You know who the pool queens are. In fact you may be one of them. These are the “ladies” who wear their freshly-washed terry cloth cover ups, carrying their soft-shell cooler packed with egg salad, drinks and chips, in neat Tupperware containers. Their towels are freshly washed, neatly rolled under their arms, and dangling from their arms are more tote bags filled with pails, goggles, sun tan lotion and water balls. They camp out at the pool all day. They stay there all day.
I watch in awe. How do they have time for that? I wonder, “Don’t they need to get home to get ‘some stuff done?'” I secretly imagined that they must have an army of servants, ready and working for them back home. They don’t want anyone to know; gossip might spread if we all find out they have servants.
My pool experience turns out to be quite the opposite. When I do manage to get us packed and ready for the pool, I’ve already invested about two hours, average, to get the meals packed, (my kids won’t touch egg salad) the snacks loaded in the bag, and place myself into my own bathing suit. I’m thinking of every possible circumstance we could possibly run into, and carrying the antidote in my bag. During this time the boys find the goggles, fill water bottles, slather sunscreen, and manage to get themselves tangled up in some kind of squabble that slows us down. The topic? Someone lost their googles, so they’re trying to take someone else’s, or they can’t find the squirt gun. By the time we’re ready, the kids are ready to eat again, so I need to tack on another half an hour to our prep time to give them a snack.
And… I haven’t even started dinner yet.
The pool is an easy walk and once I get there, I instantly envy the Pool Queens, looking relaxed, who arrived first and have all the good lounge chairs in the best spots. Of course, my timing is off, and we arrive at exactly the moment the whistle is blown for break time. Once the whistle blows again, I’m pulled into the pool so kids can jump into my arms; I quickly look like a drowned rat. Of course, even before the first hour is up, one of the boys is ready to leave. I stall our exit, so that everyone is ready to go at once. So, figuring that stall, we’re average about 1.5 hours at the pool. Horrible odds, when you factor in my two hour prep time.
Once we’re home, there is the hanging of the towels ritual, the rinsing the chlorine out of the bathing suit ritual… and OMG my kitchen is a mess! And I haven’t even started dinner.
How in the world do the Pool Queens manage to spend the entire day at the pool? They’re still there, at the pool, relaxing. Who’s cooking dinner for them, I wonder? In fact, they look as if they’re having a Frankie Valley, Annette Funicello kind of summer day I’d love to have. I bet there’s even a root beer float waiting for the kids as soon as they get home.
There is a primal part of my being that needs to understand how things work. I’ve been studying the Pool Queens, trying to copy them, to no avail. The basic difference between me and the Pool Queens is this: When I finally arrive at the pool, I look exactly like someone who spent the last two hours packing to get ready for the pool. When I Ieave the pool, I look exactly like someone who has been used as a human bungee cord in the pool. Yet, the Pool Queens, always look fantastic; untouched by the events going on around them. That’s why I call them Queens. If you’re a Pool Queen, please let me know how you pull this off; give me lessons. I’d love to learn more.