Monday, August 9, 2010

Notes From Pool Side

I know, I know, I've dropped the blog baton again. Bad Krum.

These last few weeks have been busy or boring depending on which day I was on. We've been experiencing consecutive vacation weeks at work shorting my department by one since mid-July. Typically, this means the remaining two people not on vacation are swamped with heavy volumes of work, which raises tensions and stress levels and other things. During the short interval between manager and asst. manager vacations, I was sick with the cough that wouldn't die and desperately wanted my lung to be outside my chest. Add in my birthday the first week of August and cap it all off with Major Work Drama as just before my spontaneous vacation (thanks M&S!) my P*****account at work exploded first with one problem, sussed out over a couple of days, then with another that blew up (for me) at 4pm Friday. Not. Fun.

The end of July brought the Romance Writers of America national conference in Orlando that I did not get to go to, (next year in Manhattan baby!) so I was a tad blue about that. Then Dorchester Publishing announced it was going full digital with print-on-demand trade paperbacks available for some titles after digital release. This is a BFD in romance publishing especially, so the Internet, it has been churning around my little hobby (as my mother sometimes thinks of it.) Speaking of mothers and vacation...

Usually I go to Arizona about this time every year. But the airfare was +$400 and didn't move much from that in the 6 months I was watching fares. I refuse to pay that when I know it can be less, and then have to pay the luggage fee and the car service fee to get to the airport at 5 AM for a 6:30 AM and all that. So I was looking at no vacation during a very stressful year. My boss finally forced me to take some vacation, mostly so I wouldn't back end my paid time off into December. What began as a few days became a full week off in a vacation home somewhere in Pennsyltucky as my best friend insisted I use her family's vacation house.

Now, I'm somewhere in the mountains of Pennsyltucky. I think. I know I crossed the state line, but I still have NY channels on the telly. Actually, that makes things easier, so no complaints. I couldn't complain if I wanted to – and I don't. The drive out here was gorgeous and I was so glad I didn't make it at night so I could marvel at it all, never mind the narrow, twisty roads. The house is near a ski resort and yesterday when I went to the pool, I stood at the top of a ski slope for the first time in many years. Beautiful mountains stretch before me, musty green in the dusk light. It's so quiet here; I'm in the kitchen on the first floor looking out on the road and I've seen one car and two young girls walking and that's it. Glory.

Yesterday at the pool, I was sitting near the children's wading pool with its mushroom shaped umbrella fountain streaming water on the kids. I was reading my EW magazine when shrieking made me look up. An approx. two year old boy was blatantly strangling his three or four year old sister, water wings failing to hamper his efforts. There was no way I could get to the kids; by the time I hoisted myself out of the lounger, it would all be over, and I couldn't figure out which woman on the rim was the mom. Nevertheless, I was beginning to get up when Mom #2, closer to the fracas, waded in and separated the kids with a stern word to the boy, Mom #1 right on her heals.

It wasn't that Mom #1 was inattentive (I'd seen her earlier on the shallow-end steps to the main pool keeping watch on her offspring), it was simply that, while standing near me at the edge of the pool, she'd been slightly distracted by talking to the (presumably) kid's grandfather.

Then the amazing thing happened. As Mom #2 – now clearly shown to be a stranger to Mom #1 – apologized (presumably, this was a muted soundtrack) for interfering, Mom #1 thanked her for her help. No "how dare you touch my child!" no "what the hell do you think you're doing, lady?" just a clearly grateful Mom who couldn't move fast enough herself.

The girl child had moved away from her brother to the far side of the wading pool. The boy, no fool there, waited till the moms had returned to their respective positions and then pursued his sister, this time shoving her under the water in a clear attempt to drown her. This time, the response was even faster, a Mom #3, who'd seen the entire first murder attempt by two-year-old, instantly wading over to pull the boy from the girl, halting the rising Mom #2 in her tracks. Mom #1 was also already on the move with a fierce, "OK, that's it" and crossed through the pool to pull her son completely out of it, again, with a grateful word to Mom #3. Mom #1 proceeded to strip her son of his water wings, amongst a wailing howl of protest from him (I think more because his sister was still alive than because he had to leave the pool), and hustle him around the pool to his patronizing grandfather, and then wade in to remove her daughter as well, now pleasantly playing alone without fear of imminent death.

Responsible parenting? Damn straight. Grateful, appreciative co-supervision amongst mothers? Boy. Howdy. Lack of threats and accusations? You betcha.

I grew up in an era (70s & 80s) where such things were fairly common place. People looked out for one another's kids and if you were bad with someone else's parent, they would discipline you or let your parents know who would then punish you worse. If another kid's parents did discipline you and you complained to your own 'rents, they would side with the other parent! (I still think there's an element of that that's unfair, but as an adult I'm on board with the practice)

I'm not a Mom, and I'm not around those Moms I know and love a lot when they're in parenting mode. But in our current, highly litigious society, I would think that such interference as Mom #2 and Mom #3 demonstrated would never happen, people too scared of being sued to do the natural thing, like preventing one kid from murdering the other. The media so often portrays the lack of common sense people can display, especially when money and lawyers enter the conversation. It was so nice to see in the normal course of things that people (Moms specifically) aren't afraid to do what's right. In fact, they don't even think twice about it.

The moral of the story? Don't mess with the Mother. Any of them.

I've been up since 9:30, determined to go straight for the bagel and the WIP. I've got the bagel but instead have been doing the Twitter and Facebook thing and then posting this before you all think I've dropped off the face of the planet for good this time. My goal was to be at the lake by 1pm, but I'm going to push that to 2pm so I don't hate myself completely. Today is mid 80s and mild. It'll rain tonight and lower the temp to the 60s and then sunny and back to the 80s tomorrow.



  1. Glad you're getting a vacation.
    The pool moms sound like they have rational perspective. I'm kidless but I teach and when all four 2nd grades go on a field trip, we give them a speech that goes "Tomorrow you're everybody's kid. No matter who your classroom teacher is, we are all four there to keep you safe and you listen to ALL of us." :)

  2. Enjoy the lake.

    More power to the good moms. This job is easier when women help each other and accept each other's help.

    And I so want to go to RWA in NYC next year, but sadly, that won't be happening. You'll have to blog all about it. :)

  3. @lora Sounds like you have them all well in hand.

    @KellyJ Oh, I'll definitely be blogging next year. As a national virgin, I'll all agog like Anne Shirley at her first dance. Flowery language notwithstanding.