Halfway to 50!

Twenty somethings unite!

The Staple of Summer: The Public Pool June 4, 2012


Do you remember your favorite summer activity as a kid?  It had to be going to the public swimming pool.  If not, you were deprived and missed out on the best life had to offer.  Anyway, I remember waiting for my mom to get off work, in my swimsuit, towel in hand, ready to enjoy summer in the chlorine-filled abyss that is the public pool.

 

Flash forward to now.  I’m 27 and had the opportunity to relive that awesomeness today with a friend,  except… things were a little different from I remember.

 

First, we arrived at the pool and approached the entrance.  I studied the Justin Bieber wanna-be boys with florescent colored sunglasses and daringly low-cut trunks.  I had never been to this particular pool before.  Because we are teachers in the area, we go to great lengths to avoid parents and students.  We like them, however it is quite awkward to catch up with a former parent as you’re rocking a tiny triangle top bikini… So there we were, sitting on our towels and liberally applying sunscreen.  The younger crowd of kids were throwing their towels down, ripping off their cover ups, and dashing into the pool with a carefree attitude.  Damn.  “Don’t these girls know the importance of protecting their skin? Psssh!”  (While secretly wishing I could do that.)

 

Later we decided to try out the lazy river… key word here being lazy.  I grabbed a two person raft and moved toward the water.  My friend says, “Um, don’t you think we should get our own rafts?  People might think we’re together.”  Ha!  If we were in a relationship, she had already taken the role as the butch.  We looked all around for single rafts with no luck.  We agree on the double raft and push it in the water.  A Zach Efron look-alike stopped the raft with his hand and stared at us through his aviators.

 

Zach Efron look-alike: “Uh, you can’t both use this.”

Me: “Why not?

Zach: “Because it’s not meant for two people.”

My friend: “Then why are there two spots to sit?”

Zach: “That side is for babies.”

Me: “That’s dumb.  What mother would lay their baby here and cruise down the lazy river?”

We pulled the raft out past a group of pre-teens laughing nervously.  Yeah, like they knew that’s what it was for (unless one of their friends was a teen mom, then yes, they may have legitimately knew what it was for.)  Moments later another young lifeguard handed us a raft that WAS for two adults and we began our float.  (By the way, what is up with these über young lifeguards?  I don’t seriously think one of these 16-year-old girls could pull my drowning ass from the water.)  In the lazy river, it only took seconds before a group of crazed ADD children began playing bumper boats.  They were ramming and pushing their way through, causing us to hit the wall several times, block up traffic, and end my tranquil summer moment.  Without thinking I snapped… “Chill out guys!”  They all stared in fear and disbelief.  Hey, what can I say?  I can’t turn the teacher in me off.  We continued our gossip-filled float and manged to avoid most of the waterfalls along the way.  Seriously.  Who decided to have waterfalls all over lazy rivers?  Most people are here to float, relax, and keep their hair dry.  If we wanted to get soaked, we’d be in the damn pool!  Once my friend leaned back to avoid a waterfall on her hair and instead it poured onto her chest and stomach.  It looked like something out of a raunchy summer teen movie that would’ve been in slow motion.  Lots of the preteens stopped their banter to watch and I quickly stole the hypothetical butch role back.

 

Later that afternoon we considered trying one of the water slides.  It was a tube slide that literally stops halfway and catapults you 10 feet out into the water.  We looked down at our swimsuits and quickly decided that we’d probably end up all sorts of undressed once we hit the water.  None of these children needed to be a witness to it.  Plus, the kids were coming out of the slide so nice and calm when they splashed into the water.  Pretty sure I’d pull some sort of spastic flailing motion in the air that would cause a viral video.  It would end wonderfully with me exiting the water without my bottoms.  Perfect.  I will not be partaking anytime soon.  Oh to be young again!

