A bit of joy

One of our favorite restaurants, Pollo Lucas, across the border at the beach.

Yesterday I went to the YMCA to swim laps. I had to force myself to go because it’s been rainy, cold and gray. Not the ideal weather to jump in. I wanted to talk to the lifeguard, Wendy. I had told her about our Mexican getaway around a month ago.

She wrote down all my information about the rental agent, condo unit, restaurants, etc. Wendy said she was so excited to learn about the beach four hours away. She, like me, is a recent transplant to the Phoenix area.

Wendy made reservations for this past weekend — the same weekend my husband and I were there. I couldn’t wait to hear what she thought of it.

They were traveling with a couple who had recently retired. “Typical story,” Wendy said.”They worked all their life, finally retired and the husband got ALS and is in a wheelchair.”

She explained that her friend’s lives are very hard with the wife as the 24/7 caregiver and both of them homebound. She thought a trip to the beach was exactly what they needed.

I braved the cold to talk to Wendy and swim laps. I was the only swimmer there and had the pool to myself!

Last time we went to Pollo Lucas, this cat was sitting on the windowsill outside the restaurant.

Wendy was ecstatic! She literally thanked and thanked me some more. They loved everything about the beach and her entire family is planning on returning for Christmas. She said her friend with ALS cried he was so overwhelmed with joy.

I feel happy too, like I shared a bit of joy in someone’s life. I also feel good because I managed to get a swim in yesterday.

We did take out. One chargrilled chicken with the trimmings — but they (or we) forgot the rice and beans. This chicken dinner with homemade tortillas, pickled onions and salsa was $9 USD.

What has brought you joy this week? Have you done something that made someone else’s life brighter? What was it?

It’s going swimmingly

bungee swimming in pool
My daughter using a bungee in our old backyard pool when the city pool was closed due to COVID.

Yesterday while I was fighting anxiety — I had a reservation for lap swimming. I looked forward to going to the pool and swimming a few laps. I knew it would help.

The day was gorgeous with blue skies and white fluffy clouds. Everything looked washed clean after two days of rain.

I got to the pool 15 minutes early and lo and behold! There was only one person swimming instead of the usual five. The coveted middle lane was empty!

I quickly put my gear — fins, pool buoy, kickboard and Hyrdoflask — on the deck in front of the center lane. The reason why the center lane is best is it’s a single lane. They allow two swimmers in the other lanes. I tend to run into the wall or hit the lane line while sharing.

Since starting over with swimming, I’m at a measly 1,000 yards. That used to be my warm-up when I swam with a coach and a team. It’s harder swimming without a coach and people to push you. But I’m working on consistency with showing up. If it’s only 1,000, at least it’s a place where I can build from.

A man entered the one empty lane. I kept my head down and swam, thankful that nobody had to share that day.

“You’re slowing down,” he said to me later.

“I’m almost done!” I said. I was at 950 yards.

“No getting out. Don’t be a slacker,” the man said.

I kept swimming, embarrassed to get out. Finally, I was getting tired at 1,400 yards. The man was at the opposite end of the pool so I quickly got out before he guilted me into more yardage.

When he was back at the wall I explained that I normally swam 1,000 yards but had swam 1,400. He replied with fist raised in the air “YES!”

I came home tired, free from anxiety and had an amazing night’s sleep.

In what areas do you find it helpful to be pushed by other people?

Or do you push yourself all on your own?

Brouhaha

View of Cactus pool lanes
The city pool in Scottsdale — where I no longer swim because it’s a 40-minute drive.
I go to the YMCA that is five miles from home.

When I went lap swimming yesterday at the YMCA, a brouhaha broke out at the pool.

Definition of brouhaha

HUBBUBUPROAR

In order to swim, you have to make a reservation for a one-hour block.

The Y has three lanes — a very small pool. Two of the lanes can accommodate two swimmers. So there are five swimmers per hour. The center lane only has one swimmer so it’s the coveted lane. You don’t have to share if you’re there.

Yesterday there were seven swimmers. Then it became eight.

The lifeguards don’t like confrontations so they list the five reservations for each hour on a white board. I double checked to make sure I showed up at the correct time. I did.

Two of the swimmers, an old man and woman, were really upset. The old guy was standing in the center lane waiting for a woman swimming laps to stop and get out. I got in one of the shared lanes and began my laps.

There was a loud discussion about the woman swimming in the center lane. Apparently she came 30 minutes early and she had a reservation at the same time as me and the old man. There’s no rule against getting in an empty lane if it’s available. But the old man was furious.

“I wasted 10 minutes waiting for the center lane,” he yelled at the lifeguards. Another woman joined him and they stood in the pool arguing with lifeguards for a good 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I swam back and forth, head down minding my own business.

Finally a lifeguard came out with the names of reservations on a clipboard and asked me what my name was.

One person got out. The upset older man and woman wasted most of their lap swimming time pondering over if it was legal to get in the pool in an empty lane before your allotted time.

If the lifeguards were more proactive the brouhaha could have been avoided. Check people in and mark them off on the white board.

Life is too short — and an hour is a short time to swim. Why waste it?

What are your thoughts about the man and woman who were upset and arguing with the lifeguards?

Consistently inconsistent

The gorgeous pool in Palm Springs.

Have you heard the phrase “consistency is key?”

It’s the practice of doing something regularly to develop a habit.

I am consistently inconsistent with my swimming. It’s because swimming isn’t easy. I also don’t like getting my hair wet.

