Swim choices and gear

I may want a small house, but I would like this in my backyard, please k thx.

I may want a small house, but I would like this in my backyard, please k thx.

So I used up my freebie pass to the gym and tried out the city pool and have been busily mulling over my options. What to do?

The Gym

The gym makes you sign a contract (so lame) but I could buy someone out on Craigslist so I wasn’t roped into something long term. The cost would be about $47 per month (via Craigslist, $60 signing up new). The pros in its favor are: salt water system (easier on my hair & skin), super nice locker rooms and extra amenities like a women’s only hot tub and sauna, massage, and the option to go to a yoga class if I ever wanted. I especially liked their hours: open 24 hours a day. For serious, a before-bed swim is pretty much the most awesome thing ever.

The cons are: shorter than normal lap pool making for weird workout adjustments, the cost was a bit painful, and the contract / commitment. I had high hopes for a summer only pool membership of the nature they offered last year (it was a sweet deal), but they decided they were tired of swim only folks sneaking out of the locker room to do other stuff, so they jacked the price up. Sadface.

The City Pool

The city pool itself is a much better set up for lap swimmers. Pros in its favor: A full 25 yard pool, big time clocks, more lanes, and lots of the stuff swimmers need on hand and free for use: pull buoys, kick boards, even flippers. The pool was clear and clean, and even though there were a lot of people there, the lanes were open and clearly marked “slow, medium, fast.”

Cons: Kind of strange hours, strong chlorine (thus the clean looking pool), and the locker room was really barebones, small, and honestly a little yucky. No extra awesome stuff, plus the price was about the same as a gym membership at $45/month. No contract though, just a month to month thing you can cancel any time.

The College Pool

I was pretty encouraged when I popped into the Hart Building on the BYU-I campus. I had no idea they had punch passes for community members, and the price is really great. $100 for a 40-visit punch pass. The pool is a full 25 yards, and the locker rooms were okay – not the gym’s level of sweetness, but a smidge better than the city pool. A big, fat con however, is that their only lap swim hours are from 5am to 7am. Ouch. And it’s still an hour round trip for me, so yeesh. As much as I’d love to say I’d rise to the occasion, I just don’t know if I can keep that kind of schedule long term. The facilities are a little on the old side, though improvements seemed to be going on.

Another option

Today Tracy called me after her physical therapy appointment. She’d talked to her therapist about swimming as a low-impact exercise for her, and while she can’t arrange her body in typical swim strokes without injuring herself, there are exercises she can do in the water that would be good for her. The PT suggested a pool I didn’t know existed at one of the hospitals in town. Tracy went to check it out and they have decent rates (you don’t need a doctor’s note or prescription to use the pool) at $30-something a month, and adding a spouse is only $15-something. No contract or anything, and the pool is pretty underused. It’s not great for kids as there are geriatric patients doing PT in the pool sometimes, but they have a couple of lanes for lap swimming and their hours are, while not 24 hour open awesome, much better than the city pool or college pool. It might be a weird size though, the lady thought it was 21 yards (what?) but, we’re going to try it out tomorrow (today actually, I’m up late again) to see what we think. Fingers crossed the locker rooms are clean and not crumbling, and we might have a winner.

Meanwhile back at the ranch

Meanwhile, I’ve used some of my Amazon affiliate payments to purchase some gear and I thought I’d share in case my endless droning about where to swim hasn’t put you to sleep and instead has completely motivated you to take advantage of that awesome pool you’ve got only 10 minutes away.

The Fit SwimmerI already owned this book: The Fit Swimmer : 120 Workouts & Training Tips. I’ve been photocopying the workouts and sticking them in ziplock baggies. Totally old school, but it works. (I’m up to 55 laps without dying, woot!) It goes over technique in the beginning, and has some good info about how to find your speed based on your resting heart rate, and then they get into the workouts, which are clearly laid out and start at beginner level and move up in length and difficulty.

Lap swimming counterWithout a coach to flip lap numbers for me and not being on speaking terms with numbers, I ordered this SportCount LapCounter. I pretty much love it. It fits on my index finger, and I can tap the button with my thumb every time I do a flip turn. I count straight through the entire workout so I can see the total of laps at the end. This one is fairly barebones, I think there are other counters / watches out there that do a whole lot more, but for now this is great.

silicone swim capThis Silicone Swim Cap is made of win. The latex caps we used in high school tore our hair and we had to use baby powder in them to keep them from pulling our hair out. These new silicone ones go on so smoothly, I can’t wait to get a couple for Miss K for swim camp this year, she’ll be so happy.

