Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The one where I'm a floater and sharks don't eat us...

So we braved the lake again on Monday. It was a glorious day. It had stormed early in the morning, but had cleared off by afternoon and was bright and sunny. So Lu, Sean and I headed down to the lake. Sean had to wear some sunscreen on his shoulders and back, because he'd gotten burnt working outside on Saturday. I went sans sunscreen except on my face, because it ALWAYS sunburns and then my nose looks like a red ripe cherry tomato. Not wearing sunscreen on the rest of my body felt BAD. Like getting caught drinking when you're a teenager bad. So yeah, it was kind of exciting too. Woo hoo Mr. Sun, look at me flaunting my winter paled skin right beneath your nose. Yeah, I'm a rebel.

We got down there and the lake was amazing. Much clearer than last time, I could see the coral nail polish on my toes when I sat with my legs hanging off the dock. We stayed on the dock briefly and then decided to swim. Sean wanted us to swim way out and down so that we could see the new beach that he's been working on by the bridge. (As the service committee chairmen for the OA, he's logged a ton of hours on this project). So we got life jackets and jumped in. HOLY BEJESUS it was cold!! About three feet down the water became icy. Thank goodness for the life jackets, because it's really hard to tread water with your legs pulled up to your chest to avoid the cold water. We meandered (anyone who's ever tried to swim with a life jacket on will understand this) slowly out to the middle of the lake and then to the left. We were laughing as we went and demonstrating some ridiculous swimming techniques: swim like a dolphin, do the leap frog, watch me dog paddle. Laughing, and yet, being in the middle of the lake is scary. It's really deep and well, scary. All of a sudden there's a very loud splash close to shore.

Me: Oh my hell! I just saw a huge fish jump out of the water and back in. He's probably stalking us as I speak.

Sean: It was probably a turtle.

Molly: Or a muskrat.

Me: Which part of 'I saw it' are you two not getting?! I know what turtles and muskrats look like thanks. And they don't look like fish.

Sean: Well there are turtles and muskrats in the lake.

Me: And there are giant fish in the lake. And how does it help that there are turtles and muskrats? Both of those things bite too.

Me: *mild scream. And by mild I mean not quite ear shattering.* Something just brushed my leg and it didn't feel like a fish!

Sean: Um. Is it one of the straps off your life jacket?

Me: NO!!

Lu: *turns towards me, then gets this weird look on her face* oh!

Me: *screaming again*

Lu: *screaming*

Sean: WTH?? Why are you screaming?

Lu: I thought Mom saw something!

Me: I thought you saw something! You had a horrified look on your face!

Lu: Oh. No, I just swallowed some water.

Me: So I blogged about our last day at the lake and one of my readers said she had the theme music from JAWS in her head all day.

Lu: Yeah, we're probably being stalked by a shark.

Me: Yes, because so many sharks can survive in fresh water. And it's believable that they'd end up in a lake.

Sean: I think we're safe from sea creatures here Lu.

Me: But there could be an Anaconda. Someone could have one for a pet and have released it into the wild. It happens in Florida all the time. I saw it on Animal Planet.

Sean: And Illinois was on that map of states that's having trouble with non-indigenous animals.

Lu: We should probably stop talking about this before we start screaming again.

So we saw Sean's beach, which is lovely. Then Lu's Luke came down to the lake and joined us. We made our way leisurely back to the dock. Once there we removed the life jackets and I started doing laps to the floating dock and back. I'm a swimmer. I love to swim. My mother used to say she was convinced I was part fish. She enrolled my sister and I in swim lessons every year. I think it was so she'd have a break from us, but I certainly don't begrudge her that! And it payed off. My sister and I are excellent swimmers. I'm a certified lifeguard. My kids love to swim, but they had no interest in getting certified as lifeguards or taking swim lessons. Sean had some the first year we lived out here and he learned a lot of new strokes and got his swimming merit badge.

So I'm doing laps, Lu says she doesn't see much point in swimming laps, but finally Sean joins me. We start on the last lap back, freestyle. I tell him before we start that I'm not racing. But of course, we both know we are, because we are competitive like that. There's a good chance I'll lose. He's 16, he's been lifting for the last several months and he's healthy. I'm 40, out of shape and the fibromyalgia is causing muscle cramps in my foot and leg. My one strong suit? I'm a better swimmer. And his form sucks. He swims diagonally and splashes alot. I swim straight and splash very little. I see him pulling ahead just a bit and my body wants to speed up but I hold back, knowing I'll put that little burst on closer to the end when he's tired. He's about 2 ft ahead of me and we're nearing the dock, I get ready to pour on the speed and he runs into Lu. Of course he stops swimming and I do too to make sure their both okay. They were. But now we don't know who would've won. I like to think it would have been me. Lol. After that, I'm breathing hard so I roll over to float on my back. I can float like nobody's business. Seriously, if there was a championship for floating, I'd win. Floating is my Zen. I just give myself up to the water and focus on breathing slowly and deeply. I'm so relaxed I feel like jello. Jello floating on water anyway.