Seriously, I have a lot of hair and it’s a pain to wash, comb and dry. I’d like to wash my hair only a few times a week — but when you’re swimming in chlorine you have to wash your hair after every swim.

I’ve been swimming off and on for seven years. I had some good excuses why I skipped swimming. A torn ACL, knee and cataract surgery and then COVID shutdowns. All together, that took me out of the pool for a few years.

This time back in the pool, I’ve decided the secret is consistency. I’m starting slowly, two days a week, swimming 1,000 yards — which was my warm-up in Masters. I began with kicking five days a week in my backyard pool to get the hang of getting back in the water.

Then I headed to the YMCA to lap swim. I could push myself and do more yards or more days, but I’m gradually going to build. I went from walking each day to adding swimming and barre classes and ended up with a pulled muscle. At my age, I’ve learned my lesson.

Start off easy, develop a habit and build. Be consistent.

I wrote about consistency and parenting that was published on SwimSwam. You can read it HERE.

I wrote about my first day of swimming US Masters HERE.

What are your secrets to developing good habits whether it’s working out or other aspects of your life?

Is it ok not to go?

swimming pool in Palm Springs
The 50-meter pool in Palm Springs that was one mile from our old house.

I have a reservation to swim in an hour. I don’t feel like going. I swam two days ago and I felt wonderful during and after my swim.

But today I’m weighing the idea that I don’t HAVE to go. If I decide to stay home and read a book in my back yard, I’m not any less of a person. But I’m torn. I feel guilty for not going. I know I should go. I remember I wrote about something similar years ago in a post “I don’t have to, I get to.” It was about appreciating what we have and that we are able to do things.

Every morning I walk, then I either play ping pong or pickleball a few times a week as well as swim. At my age is it okay to slow down and say no thanks, not today? Or should I say “I get to swim today” and just go?

What are your thoughts? What would you do?

The perils of pickleball

Olive the cat
Olive doesn’t play pickleball. She’d rather sit in the sun.

Friday I opted out of barre class to try beginning pickleball. Since it was Good Friday, I realized my husband didn’t have to work so I took him along.

I was nervous when we walked into the gym and asked if this was beginning pickleball lessons.

“There are no lessons,” a woman answered.

“But I was told that beginning lessons were on Fridays” I said.

“This is beginning pickleball. We just play.”

Yikes.

Then two more couples walked in and said they had never played before either. We were all relieved to not be the only newbies.

A woman and man suggested each first-time couple go to one of the three courts and experienced players would play with us. My husband and I got Bill, who turned out to be an amazing coach. He said he’d been a coach for 30 years of different sports.

Bill had us practice serving over and over. He went through the rules and told us where to stand. He helped me with technique and after one hour, he said we were ready to play. He was patient and encouraging. Without Bill I don’t know if I would ever play again.

We played games or matches for the next hour. Yes! Two full hours of pickleball.

The next day I couldn’t move. Even after four weeks of swimming and barre classes my body was in shock after pickleball.

Easter Sunday my husband and I practiced at our neighborhood tennis court. We had ordered removable lines and markers to turn the tennis court into a pickleball court. A pickleball court is much smaller than a tennis court. After measuring and placing the markers down, we were ready.

A few serves later, I reached down for a ball and pulled a muscle. I’m currently sitting on an ice pack.

My kids told me I shouldn’t have gone from zero workouts to four in one week, but should have built up slowly. They said they knew I would get hurt. A good friend told me that, too. My question is this. Why didn’t they tell me before? Or did they and I didn’t listen?

What activity have you started and stopped and started again? Have you ever done too much too soon and gotten injured? What happened? Is this just the side effect of old age?

I’m not a cold weather swimmer

swimming pool with clouds
A view of my former city pool in wintertime. I miss my teammates and coach, but at least I’m still swimming.

My husband and I cut our morning walk short yesterday because it was miserable with a cold wind blowing.

When my lap swimming reservation came up I was tempted to cancel. I’m not fond of swimming when it’s cold out. But, having started my YMCA membership four weeks ago, I’m trying to stick to my workout schedule. So I went.

The water was cool. The wind was chilly and fierce. I’m proud of myself for going. Especially after Monday’s barre class that killed me. It was the hardest class I’ve had yet.

The worst part about my swim was getting out of the pool. While swimming, I kept moving to keep somewhat warm. Getting out was freezing! My teeth were chattering. I ran into the locker room to dry off when I normally take my time on the pool deck.

I’ve decided to skip barre class Friday to try Pickleball. A woman in barre class said there’s a beginners class on Fridays. I’ve heard so much about this popular sport and I want to give it a try. It’s at the same time as barre, but frankly my body could take a break and I’m thinking pickleball won’t be as painful!

I’m enjoying my YMCA life. Except for their app. I’m supposed to use it to make lap swimming reservations, but I get an error message. It says I need a valid membership. Yet the app works to check me in. I asked at the front desk for help and so far nobody knows how to correct it. One young guy told me I needed a new phone!

I emailed IT support that I found on the app and explained that I couldn’t make lap swimming reservations and told them the error message I received. I got an email back telling me that I don’t need reservations for taking classes. UGH! Did they bother to read my email? They said if I was continuing to have an issue to email back. I did immediately with a screen shot of the error message. I’ve heard nothing.

So, I am resigning myself to making reservations in person when I go in for the week ahead. Face to face talking to real people. What a concept!

Have you tried pickleball? What are your thoughts about technology that’s supposed to make life easier but doesn’t work?