Back in April, I bought a summer pass to my local rec center in order to try to get swimming worked into our family's summer activities, and more specifically it is a low impact exercise for me to strengthen my core. The pass was $150 for five months, May through September. I thought I'd give an update for how it all worked out.
We did, indeed, go swimming more than we ever have in the past. This outcome was not difficult to achieve since one swimming outing per summer was a high water mark. However, I think the summer pass is a little deceptive.
The rec center has two pools, an indoor pool and an outdoor pool. The outdoor pool is the expected domain of children. The indoor pool is for rec center swimming lessons, lap swimming, and water aerobics. It isn't that there isn't open areas in the indoor pool to swim and play. It's that children get hard looks if they are present in an unstructured way. How to say this? The body language of the older people seems to indicate that perhaps a truce has been violated. So the outdoor pool it is.
The outdoor pool suits the swimming desires of the children nicely, except it is only open from Memorial Day until the day before county's public school starts. That's the first week of August. All this means that in reality the five month swimming pass only equals two and a half months of swimming in the outdoor pool. (Why is the outdoor pool season so short when even today, October 6, the high is 88 degrees? I do not know.)
My initial goal was to get to the rec center once a week all summer. So how'd it go?
We did not go to the rec center at all in May. We were behind in school and I was unwilling to take time away and risk extending school into June.
June arrived and I was determined. We went once a week the first three weeks in June. During the last week in June, the four older kids spent the week with my parents, but I was not going to skip my swimming trip. I dutifully brought Ella to childcare to stay by herself and went to the pool. I was pulled out of the pool within ten minutes because Ella never stopped screaming.
The first week in July was very busy with travelling so we skipped the swim trip. The next week, the kids had swimming lessons every morning, but I managed to squeeze in an exhausted trip one afternoon because I didn't want to miss two weeks in a row. The next week, the children had VBS. I had learned my lesson about attempting solo trips without anyone to keep Ella company in the childcare room so I did not go. After VBS, we then were afflicted with a GI virus that took two entire weeks to slowly work its way through the family. No one was seriously ill, but you didn't want those children in a public pool either. July did not go as anticipated.
Now it was August and I was set to resume the weekly swim trips. I put off the trip to the end of the week because schools were starting mid-week and I thought the pool would be less crowded afterwards. Well, it was less crowded. It was empty because it was closed. I can't fault the rec center because they had had signs up all summer stating the close date. I had just never paid full attention to those signs until the day I walked into the building with five children expecting to swim in a closed pool. It didn't occur to me the pool would close in August. It was this day I discovered children are not terribly welcome in the indoor pool.
After this, I pretty much gave up on going to the rec center. I know that my pass was technically good through the end of September, but the thought of trying to convince children to go with me to placate Ella while I went swimming and they...dribbled basketballs? It didn't seem worth the effort. And then school started and we were already behind. Heh.
In totality, we went swimming six times over the summer. Was that worth paying $150 for a pass? Honestly, I don't know. Is $25 a swim too much to pay for three hours of swimming for six people? Probably. Is it totally out of line? Maybe not. I can say truthfully, I would not have gone at all if I didn't have the pass, even though paying at the door would have wound up costing half as much.
I am not sure what I will do next summer. Given the extremely short outdoor pool season, I think you have to plan to go more than once a week so when the inevitable off-weeks happen, you will have gotten your money's worth in the workable times. I am not sure that next summer will be amenable to planning multiple swimming trips a week. I only completed about half the work I intended in The Purge this past summer. If past experience is any indication, I will start next summer with the rest of the house still unfinished and in need of attention. I can hope to get some bigger house projects done during the school year, but I know better than to plan on it.
I should be able to go solo next year too, but it is hard to make the schedule work on a regular basis for solo trips since just getting there and coming back home eats up most of an hour.
I am glad I spent time in the pool this summer and found my buoyancy again. I think it was good for all of us to have goals for leaving the house instead of spending every day neck-deep in housekeeping. I also kinda wish I never left the house the entire summer so I could be finished with more of the house. I have learned that in this season of life, balance means inching forward almost imperceptibly while completing almost nothing. I'll have to reassess in the spring.