 

Finally, we ended the day laying on our towels, talking about work, vacations, and boys.  Next to us a group of teens were actively trying to get thier first romantic relationships started.  They were screaming, giggling, smacking (yes, that’s still how the young ‘ens show affection; however with adult relationships it’s called domestic assault) and draping their arms around each other nervously.  Was I ever like that?  Um yes, probably times ten.  When does one go from slapping cute boys to reapplying sunscreen for fear of early wrinkles?

 

Going to the public pool is always fun, but the experience changes with time.  As a little girl, I was swinging my legs, eating an ice cream cone on a bench.  Then I was chasing boys around and showing off with my sweet cannonball form.  Today, I was slathering sunscreen, avoiding getting my hair wet, and watching the time to be sure I left in time to still get groceries for the week.

 

Have you been to the pool lately?  How was your experience?  Should we embrace our inner child and go for the water slide or sit back and take a spin on the lazy river while monitoring other people’s children?

 

Love Me Some 1995! January 19, 2012


istockphoto.com

I have been home sick for the past 2 days.  I have only taken 1 sick day prior to this in 4 years.  That just goes to show you how crummy I feel.  After 24 hours in the house, sitting on the couch, drinking water like it’s going out of style… I found the DVD’s my family gave me for Christmas this year.  They surprised me by putting all of our home movies onto DVD’s so my brother and I could watch them any time we want to.  Not wanting to put my husband through the torture of my awkward years (ages 10-14) I put them in a cabinet under the TV and didn’t think of them for a few weeks… until now!

In hopes of curbing my boredom, I popped disc one into my computer and snuggled in for a trip down memory lane.  Starting in 1995, I watched Christmas’, Easter’s, backyard birthday parties, summer morning T-Ball, soccer games, and lazy days around the house.  I heard my mom cheering me on as I scored a goal at 10 years old, watched my dad wave a flag when the ball went out of bounds, laughed along with my 5th grade friends as we danced around at my birthday party, and saw how truly joyful every moment of my life that was caught on camera truly was.  It was captivating.  I couldn’t stop watching my little brother play in the dirt during his T-ball game at 5 years old.  Man, the 90’s rocked. 

Despite everything, do you know what really caught my attention?  How present and engaged everyone was at each event.  In the 90’s, nobody talked on a cell phone during a choir concert at school, nobody sat in the corner and texted as their child opened birthday gifts, nobody texted during a friend’s party, and nobody missed their child scoring a goal because they were checking Facebook on their phone.  Everyone was present.  Involved.  Together.

I almost long for those years again.  The simplicity of it all.  My parents threw a Halloween party for my friends and I in 5th grade.  Do you know where it was held?  No, not at the Hilton.  I had no celebrity performer and no trapeze performance.  It was in our garage!  Black and orange streamers covered the ceiling, plastic tablecloths with witches covered borrowed picnic tables.  My mom had several party games planned involving toothpicks, lifesavers, toilet paper rolls, and plastic spoons.  My little brother roamed around with us wanting to be a part of the fun and you know what?  We let him!  He danced to the sweet sounds of “The Macerena” with us and even got wrapped up by my friend for the mummy contest!  There was no rivalry, harsh language, slutty costumes, or fighting.  It was just pure joy.

When mom brought my brother and I to the first day of school (he was in 1st grade and I was in 6th) she caught the 90’s in their full glory.  Girls ran around in long jean shorts (OK, maybe a little too long for my taste, but no buttcheeks were hanging out at our elementary school!)  Our hair was done in a simple pony tail with a scrunchy.  We were kids.  Just kids.  Making faces at the camera, smiling from ear to ear, putting our arms around each other with excitement over being the oldest at school this year!  Our only complaint caught on camera? “One recess this year mom, just ONE!”  Nobody complained about a dead cell phone battery, nobody bragged that their cell phone was faster or better than yours, and the girls weren’t concerned about their weight.  We just wanted to have fun!

