I bought our family pool pass today, effectively committing all of our summer free time to the considerably chlorinated concrete concavity of clamorous congregation. (Please forgive me for that. Alliteration comforts me.) While this delights my children, it leaves me apprehensive. On the scale of rural activities that most resemble ancient and forbidden methods of  introvert torture, I would place going to the pool somewhere between quarter auctions and the summer reading program at the library.

Allow me to explain:

1. Noise. Quiet is my default. As is my environment, so goes my thoughts, meaning: if the setting is chaotic, so are my brain waves. I can’t think while surrounded by all the boisterous  pandemonium characteristic of the pool.

2. Toes. My toes are naked and un-manicured. Also, they are kind of hairy (if I am being honest). I like to keep those suckers hidden so I am not required to maintain them. Unfortunately, closed toed shoes are not conducive to the pool.

3. Bodies. People come in all sorts of beautiful shapes and sizes, each created by God. If you got it, flaunt it. If you don’t got it, flaunt it anyway. Personally, I like to park mine in a lounge chair and attempt to read a book. My issue is not with appearance. It’s the number of those beautiful bodies occupying one small area. I need space the pool doesn’t afford.

Also, the lounge chair to body ratio is woefully inadequate. Often I am left sitting on the concrete.

4. Concrete. Scorching concrete. Everywhere. EVERYWHERE… Burning everything that touches it.

5. Logistics. Given that my skinny pale ginger is pretty easy to locate,  all my children should ideally stay next to him at all times. Problem solved. They would be so easy to find. But, that is no fun, they say. I relent and succumb to the constant neck craning and stretching to verify the status of their well-being and accommodate their wanderings.

6. Cancer. My people are pale.  Looking out a window will make them turn pink. Each break, we apply sunscreen like a NASCAR pit crew, seeing how fast we can finish all three while still being precise and making sure all exposed skin is lathered in SPF 50 before the whistle blows. Lord forbid they miss one second of swim time for the sake of cancer prevention.

Yet, I can never seem to adequately apply sunscreen to myself. Inevitably, I burn in the most awkward ways . I forget one of my feet or my armpits or the back of a leg, or trust the five-year old to adequately spray the SPF on my back.

7. Paraphernalia: Suits. Cover-ups. Sunglasses. Flip-flops. Snack money. Water bottles. Towels. Sunscreens. Books. Floaties. Hair ties. Goggles. A bag to put it all in. Why does it take so much to go to the pool? Then there are the after pool activities (dance, library, volunteering, play dates) requiring their own special and separate impedimenta.

I’ll stop there. You get the idea. I am not a fan of the pool.

Yet, I forked over a small fortune to buy a season pass for our family.

I know.

Here is the thing: we are weirdos who homeschool year round. We spend all day together, every day, all year long. The kids need space. They need to burn energy. They need to see their old friends and make some new ones. They need to laugh and play with people who get them. They need good summer memories.

Okay. And I need something to motivate them to finish school each day while everyone else is enjoying summer vacation.

How do you spend your summer days? Do you love the pool? Do you hate it? Did I leave something off my list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!