Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer Stay-cation

It is the last week of August and my children and I have reached the point in the summer where we can take no more of the asphalt jungle.

It happens every year. We glide through June, we endure July and by the first week of August we start considering our vacation options. You know, a getaway. By the second week of August, we realize we have no options, lacking money and connections. By the third week of August, truly desperate, we aspire to make some.

“Isn’t there ANYONE we know with a summer place?” I ask David.

“Well there’s Miriam and Larry but they didn’t invite us after last year.”

Yes, that was true. We’d spent two nights at Larry’s mother’s lake-side cabin last year and while uneventful by our standards, I think it was a little draining on our friends, who don’t have kids and are accustomed to a certain level of quiet in their lives.

“How did we graduate from an Ivy League school without making friends with someone who’s got a place in the HAMPTONS????” I shriek.

So while everyone else is cooling off in the natural springs of Colorado or taking dips by the Jersey shore, we are sweltering in cramped quarters with no school and no camp and plenty of deadlines for cranky Mommy.

“These children haven’t been in a pool all summer!” I shout to David, “They haven’t stepped foot on sand. They are under-privileged.”

And that’s when I decided to turn things around. Because there’s absolutely no reason you can’t find sand, surf and chlorinated water, all in the borough of Brooklyn.

First stop of the summer stay-cation agenda:

Double D pool, 4pm, Friday

Pros: Close to home. Kiddie pool. Catchy and titillating name. Free.

Cons: Whoever reviewed this pool online as an “off the beaten path, hidden treasure” must come from a place where 200 people packed into a 10 x 12 area is considered under-capacity. This is neither hidden, nor a treasure. I couldn’t move my damn elbows it was so crowded. And the din which couldn’t help but rise from such a massive gathering was somewhat off-putting to Primo, who is freaked out by swimming to begin with. When I told the boy to hang on to my back so I could hang on to his sister with my front, I got an earful of whistle-blowing. I guess it’s a violation of pool policy, and I get that. It did seem likely he would strangle me and we’d all go down together. But I have to say the teenage rumble happening pool-side did seem to more worthy of whistle blowing than my out-of-necessity-piggy back ride.

Grade: C

Open Swim at the Y, Guest Pass, Monday 3pm

Pros: Perfect temperature water. Clean accommodations. Comfortable locker room with a hair dryer for those of us who will be having a hot date after swimming. Flotation devices up the damn wazoo – I am talking noodles, donuts, infant floaties, kid vests, buggy boards. You name it. And, the dealbreaker – it was totally, deliciously empty.

Within five minutes, my terrified boy had released me from his strangulation hold and was happily kicking around the pool, buoyed up by enough floatation devises to keep a whale above water. Happy as a clam.

Cons: We don’t belong to the Y. We can never go back again.

Grade: A-

Second installment of stay-cation review to be released tomorrow. Stay tuned.