The 90’s were awesome, I just didn’t realize it until today.  Following hours, literally hours of home video footage from 1995 on (thanks mom and dad!) I can finally see just how good we had it.  I was blissfully unaware of everything around me that made the 90’s so nifty.  My family, my friends, The Macerena, TGIF, and simplicity.  Now, I can only hope to give my own children half of the childhood that my parents gave me in the 90’s.  Hopefully my future children will look back someday and say, “Wow, the 2020’s were the best!”

What year would you like to go back to?  Why do you want to go back?

 

When did I become that mean neighbor lady? June 29, 2011


Freedigitalphotos.net

Every neighborhood has one.  That grouchy lady who keeps to herself and scares the children on the block.  Nobody trick or treats at her house because she doesn’t leave her porch light on.  Groups of kids just walk on by her house on Halloween and swap stories about the awful things they’ve seen her do.  At Christmas time her house is the only one that’s not lit up with beautiful twinkling lights.  It looks as cold as the snow covering her yard.  Come summertime, she had better not catch you shooting off any fireworks or she’ll be calling the cops to end your fun.  Every block in America has one of these old bags…. who would have ever thought that at 26, it’d be me?

Ok, Ok, so kids do trick or treat at my house (mostly because I’m a teacher at the school they all attend) and we do put up Christmas lights.  I would never call the cops on kids shooting off fireworks.  But, I did become that bitchy old lady last week when a group of teenagers irritated the crap out of me… and someone had to put an end to it.

My hubbie and I had been eating dinner.  We heard kids yelling and being obnoxious out front but didn’t pay much attention to it.  We noticed out our window that about 5 kids were riding in a convertible down the street while standing up.  The driver would start and stop quickly hoping to make the passengers fall over (I’m sure the teens’ parents would have loved to see their children in what could have been a scene from a public service announcement about new drivers).  An hour later the crowd of about 12 continued to yell and be obnoxious out in the street in front of my house.  You have to understand where the frustration came from.  I was working on a paper that was due that week to complete my graduate program.  40 pages on “Motivation,” ironically enough, and I couldn’t seem to ever find the motivation to do it.  I had finally sat down (away from the TV, because apparently, I don’t do well with that) and those damn kids were distracting me. 

I watched them like a creepy old lady for about 15 minutes from my bedroom window.  2 boys were running around the group with their cell phones held up, trying to take pictures of the one female with them (obviously the object of their affection).  She had her forearms crossed over her chest, gripping her shoulders.  “We got a picture of you!” one boy yelled.  I had had enough.  Hours of this crap happening in my quiet, suburban neighborhood as I desperately tried to finish off my bitch of a paper.

I walked outside and fluffed the rug on the porch, pretending to have a purpose for being out front.  The kids, unphased, continued to fight to photograph the girl, while she chased them and kicked them.  A few got back into what I later found out was the girl’s car and would drive at the group until they all jumped out of the way or they jumped on top of the car (again, their parents would be happy to know that the money they spend on her cute blue convertible was so well appreciated).  I walked over to the driveway, planted my feet, crossed my arms, and gave the almighty teacher death stare that I have perfected over the past 3 years.  I frantically searched my brain for something to yell that would get them away from my house, but wouldn’t sound bitchy.  After all, I am half way to 50, not 50.  Nothing came to mind.  I just stared and seethed while I watched their shenanigans go on. 

Then, about 30 seconds into the stare, it happened.  One by one, the boys noticed me watching.  Could it have been my heavy breathing?  No, it was probably my red face.  Then again, it could have been the smoke coming out of my ears…. Whatever it was, it worked.  The first boy jabbed the boy to his right.  That boy poked the kid in front of him.  And suddenly.  Like magic.  They all stared right back at me.  It was a showdown.  One boy said, “Hey guys, let’s go inside or something.”  Yah, they all agreed, let’s go inside.  They scattered like a police bust at a college party.  I just stood there and watched them run into the house in fear.  No movement.  Just stood there.  Once every one of those little buggers had gone inside, I ran to the backyard to celebrate my victory with hubbie who was mowing the lawn.  I walked – no skipped, to him and couldn’t stop giggling.  “Oh my gosh!  You’ll never guess what just happened!  I just scared about a dozen teenagers away from our house without saying a word!”  Not as pleased with my victory, he continued mowing.  I ran into the house to call friends and share my story of becoming the neighborhood hag.  At least they shared my feelings of triumph! 