Speedo I was eyeing this Speedo and had it in my cart for a bit, but the price jumped up. I was also nervous about ordering one online. Speedos are meant to fit really tight and can be hard to get on, and I had no idea really, what my size might be these days, so I wanted to try one on in person. I went to a sports store in town and found a plain black one for $28. It is hard to get up over the, um, mom cushiony thighs and seat, but once it’s on, it’s perfect.

A silly aside: Can I just say that I was kind of worried what I’d look like in it? I mean, I know I look pretty good for having 4 kids and being ill a lot, but it’s been a lot of years since I had 3% body fat and raced in high school, you know? But it really isn’t bad! I’m not about to selfie it up for posterity or anything (ohmygosh), but I was really pleasantly surprised. Maybe because I went in expecting the worst? But for years I’ve worn mom-suits from Lands’ End with the skirts and the shirred tankini tops to kind of disguise the pooch, you know? And speedos leave nothing to the imagination. No boosty bust padding or slimming panels or anything… and my word, it’s really okay. I’ve got dimpled thighs and my stomach isn’t flat, but it’s FINE. And good heavens, no one cares, really. We all look like a bunch of strange plastic heads with alien goggle eyes and nobody at any of the pools I’ve sampled the last two weeks has looked anything remotely like an Olympian.

Alright, moving on. I bought some on-sale goggles for like $5 the same time I bought the suit. I have no idea what kind they are, they’re clear, not mirrored, and they don’t leak or fog. Yay.

Pull Buoy for lap swimmingI got this Pull Buoy, which is much fancier than the ones I remember using. You use these between your thighs or ankles to keep your legs stationary but afloat while you swim only using your arms to work your upper body.

swim paddlesPaddles are helpful when you use the Pull Buoy, and again, these are prettier and fancier than the flat paddles I used back in the day. Pull Buoy and paddles used to be my least favorite drill because I was so much slower with them, and I still am, but it’s less stressful without 40 girls racing past you.

kick boardMy legs were always stronger than my arms, so I really loved kickboard practice and I still do! It’s my total favorite part of the workout, so I usually save it for last.

zoomers!We often did kickboard laps while wearing Zoomers. Mine in high school were red (mom, do you still have them somewhere?) They give you horrible blisters at first, and I remember us wrapping our toes and ankles in bandaids. Then you get used to them, and they remain one of my favorite workouts. I read that the yellow Zoomers are much softer, and since I’m sure my red zoomers are long gone, I ordered them. They do take a little getting used to across the bridge of the foot, but I’m having a lot of fun with them. You push more water, and you can feel the burn all up and down your legs. I could kickboard / zoom all day long. Love it.

Mesh gear bagFinally (FINALLY) I got this FINIS Mesh Gear Bag (Black) to hold all the gear. It is basic, and I probably could have made one but it does the job. The wet stuff can breathe, and I put my swim cap, goggles, and rinsed out suit in it, too.

Okie doke. I’m going to be asleep before 3am, dangit. Nighty night.

An unpinnable Easter

I took some advice from some smart folks on Twitter and decided against Easter baskets with paper grass that gets everywhere & a bunch of dollar store stuff that just ends up broken. Instead I picked up a bunch of board games, Play-Doh packages, and just a few of their favorite candy bars. I threw in a package of pre-filled plastic eggs (jellybeans) at the last minute because I knew they’d be disappointed without an egg hunt.

It was certainly different in this smaller place. All the kids are sleeping in the family room since our cat decided to have her kittens (planned, please don’t yell at me!) on their bedroom floor & we were only 3 days post birth. I had to wait for everyone to fall asleep — and nearly fell asleep myself and ruined everything, ack — before creeping around their sleeping bodies and stashing stuff here and there. It looks so sparse in this photo, but man – we just got rid of SO MUCH STUFFFFFF, I did not want to add more, and they were happy, so hooray.

