Things I’ve Learned While Working on My Tan

This is my last Friday of summer so I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts that I’ve formed over the past two months, particularly in regards to the beach and the pool. I’ve spent a lot of time with Madison at both locations, so it’s not like there was constant stimulating conversation going on. Plenty of time for my mind to wander. In no particular order, and with pictures that have no real tie to any of the ideas:

1 6 5 11 10 9 71. I love going to beaches with a fair amount of people who are not in shape. Since I am not in shape and one look at me would prevent someone from asking that immortal question Do you even lift?, I don’t even know where the “in shape” beach would be. I gotta be honest: some times it’s just nice not to be the roundest, palest guy in the room. It doesn’t happen often.

2. I think Madison likes to pee in water. Madison urinates on dry land roughly once every 3 hours. Whenever we are near the ocean or the pool, that rate increases to an impossible 1 shi-shi per 40 minutes. The best (worst) part about it is that she has absolutely no shame or subtlety. “I gotta go number 1, dad,” she’ll say loud enough so that anyone in a 30-foot radius can hear her. Then she goes all Mannequin and goes stiff – but not before tilting her head down to look at her crotch. What is she looking for? I don’t know. The best is at the beach. She goes in to the water waist-deep, does the stiffening thing, then shivers and announces that she’s finished. All I know is it’s a real thing.

3. I am a fan of modern women’s bikini design. I feel as if this is all I am allowed to say on the topic.

4. I get wiped out at the pool. Mad and I can spend 90 minutes at the pool and it feels like no time at all. Granted, I spend the entire time there lifting and raising her up, but it never feels like I exert all that much energy. But when I get home, about 40 minutes will pass and then I feel exhausted. My body gets all weary and my eye lids get super-heavy. But it’s a weird worn out I’m not used to. When I have a long day at Damien, my body is okay, but my mind is clam chowder. I can’t process semi-complex thoughts. Going to the pool with Goobi makes me tired, then angry that I’m tired because I feel like I shouldn’t be. I didn’t sweat!

5. Lynnette and I are decent parents. I have seen some horrible behavior by kids at the pool and beach. I have seen the parents of these children make threats that they have no intention of carrying out. That’s unfathomable to me – not because I’m an awesome parent – but because of the man who raised me. My dad always meant what he said. Today when Madison complained about having to put her toys away after I spent two hours cleaning the kitchen and living room, I scolded her. When she tried to truncate the conversation by shouting “I know, dad!” and attempting to walk away, I snapped. I didn’t let it go until there were tears and I was certain she understood what I was upset about. The toys got put away. Twenty minutes later we were fine. It’s hard. I’m a jokester. But I refuse to let Madison be a brat.

6. I love looking at my watch tan. But it makes me really sad to know that it’ll disappear about two weeks after I go back to work and wear shirts and ties under florescent lights five days-a-week. My watch tan line is super-white, but the skin under my wedding ring is ultra-white. It’s like a totally new, completely undiscovered shade of white. Crayola is going to spend years trying to replicated it for their 369-Crayon set. 

7. I never feel so old as when I overhear kids playing made-up games. It’s not that I can’t appreciate them, because I do. It’s just that the conversations between pre-teens in the ocean or the pool as the are making up games on the fly is patently ridiculous. They all want to be good guys but behave like bad guys. When the girl tags the guy, it’s like he just incinerates on the spot (despite being covered by water). If the guy tags the girl, well then obviously he likes her. I miss when my life was so simple I had to completely make stuff up to complicate it.

8. Having a waterproof camera is key. I know I take a lot of pictures of a lot of mundane things, but that’s because there aren’t a whole bunch of pictures of my childhood. Neither of my parents were picture takers so there aren’t many pictures of my brothers, either. Similarly, I don’t have a lot of pictures from the best periods of my life: the baseball days, high school, and college. Digital photography just wasn’t there yet. Believe me, sometimes when I’m snapping away with my camera or the big camera or my phone or whatever, I wonder if I’m missing the moment by trying to artificially preserve it. But a moment is just that – fleeting. I’ll take my chances with the camera.

9. Madison and I smell like chlorine all the time. Lynnette constantly asks me if Madison and I have bathed after the pool. The answer is always (okay, nearly always) yes, but we still smell like pool. I have never spent so much time in the water in my life. When my friends were forgetting to teach me how to duck dive, I was diving into second base. This is a new thing. But since we’re already paying for MTA membership, what the hell, we may as well max it out.

10. Cloudy skies piss me off more now than at any other point in my life. I guess back in my teen years, rain might mean a cancelled practice. In college, rain might mean a semi-valid excuse not to go to class and play more Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Prior to Madison’s discovery that she loves the pool so much, it generally meant that our plans would be altered to include Pearlridge. Now though? I’m significantly bummed if I wake up and the sky is an ominous shade of gray. It means no playgrounds, no pool, no beach, and it’s probably going to be muggy. You know I sleep with a fan four feet away from me, blowing at me on the highest setting? The muggy/kind of rainy combination is the worst. It practically guarantees a run to Pearlridge or Walmart.

11. I can’t imagine life without a summer break. I don’t make a lot of money. I have to attempt to read handwriting that the people who created Sanskrit said is fugly. I say the same things over and over every year. Traffic sucks. And yet June and July remain generally unblemished by adulthood and my professional life. I think I have to try to keep it that way.

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