August Blues

As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?

We’ve all heard it before.

“I’m not ready for this summer to be over!”

“Ugh, I don’t want to back to school yet.”

I just don’t agree with them.

As a kid, my family wasn’t big into vacations. We’d go on a nice weekend trip to see family, but never anything like a trip to Disneyland or a week-long cruise. Don’t worry, Mom and Dad; I’m not mad about that. Looking back, that trip to Disneyland probably would’ve been a nightmare compared to those trips I loved to take to Connecticut to see my aunt and uncle. Give me the Mark Twain house over two-hour-long lines for everything any day. I’m being completely serious here.  Continue reading


Second Opinion

What are some (or one) of the things about which you usually don’t trust your own judgment, and need someone’s else’s confirmation?

I could easily (and sadly) answer this question in one word: everything. I second-guess myself with almost everything I do. When it comes to learning how to do things, I’m one of those people who needs hands-on experience first before letting me go off on my own. Though I like to think I’m an independent individual, without friends and family I’d be totally screwed.

I know I just talked about my job in the last post, but it’s still relevant, so bear with me. Starting out, I always thought that teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA was surprisingly easy, though I had only been teaching alongside more experienced instructors. That all changed the day I taught my first solo lesson, though. It was one of the trickier classes — pikes. These kids are mostly three-year-olds who will barely speak to you, let alone swim.  Continue reading

Not Lemonade

When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

So I am incredibly exhausted after a long day of working in the pool and then swimming around in a lake. To go along with the theme of my day and this late daily prompt, I’ll tell you guys a true work story (I am much to tired too make something up).

When I was first starting out as a swim instructor, handling six to eight children in a class was truly daunting. It only took one screamer or crier to make my day that much more difficult, and I remember my very first class on my own had three screamers. Fun fun fun.

One day, I was teaching an eels class, which is essentially three- to five-year-olds in the big pool who can swim by themselves with a barbell. None of them were happy to be there, which thrilled me, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. There were no screamers, just terrified little children reaching their tiny fingers toward Mommy or Daddy. It made me feel like the evil villain taking them away from their parents, so I decided to be nice and give them all life jackets. Today was going to be all about learning safety. Easy stuff.  Continue reading

Sounds Right

This is clearly subjective, but some words really sound like the thing they describe (personal favorites: puffin; bulbous; fidgeting). Do you have an example of such a word (or, alternatively, of a word that sounds like the exact opposite of what it refers to)? What do you think creates this effect?

I started this post thinking I would be able to look up a real, scientific/psychological reason why we feel like some words sound how they mean, but it turns out there are none. All you get when you try to explain this odd phenomenon to Google is onomatopoeia, which is not an odd phenomenon at all.

So without any scientific explanation at all, I’ll put out there that the word “squelch” sounds exactly like the thing it is describing. It’s possible I’ve spent way too much of my life swimming and around water, so I hear the squelches of feet in soaked shoes a lot. Squelch. The sound is like squeaks to my ears; a shiver runs down my spine and for a moment, I’m incredibly uncomfortable.

It’s no wonder I only get in the pool to teach kids at my job now.

On Bees and Efs

Do you — or did you ever — have a Best Friend? Do you believe in the idea of one person whose friendship matters the most?

9:00. Time to teach. I checked the clock one last time to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me, sighed, and headed to the pool deck. Everything was unusually warm that day, but that was just overcompensation for the past week. It was so cold, some kids simply gave up and got out just to wrap themselves in their towels. I had no such luxury.

Warm water meant chatty kids. Two four-year-old girls held hands sitting on the deck, waiting to get in. From their constant giggling I could tell they were good friends, probably from school. Now, this can be a good or bad thing. I had a kid once who wouldn’t let go of his friend’s hand, which is never helpful when you’re trying to teach someone how to not drown. Then again, there was also that little girl who helped convince her friend that it was alright; the water wasn’t that bad. I only heard that friend cry for twenty minutes that day. The improvement was tremendous.  Continue reading