Monday, August 12, 2013

Past Deadline: Polar Dip...In June

Here’s the column, from The Perth Courier published June 13/13:
Polar dip…in June
 On Sunday, it was sunny for the first time in what seemed to be 1,241 days.
Did you see it? Wasn’t it awesome?
Part of the reason it seemed like such a long time in my world was because I was away at a conference during the short-lived heat wave. I was stationed in a hotel and pretty much missed the whole thing. I felt like a little plant that had missed out on some much-needed sunshine.
It was sunny when I left Toronto, but the rain chased me home and I arrived with driving rain and a brilliant lightning show.
Pathetic fallacy? Well, the house was in good shape, so no need for storm clouds. Besides, I was too tired.
The next day I checked out the growth in the veggie patch during the four days I had been gone. Where nothing had been showing before, three-inch plants now stood in rows. They had thrived during the heat.
That day, on the Sunday, I assembled what we refer to at our house as “the cold tub.” It’s a little pool that’s not much bigger than a hot tub – fun for the kids and deep enough for adults to benefit from a dip on really hot days.
pool and garden
The water came straight from the hose and was frigid, but we, for some dumb reason (we’re Canadian – you’d think we’d know better) figured it would warm up quickly. After all, it was June and we’d just had a hot spell. Even though the pool is mostly in the shade, it wouldn’t be a problem.
That was the beginning of the rains, as you may have noticed, and as it persisted it made me gloomy and grumpy.
Those frosty June nights were good for sleeping, at least. They were not, however, good for warming up the cold tub.
For many days the cold rain fell from a grey sky. I figured Spa Gris would be shut down until the skies cleared – but no! I neglected to take the perseverance and intestinal fortitude of children into account.
Yes, I remember, swimming in the rain as a kid. I also remember splashing in a pool as cold as 65 degrees F, although 68 was my preferred lower limit.
During that cold, rainy week, Boychild and Girlchild came home from school and would, sometimes with friends, leap into the cold tub. They wouldn’t necessarily stay in long – kind of a June Polar Plunge – and it was often followed by hot showers and/or hot chocolate. (Hot chocolate in June. Yeesh.)
Then came Sunday, the day full of the promise of warmth with that giant yellow orb gleaming in the sky. (“My eyes! My eyes! What blinding scourge is this?” cried cloud-weary eastern Ontarians.)
As expected, the kids donned their bathing suits and fled to the cold tub. They splashed in and out. They begged me to join them; last year we had made many whirlpools – loads of fun.
I reluctantly agreed. Gotta be a role model and “Play Outside” even if it kills me.
Holy smokes. If the water in that pool was 60, I’d be surprised. I did not stay in for long, and I did not go in deeper than my waist.
The good news is my feet have been sore and standing in the pool negated any need for me to ice them.
The bad news is I think I have hypothermia. Plus, I wore a bathing suit for the first time this season and, oh my, there is a lot of work to do.
Let’s just say there will be many…uh…laps around the cold tub in my future.

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