Easter Bunnyish

When we got home I started our Easter feast. I went easy on myself and our tiny oven, and made a one-pot meal. I threw the pot roast, potatoes, and baby carrots into the roasting pan with my go-to seasonings and gluten free gravy mixings. I knew I had about four hours and since the kids were happily playing board games I went to lie down for a nap.

At 6pm I woke up to the smell of burning. GREAT. Not only had I overcooked the roast, all the carrots were burned, and all the gravy had scorched out of the pan. THEN I discovered I’d left the absorbent meat pad thing in the bottom of the pan! GROSS. The broccoli and salad were good :-/

We pulled the pumpkin pie out of the fridge — again, I’d decided to go easy on myself and bought one pre-made from the store. In my late Saturday night shopping I did not realize it was a ‘keep frozen and bake’ kind, I thought it was all done and ready to go. So it had turned to soup in its package. Good grief. Luckily the pie had a plastic wrap thing on it so it hadn’t spilled all over. We baked it later and it came out okay… but it wasn’t cooled & ready to eat until around 10pm. Sweet diggity jean.

I was about ready to scream, so we hopped in the car and went to our favorite place on the river. 55 degrees F, peeps! It felt amazing (don’t laugh you warm weather birds, you). A trip to the river is always a good place to go when I’m grouchy and nothing seems to be going right.

Easter river walk


Easter river walk

Easter river walk

Easter river walk

When we got home we had a family home evening on the resurrection and the atonement of Jesus Christ. I bawled through it as I am wont to do when I’m feeling all spiritual and grateful and stuff, and here we are. Kids are finally in bed, my charred roasting pan is soaking by the sink, various board game pieces are still scattered across the table so they can continue their game in the morning, and I’m actually tired at 1am. (I’ve been battling a week of stupid insomnia, but I’m making progress.)

Hope your weekend went much more smoothly! What did’ja do? Not burn any 20 dollar roasts or soupify pumpkin pie I hope. (I want a feast re-do.)

Schwimmming! Plus bebes!

Lane Lines 1

We decided to test out the trial pass at the gym this afternoon. I found a speedo on clearance at a local sports store, and purchased it along with a swim cap and goggles with palpable excitement. I think the checkout guy thought I was nuts.

E. and I went to the gym and waited for the people to validate (read: give us another sales pitch) our test-drive pass, then finally we were permitted past the front barrier. I almost skipped into the locker room. I felt a bit lost at first; I’d had a tour but I couldn’t remember where everything was. I sorted it out and saw a lot of leopard print panties in the process (apparently we Idahoans like our leopard print!) and made it to the pool before E. It’s on the small side, only 3 lanes (only 2 were up) and though the coordinator had told me the best time to come, it was a little crowded. I got nervous again. I know the etiquette for lane sharing, and can circle swim or split a lane no-problem, but swimmers with their caps & goggles are a little intimidating looking. I sat in a chair and worried my workout in its ziplock baggie for a few minutes.

The most intimidating swimmer of the bunch stopped for a break and lifted her mirrored goggles. She had some kind of waterproof mp3 system in her ears, but she signaled to me and offered to split the lane. Yes! Thank you! I jumped in. Yippee!

E. came out a bit later, and as people left, we ended up in a lane together. He didn’t have goggles and was mostly there for moral support, but oh my goodness, I LOVED IT. I… I haven’t swam laps, like an actual workout, in over 20 years. My 17 year old self would have rolled her eyes, but I was so pleased with what I was able to do. I remembered all my stroke techniques and could hear my coach (Larry Swim, no kidding, that was his name, he was amazing) in my head. He taught me well, and though I’m sure he would have corrected my form if he had been there, it felt really great.

In all I only swam a little over a half mile. It kicked my butt, but was totally exhilarating. I loved it. I can’t believe I’ve never even tried this here. I was just so daunted by the distance and the cost — and hey, maybe that was a good thing anyway with my heart & all, but after today, I’m like, “It’s worth it. Whatever it costs. Here are my pennies.”

Well, that’s not totally true. I am considering cost and have a crazy-glue and duct tape plan to save the most money… which I will talk about more tomorrow since this is getting long. I’m off to shop for a pull buoy and zoomers. Woot!

p.s. My brother and his wife had their baby last night! So exciting and isn’t he adorable?

new nephew!

p.p.s. And my little sister has an update on her Miracle Baby, too. I seriously love being an aunt.

