Swimming in $#!&

I decided to go for a nice, relaxing swim at my gym today.  By “nice” and “relaxing”, I mean “obnoxiously loud” and “tranquilizer-necessitating”.  I’m fairly certain that every parent within a ten-mile radius of my gym decided today was the day to take advantage of “kids’ time” in the pool.  Ten-year olds with a penchant for cannon balls?  You betcha.  Babies with no possibility of controlling their bodily functions while in the water?  Oh yeah.  Toddlers whose favorite pastime is SCREAMING?  Yup.  And while this “kids’ time” is in theory limited to one small area of the pool, leaving several lanes open for adult swimming, approximately 253 children (I exaggerate only slightly) in a not-so-huge pool is going to create some havoc.  Let’s just say there was some spill-over from “kids area” into “adult area”.

A slightly more disturbing form of “spill-over” was, it turns out, likely occurring during my unfortunate swim today.  When I returned home, I checked the mail to find that I had received this month’s edition of the gym newsletter.  In that newsletter, gym management implores parents to clothe their wee ones in “swim nappies” for their time in the pool.  Apparently, and according to this newsletter, management was dismayed by having to close the pool five times in the last 30 days due to “incidents.”  Oh My God.  Makes you wanna throw up just a little bit in your mouth, huh?  Yeah.  I gagged too.  Fascinating thing about all this, for me?  Besides the possibility of swimming in excrement, literally?  This is the expensive gym in our neighborhood.  The (according to gym management)exclusive gym.  Well, pshaw.  If their idea of exclusive is poop diving, I’m not for it.  So I’m quitting their little fiesta of fun and joining a much less expensive, but just as pleasant, gym down the hill that very nicely doesn’t allow children.

In other, much more hygienic, gym news, the last time Byron and I worked out together he did some sit-ups and we found sand on the mat he’d been using when he stood up.  Sand. From the beach.  Fell out of his pockets.  I swear that man can find beach volleyball or surfing anywhere in the world and, when he does, he then proceeds to carry the beach with him wherever he goes.  He’s basically made of beach.

Anyhoo.  It’s September 4th and, here in London, it’s officially autumn.  Well, as autumn as it ever gets for a Southern California girl.  The interesting thing about this is that the seasons changed precisely on September 1st.  August 31st was a lovely day.  September 1stdawned chilly and windy and rainy.  That’s been the weather ever since.  The leaves are browning and falling.  Some trees are already practically bare.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still much lush greenery.  There’s also just an amazing amount of leaves in the streets that one would think would still be on the trees.  And the trees that are practically bald never changed to that bright yellow or orange or red that one comes to expect from an autumnal experience.  They were green one day, brown the next and on the ground the day after that.

As for settling in, it’s starting to happen.  I’m feeling those little flashes of familiarity and home here.  I’ve found my favorite bookstore (absolutely essential), my favorite cheese shop, a fabulous florist, a great vitamin store, the closest thing I’m going to get to a Williams-Sonoma, a great masseuse, and a talented waxer (the importance of which is not lost on any of my female readers).  We have a spectacular produce and flower shop up the street, as well as a wine store and an amazing pub down the block.  So when I’m feeling a little homesick every now and then I know right where to go for a bottle of wine, slice of brie and a nice massage.  The words of the Beatles song occur to me:  “It’s getting better all the time …”

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