Luke says he can't float. I tell him it's easy and demonstrate. Sean can't float either, his butt always sinks. I try to tell them they have to relax. They both try. Lu and I laugh. I say that I'm incredibly buoyant. (And before anyone makes a crack about being chubby and having big boobs...let me just say that my sister has the same quality and she weighs 95lbs soaking wet and is um...less endowed.) I demonstrate that I can just float in the water right side up without moving my hands or legs. So I'm in water treading position, but not moving, still my head stays out of the water. I can tread water for hours because I really don't have to exert much energy to stay afloat. Hildi can also do this. I attribute it to our complete lack of fear of the water. Which is probably because we had so many swim lessons and spent so much time in the water.

I can never believe it when people say they can't swim. Especially people who live near water. It just boggles my mind. I taught all of the kids to swim when they were toddlers. Even CJ can swim. Granted, it's the fiercest doggy paddle you ever saw, but it keeps him up and propels him through the water so it works.

What's your Zen?


  1. I can't. Swim. And I have always loved water! LOL But, I sink.

    Sounds like y'all had a great time. :)

  2. I'd have to say I'm with you on the "floating like nobody's business". I too absolutely LOVE to swim. Or float ... whatever works.

    I did most of my growing up on a lake. My Mom used to have to come down and drag my water-logged butt out to feed me. (Yeah - that doesn't happen anymore...)

    We bought an above ground (smaller version) pool a few years ago and I have been known to float around in that for hours on end.

  3. I can swim, but I am not a big fan - -especially if I can't see what is beneath me. I nearly had a heart attack when I went snorkling in Hawaii and we had to swim across a drop off - - all black beneath us...aauuuugghh....

    Your family is so cute! You make me laugh. :)

  4. I love swimming and grew up down the street from the beach (but, I have to admit, when I think of beach, I always imagine salt water) and had friends with pools.

    Btw, I wasn't thinking shark, but snakehead fish.

  5. I can dog paddle. That counts, yes?

    But I freak out when my face goes in the water. Not because I worry about my hair but because I worry that I'll, you know, die.

  6. "Oh. No, I just swallowed some water."
    Laughed out loud at that line. :)

    ....Molly? *checks back over the rest of the post with a confused look* Who the heck is Molly?

    The first time I saw Jaws I was eleven, and even though I was on a plane I was still freaked out that a shark was somehow going to get on the plane. Don't ask. Unfortunately, we went to the beach the next day and I was too scared to go into the water. Really, did my dad NOT see that coming?!?

  7. I love swimming, but the only body of water near me is the Hudson River. No fucking way am I getting in there. The end.

  8. At least you are the preferable kind of floater! I remember when my boys got their swimming merit was quite impressive the way they hvae to pull their sweat pants off and blow them up to use as they still do it that way? Glad there were no sharks or anacondas in there!

  9. Swimming is my zen too. Preferably under water and clear water. I don't mind fish as long as I can see them. I like floating too. Just talking about it makes me long for diving under. We had a pool growing up. I used to swim laps underwater for a long time. Our pool was decent sized I could go down and back twice before coming up for air.

    Sydney learned to swim on her own about age 2 1/2 -underwater, of course.

    What do you think? Were we originally mermaids or what?

  10. Spot, I'm not saying this to freak you out, but there are fresh water sharks. LOL

    (Thank you, Discovery Channel Shark Week.)

  11. Yup, still humming it...
    I am a fish as well, the running joke in our house is that if the boat ever sinks everyone should just grab a hold of me. I so want to be at the lake today. I am extremely jealous!

  12. I used to love to go swimming when I was a kid, but somewhere along the way I grew afraid of the natural rivers, lakes and ponds. Probably cause something touched me!

    I haven't been swimming in about ten years!

  13. I love the water, but something about swimming in lakes fuh-reaks me out. Maybe because the water is so dark, it's easy to imagine "THINGS" lurking beneath the depths. Also, gators make frequent appearances in Florida lakes and canals, so every time something brushes up against you, it is clearly some gargantuan croc ready to pull you down in to a death roll. At least at the beach, you can usually see down in to the water, but then you have to worry about the sharks eating your babies...if I could afford it, I would just build a pool. lol. Seriously.

  14. Haha, I love swimming, though I can't float to save my life (ha, that could actually be true :P)
    Serious, I don't get it. I'm chubby enough that I should stay up, but my legs and butt always sink *confused*