inna Poowoo? Why did somemuddy poo poo inna poowoo? Dere not gonna get any enna-ems!" And I totally would have laughed at that sign myself, had I been there. I'm such a grown-up. :)

  12. So funny and so icky - all at the same time!

  13. I used M&M's too - they are a great bribe. I must say - you lead such an exciting life. New laptop, disney radio and poop in the pool!

  14. I'm so glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read this because it would be all over my computer right now!

    I'm linking to this post!


  15. To funny.... I laughed through the whole tale...The whole family will remember that for sure!!!

  16. Poop in the pool? Unbelievable!!! Definitely blog fodder-worthy! I'm wiping away the tears of laughter.

  17. FECAL LAGOON. I'm DYING over year.
    It's cold and rainy today in my neck of the woods. Summer apparently is over for us...

  18. FECAL LAGOON. I'm DYING over year.
    It's cold and rainy today in my neck of the woods. Summer apparently is over for us...

  19. LOL Thats gross! All the pools I go to insist that babies are in swim diapers to avoid that. But I suppose some toddlers, or even a bit older kids, just can't help it with the warm water and activity. Nasty!