The Pool You Know.

Oh look, says everyone, another post about taking your kids to the pool. Never been done.

Lies. But, seriously, I can’t not write this. I have to and you’re going to bear with me. Because you love me and because you hate the pool too.


I took the two littles to the pool today because it’s pre-Independence Day and because I’ve been a royal bitch. I’ve been complaining about doing laundry as I angrily shove load after load into the dryer as if the sheets are bags of wet, angry cats.

I’ve been sweeping the floor and mumbling about how I wish floors were still dirt and then lamenting the fact that dirt floors would still be cleaner than my kitchen laminate and there are the daily, 4:30 p.m. guttural low shouts of, “GET OUTSIDE NOWWWWWWWWWW!” where I channel a combination of a wookie and Danny Torrance’s Redrum finger.

I’ve not been fun. The kids are starting to look at me in “that” way. The way that says, “I hope mom enjoys living under the town bridge in her 80s.” I had to do some summer reconciliation and how and quick like.

So, the pool it was because I had 5 dollars, half a sandwich and two mostly recently washed towels. I was ready.

But, I was not ready for the assault or the asphalt or the absolutely knock-down, drag-out gladiator stylings of the public pool. Holy Shit, y’all. I’m glad I lived in Georgia for several years. Hold my earrings because it just got serious. Bless our hearts.

I walked in. It was pandemonium, but, not the fun kind. Not the early 90s MTV Spring Break kind. It was the other kind. The, I’m lost at Disneyland because my invisible dog on a leash toy led me away from my family kind and p.s. I dropped my ice cream. Maybe this happened to me. Ask my inner child later.

It was a lot of splashing and bad choices and random/sudden nudity and it was much, much too late for me because they were awake when we pulled into the parking lot. Oh Shit.

Three hours later, I was almost chlorine blind and tired and I think, limping, and I suggested we go to the Snack Shack because they have fries and, bonus, it is located on the OUTSIDE of the pool gates. I allowed their hunger to sucker them away from the pool. You dangle a popsicle and the kids will follow. Like a donkey’s Field of Dreams.

They were seated at the bench. I got everyone settled. I took their orders. I grabbed my wallet. I HAVE THE POPSICLES and the heavens shined down upon me and it was good. 10 seconds later, they were covered in popsicle and stomping back toward the pool. Oh Shit.

My only options were being beat to death by several child-sized Crocs or, I could return to the pool.

You can guess what happened next.

That’s right, I played the vomit card.

“Mommy is going to throw up. We have to leave right now!”

You know what will get you out of going back to the 8th ring of watery hell? Saying you’re going to puke in front of a lot of kids and, if you station yourself next to the kids who look really cool, your older kids will even help pack up your stuff so you can leave faster.

I hope that those few hours at the pool have at least upgraded my retirement community from bridge dweller to the level of unfinished basement. If not, there’s always next week and the week after and the week after and come pool with us, BPM, forever and ever and ever and…

Oh Shit.


  1. OOOhhhh. I will totally file the Vomit Card for later. Thanks.

    • Bethany says:

      You’re welcome. It works 100% of the time, but, you can’t overuse it. It’s for the BIG emergency situations only…like the public pool.

  2. You made my day. Thank you. Here I am, feeling guilty for not (ever) taking my kids to the (very same) town pool. And now you’ve given me more reasons not to than I have fingers. Yahoo! Even if it is 90+ degrees and we’re melting. I made them spend their own money on Kona Ices (the ones who wanted them badly enough).

    Gotta go shove more cats into my dryer. It’s been a hell of a week.

    • Bethany says:

      Don’t feel guilty! If you had seen me with ALL of my children crying in the midst of the whirling tornado of other children, you would feel 100% justified in staying home with your dryer full of bagged cats.

  3. beth laf says:

    does it count if you discourage the use of the public pool simply by saying ,

    lets watch the pool for an hour and count how many people get out of the pool to pee….

    the last place we lived had a pool… and no bathroom near it .. ugh…
    that meant , the only time tots were allowed was Monday afternoon, when they “Shocked” , and cleaned the pool Monday morning

    • Bethany says:

      I don’t want to even talk about how uncomfortably warm the toddler pool was. Too late, I just made you shudder, didn’t I? I’m sorry.

  4. I haven’t faked a puking emergency in FOREVER. When I used to do it it was usually because I needed to poop and I didn’t like the bathroom situation. I never considered being able to use it on the kids. Those suckers would totally believe it.

    • Bethany says:

      There is something about a grown-up vomiting that is so uniquely embarrassing to them. It’s the Holy Grail of good “I have to get out of here!” excuses.

  5. Oh, so that’s where I’m going to be sent when I am 80…to live under a bridge. Then I really will have the dirt floor that you described. Perhaps I’ll tell my kids that they don’t have to do any chores tomorrow 🙂

    • Bethany says:

      Maybe we can get a bridge duplex and we can take turns sweeping each other’s floors if the dementia doesn’t make it impossible for us to remember where the broom is.

  6. This is hilarious AND timely. Just this morning there was a commercial on for a local hospital (side note: the fact that hospitals ADVERTISE makes me uncomfortable) where a woman was saying “When we learned we were having triplets…and then “We have 6 kids so every outing is a team effort” and all this was played over video of this family at the public pool and I was like, yeah. Right.

    • Bethany says:

      Any commercial that shows anyone having a good time at a public pool is a lie. And, if you have 6 kids, everyone knows you never go out in public.

  7. This is why I keep coming back. I learn so much.


    • Bethany says:

      It took a long time for me to perfect my EEPs (Emergency Evacuation Plans). It’s the least I can do to share this knowledge with the pool weary.

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