It was during one of those phone calls when my friend said it best, “You’re like Mabel!  I’m going to call you Mabel!”  So Mabel it is.  I’m that person on the street who’s not to be messed with.   Yes, I lost a little sleep that night, worried we’d be egged or TP’d.  But damn, it feels good to be a gangster.

 

Wanted: Childless Couple Friends May 22, 2011


I feel like a liar.  I feel deceitful.  I had a birthday last week that makes my blog title no longer true.  However, I don’ t think calling my blog, “Halfway to 50… and then some,” sounds as catchy.  On Tuesday I entered Club 26 (ooo now that has a ring to it!)  I rang it in with my hubbie, a bottle of wine, a vodka shot, and a few unexpected surprises…. let me explain.

The weekend before my birthday the hubbie and I went to dinner downtown.  You know, one of those places with dim lights, long narrow menus, and tiny tables.  The waiter came over and poured my husband a small glass of wine.  I raised an eyebrow at the smidge of wine standing in his glass and anxiously waited for him to fill up my glass when I noticed something great happen.  My husband picked up his wine glass, swirled it around, smelled it, and took a sip.  He nodded to the waiter who proceeded to pour him a full glass and then fill up mine as well.  Oooo classy!  I smirked at my husband who so gracefully handled a situation that made me giggle.  Turns out his fancy job puts him in situations like this all the time so he knew exactly how to handle it.  That’s my oh so grown up man!  We wrapped up dinner and walked, well my husband walked and I stumbled, back to the car.  We hit 2 Redbox machines up on the way home (both were out of order) so we gave up. 

Tuesday night we went out to dinner again with another couple because, well, I’m not about to cook on my birthday.  We ordered a round of shots, which my girlfriend declined.  The waitress came back with a regular glass, not a shot glass, full of vodka for each of us.  “Sorry,” she said with a shrug, “we don’t have shot glasses.”  Gulp by gulp I took about the equivalent of 3 shots and continued with my dinner.  Hey, like 50 Cent says, party like it’s your birthday!  That’s when my girlfriend dropped the news on me.  “We’re expecting,” she said.  Surprisingly my eyes began to well up with tears.  I’m not a super emotional girl so this was big.  I pushed my husband out of the booth, forced her husband out as well, and hugged her.  On the way home I tried to picture her with a baby.  “Well, another one bites the dust,” I said to hubbie.  “One more couple we can’t call to meet at the bar on a Saturday night.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for them!  I love kids (I am a teacher after all; it’s not for the money) and I hope to have my own someday, but it’s getting tough to maintain couple friends without kids.  We’re holding tight to the ones we’ve got.  When the topic of babies comes up with them, I often try to make it sound like we’re discussing purchasing a snake. 

Childless couple friend:  When are you two thinking about having kids?

Me: Psh… (gulping a drink) Not for a while.

Childless couple friend: Really?

Me: Yes (taking another drink) I still have so many things I want to do.

Childless couple friend: Like what?

Me: Oh you know, travel, finish school… drink in a bar without paying $50 for a sitter.

Childless couple friend: Yeah… me too.

Haha!  Someday I’m going to laugh at my obnoxious self-centered thinking.  But until then, I’m going to sleep in, write papers until the wee hours of the night, change my plans at the last minute, and plan elaborate vacations.  Please don’t judge me.  Recognize that I just celebrated another birthday, receive news about friends being pregnant almost daily (thanks Facebook), and simply put, am just not ready.  Here’s to all the childless couples out there who are sitting around reading blogs on a Sunday night because there’s nothing else to do!