Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Should We Really be Going into Town??

Today we rushed to the 8:30 ferry, so we'd have time for a little grocery shopping between swimming and circus, made it on just before the overload, and headed to the pool for a swim.

Let's Go for a Swim - or Not!
As we walked in the door to the pool, the drizzle became a heavy downpour, and my first reaction was relief. Fees paid, clothes off and folded into a locker, swimsuits on, locker locked, everybody for a pre-swimming toilet-trip, towels stashed by the wall, and I reached for the shower-button.

As I touched the button the fire alarm sounded. I was so confused at the apparent connection that I stood and stared for a moment, then went out to see if anybody was reacting, in the pool. (My clever brain though oh, maybe it's only in the showers...) What I saw was the entire population of the large pool spilling out onto the decks, in one human flood.


Quickly, I grabbed the towels and stunned children, and headed back for the change-room. A kind woman told us that we needn't get dressed, but that we should all go out to the tent outside -- the tent outside?! I thought. It's about 10x10 feet and there are about 50-80 wet people headed out there!! -- and we would be provided with towels until the building was cleared for re-entry. Well, to Hell with that, I thought, again. No way my children are going out on the filthy city sidewalk in the pelting October rain with no boots! And I opened the locker.

Another staff member came through mentioning that it probably had something to do with the construction next door, but that yes, we'd all need to get out as fast as possible. By this time the change-room was crawling with wet, bodies, all hesitant to leave the building without their clothing. "Don't get changed, please", the staff member called.

Since I had opened the locker, I obviously couldn't leave everything behind, so I slipped the kids' sweaters on, my own pants and shoes, and out we went, semi-clothed, into the rain.

After about ten minutes of standing around with the other unfortunate souls, I gave the kids a choice of waiting while the fire department continued to search the rec centre, and then return for what would likely be a very short swim, before going out to do a very rushed grocery trip, and then circus, or... just go do the shopping, now. Their unanimous cry, through the alarm sounding and the rain hitting the roof of the tent like hail was: "Go now!!!"

So, irked that I'd spent ten dollars and about twenty minutes dressing children, only to end up swimless and shivering through the rain back to the car, we left. Yes, I'm sure the pool would have refunded my money, but it wasn't worth the long wait.

Let's Buy White Tights - or Not!
Winners has neither white tights for mothers nor daughters, it turns out; only for tweenagers, of which we have none in our house. We will continue to wear black for ballet. However, Rhiannon decided that we had definitely come for the toys, not the tights, and called a long and passionate tirade, very loudly, through most of the store: "I want to go to da toy section! When aye we goin' to da toy section?! I need a toy! It's not nice when gwownups don't buy toys foy little childwen! Gwownups do have to buy toys foy childwen evewy day because dat's how to be a good kind of Mama! Pleeeeease now can we go to da toy section?! Yes! We haaaaaaave toooooo! You have to be a good gwownup!...."

We didn't buy any toys, either.

Let's Buy Pumpkins - or Not!
Out of Winners, off to the grocery store. You would think this was a failsafe prospect, but no: every pumpkin the kids chose failed the poke-test -- they were all severely rotten. We did manage to find two apparently fresher pumpkins, but that was after the kids lost their enthusiasm.

Circus School - or (phew)!
Tali seemed to have a relapse of whatever unidentified trouble plagued him at ballet, earlier this season. He clung to me, buried his face in my back on the edge of tears, and could not even bear to look at his teacher, when I sat in the circle listening to the instructions for the start-of-class stretches. He refused to participate. Even when I tried to participate, myself, it only made him panic, as he couldn't cling so tightly when I was moving. And I was so upset that this was all happening all over again, and that, despite my pleas, he could not even begin to tell me what was worrying him, or how I could help him, I became angry again. I tried so hard to speak lovingly through my anger, but eventually threatened to stand up and walk out. He was so paralyzed with fear that even that didn't break through his wide-eyed, granite face. And of course my complete failing made me even more angry. Then a wave of calm came over me, and I said, "I think they're balancing feathers. Can we go do that, together?" And Tali, with a trembling lip, said "yes".

I am not sure exactly how that happened, but I think that after so many things had gone wrong in the morning, Tali was just too overwhelmed to pull it together for circus. Perhaps the overwhelming factor was also what went wrong with ballet.

So as it turned out, circus class was by far the most successful class of the day. Tal did try out the tight-wire, and the trampolines, trapeze, and juggling/balancing feathers, and then he spent about 40 minutes hanging in the aerial silk. He really did need some alone-time, and I think the teachers realized that.

Happy Ending with Considerations for the Future:
We returned to the island to visit our dear friend Terran for his birthday, and Tali got a great play in with Jayden. Home for a good dinner and a much-needed sleep.

But I just can't help wondering if all the roadblocks we hit today (yes, there even was a speed-trap we braked through on the way to the ferry, returning) were an indication that maybe we should try keeping the activities on-island, next term. I feel that swimming is very important, and Tal certainly loves his circus class, but, well... I just wonder.

I have never enjoyed going to town, myself. So much stress, so much money spent and time wasted, all for activities and shopping that, if they are really needed at all, are probably available closer to home or not needed so often. I would very much like, also, to dispose of our giant, ugly-green, gas-drinking Subaru, and replace it with an electric car. Markus and I figure that in a couple of years the quality, practicality, and value-for-cost of electric vehicles will increase, and then it might be feasible. Then I will make fewer, shorter (slower) trips to town, and feel better about driving, on-island. However, there's also the factor of the concurrent decreasing value of our Subaru. More things to wonder about...

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