I have always had a phobia of swimming. Beyond my crazy fear of swimming in natural bodies of water (because I can’t see what’s floating or swimming beneath me), lies my phobia of public swimming pools- simply because other people and their germs are in there too. It’s like taking a bath with a bunch of strangers. As with all of my weird and sometimes unexplainable phobias and obsessions, I really try to keep them at bay. What fun would life be if I let my fears get the best of me? And what kind of mom would I be if I never let my kids go swimming?
Well, then I read this report from the CDC urging people to stop peeing in swimming pools. And I had flashbacks to last summer. Let me share with you. Be prepared, it’s not something that you’ll want to read if you have a weak stomach. But, since we’re all moms here, I figure we can handle it. After all, how many cases of gross things have you had to deal with since becoming a mom? Can’t even count them on both hands anymore, can you?
One day, in the middle of summertime, we were swimming in Barton Springs pool- a very favorite spot that we go to regularly in the summer. We were wading around in the shallow area, getting used to the freezing cold water temperature, when I noticed a teenaged girl, her mother and another girl who I assumed to be her sister, wiping the girl’s bloody nose in the pool water. Yep. Right there in front of me, a mere couple of feet away. I was shocked that they didn’t get out and go to the restroom. I stood there for a minute, not really sure of what to think, other than being totally grossed out and concerned for mine and my children’s health. I watched to see what they would do. Get out and take care of it. No. They continued to clean the girl’s nose in the same water that I was standing in. Finally, as I came to my senses, I ushered myself and my kids out of the pool and promptly left. Should I have said something to them? Should I have reported it to the people working at the pool? Probably. But I was just too grossed out and left. We’ve been back there since, but I’m not ever very eager to fully immerse myself in the water to swim.
And the next flashback was about another hot summer day last year when we were swimming at a local pool by our house and heard the whistle blow. That means, just in case you don’t know, to hurry up and get out of the pool because someone pooed in it. Uh huh, diarrhea in the water, close to where we were just swimming. I didn’t know what happened right away, so we lingered around, waiting for the moment when we could jump back in and cool down again. As the minutes rolled on, I made my way over to a lifeguard and asked what happened. I wanted to know when we would be able to get back in? It was hot outside and I was getting cranky. He told me that a kid had an “accident” and they were trying to get it all out of the pool (yes, with their handy nets). Again, we packed up and left. As we were leaving, the pool reopened. I had a hard time believing it was clean enough after only a half an hour of trying to scoop out the poop. I haven’t gone back since. And that was the second time that the pool was closed briefly while we were there because of a child having an “accident”.
I’ve decided that this year, things will be done a bit differently. Now that my phobia is full blown, I’ve decided to visit all of our local parks that offer sprinklers instead of public pools. Surely, that will be a little better than swimming in contaminated public pools. And it’s Texas. You simply can’t live here without being cooled down by some type of water in the summertime.So, it’s either local parks with sprinklers or standing in my yard with the water hose held over my head.
Here are a few sprinkler parks around town that I know of. If you know of more, please share, as we like variety in our activities over here.
- Metz Park- Located in East Austin off of Canterbury Street, this park offers a playground, sprinklers, picnic areas, basketball courts and more. And yes, it also offers a public pool.
- Butler Park- Close to lady Bird Lake, this park offers an interactive fountain that has different colored lights after dark. There is plenty of space for roaming around. Bring a blanket and a picnic. Great views of downtown.
- Brushy Creek Lake Park- This park is in Cedar Park off of Parmer Lane. I’ve heard many cool things about this park and will be going soon to check it out. There’s also a lake (which I won’t be swimming in), picnic benches, shade and a playground.