Unrelated items of a Monday

I have had one of my bad headaches since Saturday night. It’s keeping me up at night and is generally very annoying. It’s not really a migraine I don’t think, at least not the kind I used to get pre-surgery. My migraine meds aren’t touching the pain; ice packs are helping, and at least I can see.

Today is very exciting, we’re all waiting by our phones for more texts and hopefully pictures from my brother. His wife, my sister in law (I’d link but I think her instagram is private), is in the hospital today and we hope to have news of their baby boy being born soon!


Can you even stand how cute she is?

Speaking of instagram, I’m back on there now that I have a nicer (to me) phone. I locked it down so it wouldn’t feel so overwhelming, and I might delete it, but you can add me if you want.

While I lie around in bed moaning about my head, I’m obsessing over lap swimming. I think I’ve talked about this before? Maybe? I was on the swim team in high school (backstroke FTW) and it remains the only exercise I really love (though I really like Yoga too), and I was stunned when we moved here over 9 years ago to discover the local high school did not have a pool. I had no idea that was even possible. I’m not kidding when I say we would not have made an offer on the house had I known that.

Swim team circa 1992, I think?  Me front and center (duh, right?)

Swim team circa 1992, I think? Me front and center (duh, right?)

The nearest pool is in town, an hour round trip away. I’ve never been able to justify the gas or the costly gym membership (with flipping contract!) But this rental, if I take a back way into town, puts me a handful of minutes closer, which isn’t much of a commute / gas savings, but it’s enough to have me mulling it over in my head. Plus the gym offers reduced cost pool-only memberships in the summer. I’m obsessively refreshing their site waiting for the announcement, because I think I’m gonna do it.

J. is interested in joining the community swim team, which would help motivate me to make the drive on a regular basis. I know I’d love it if I could make myself take the initial leap, and I have swim-clearance from my doctor. What do you think? Do you like swimming? Or are you like one of my swim team mates who quit because she hated getting wet? (So funny to us at the time, why would you join swim club in the first place if you had that particular hatred?)

Deep breath. We’re walking away.

Screencap of the 30 acres via Google Maps

Screencap of the 30 acres via Google Maps – quite out of date, it’s been farmed in recent years.

I’m a pretty good decision maker. I like to set my sights on something and make it happen. I don’t waffle too often and I can even be a bit rash with my willingness to jump in feet first. When I come up against a decision that is harder to make, I think my brain sort of shuts down. There isn’t a clear black and white answer? What? What is this gray colored problem? I shall consume sugar and cry a lot and watch thirty episodes of Once Upon a Time.

I don’t think a choice without an immediate clear answer automatically means it’s wrong choice — I think often good decisions can be murky and it takes a leap of faith to make them. Still, we found that even though we could get psyched up about the 30 acres, we’d usually revert to nail chewing by the next morning. It would feel more calm and settled and peaceful if we considered walking away. Even though that was a painful thought, it did make more financial sense, too.

We spent Tuesday morning with the architect and he listened to me and didn’t think I was crazy. We now have 2600 square foot plans plus the larger 3000 square foot plans. But there was still a lot of pressure to make a hard and fast decision quick since the bank & county need copies of the plans in order to move forward.

On Wednesday the earnest money was due according to our sale contract, but that morning we weren’t any more decided than we were the day before. So we got in the car and drove to the temple. On the way we got a phone call from the lender. There was a snag — not an insurmountable snag — but enough of one that would delay the whole process a month or two, which was definitely not in the seller’s timeframe. Still, it sounded like it could still work, but it gave us another opportunity to walk.

We drove around a bit in the lovely spring sunshine and by the time we got home, we had decided to let it go. We talked with the seller and he understood — while part of me hopes the land is still available in a month or two, I’m sure it won’t be. It was priced so well and he had two other buyers behind us.

I feel so peaceful and settled about it all. I didn’t even cry.

Meanwhile we’ve got some pretty sweet house plans in a smaller design, plus the 3000 square foot one, just in case. I’m happy we will have more time to think about those and decide what we want to do in a less frantic and rushed manner. And the architect will be happy to modify them as needed.

Now, while I haven’t experienced any regret or sadness over letting the property go, I do feel a little physically ill. But that’s because I need to change my stress coping mechanism from devouring chocolate to plowing through bags of carrots.