The clouds rolled in last Saturday afternoon, and although the rain started to fall, two lonely figures could be seen sitting poolside, with colourful towels covering their head. It was the last weekend to use the pool before its aggressive makeover, and they were not going to let rain stand in the way of their leisure time.
Samantha and I sat by the pool, last Saturday afternoon, in the pouring rain, under colourful towels, watching the cloud coverage, and desperately looking for a break, for the sun to shine through and burn away the moisture. My new advanced phone had not been entirely honest when giving me advanced warning of wet weather. Eventually, however, it admitted that showers were a possibility. Samantha's phone disagreed for a while, but eventually resigned itself to the fact that we were getting soaked. The hour that forecasted dry weather became later and later, and at 4:30pm, we left the area, and returned to the condo.
Sunday was very dry, and a lot warmer. My afternoon was spent reading and swimming (although not at the same time!) and I was thankful that the clouds had all but disappeared. After a couple of hours, I was joined by another member of our community, who had come to take some 'before' pictures, 'before' the workmen started to renovate. He took photographs and I continued to read my book. "They are starting the work tomorrow, so you wont be able to come to the pool", he imparted without warning. I replied that I was aware of the schedule, and smiled. He continued taking photographs, and I continued reading. "They pool area will be closed tomorrow, so you wont be able to come down here", he said as he continued to click the screen of his phone. I replied that I was well aware of the schedule, and smiled. He continued taking photographs and I continued reading. "They are draining the pool tomorrow", came the comment, with a sense of urgency. Just in case he thought that my 'foreign' accent did not allow me to understand the words he spoke, I put down my book, smiled and answered, "I promise I will not swim when there is no water!" This time, he smiled, and wished me a good afternoon. I had a very nice afternoon, alone, swimming and reading, and enjoying the last drops of summer.
In view of my promise not to swim when there was no water in the pool, I had to devise another way to take some exercise. Walking would seem to be the next best option, but as I have mentioned before, our new office is placed in a building upon a road which has no pavement. However, my home is a short drive away, and there are plenty of options around the condominiums. Samantha and I decided to take the dog with us on our walk, Monday afternoon. The water was being pumped from the pool, and as promised, I did not descend to the patio area, but watched from the grassy knoll above. The heat was a little waring on the poor animal, and he returned exhausted. On Tuesday, leaving the dog at the office, we chose to take one of the trails that lead to the neighbouring communities. Wearing very sensible footwear, we strode up the hill, and along the path that had been created for the purpose of 'trail walking'. Passing the swimming pool, as we did so, and waving to the men who were drilling away at the old casing, I kept my distance! The path to the trail started wide, and thinned out to a narrow ledge. I did not completely lose my balance when the large deer ran out in front of me, and darted down the cobbled stones into the deep wooded area that surrounded us. Continuing along the path, waving a stick in front of me, to dislodge any webs that joined the trees along either side of the stony corridor. We climbed up a set of stone steps and marched to a row of houses that marked the turn around point, by the 'Private Property' sign. The walk back was just as exciting. Samantha was adamant that the steps down to the path were, in fact, the steps that we climbed up during our 'outgoing' mission. I was unsure, but chose to defer to my daughter's geographical knowledge. Not recognising any of the topography, I chose not to utter the words, 'I told you so', as we found ourselves at a fallen tree, with an exit only possible by climbing over the extended branches and up some rather disheveled cobbles. Calling that she had found the original path, Samantha encouraged me to join her on the upper plain. Whilst my footwear was conducive to the terrain, I had not changed other items of my attire, and so I found myself having to hitch up my dress high enough to take a long stride, and catapult myself off the limbs of the fallen branches. Slipping on on the cobbles and vowing never again to listen to the directions of my daughter, I scrambled up to the ledge upon where she stood. Eventually, we found the original set of steps upon which we had ascended. I regained my posture, adjusted my attire and started to stroll rather quickly, with my daughter, still giggling, following behind. All of a sudden, there was a cry from the rear, as Samantha misjudged a step and twisted on her ankle. My lack of sympathy was not taken lightly, but the determination to get back to civilisation was greater than the self pity that I would not allow. However, the tables were once again turned, and the lack of sympathy was returned, as this time I did completely loose my balance, and landed, derriere first, after flying horizontally into the air. Once again, I regained composure, emphatically denying the event had taken place, and continued to walk, albeit more carefully. Finally, the cobbles turned into flat ground, and we finally stepped onto the road at the top of the complex. We had left the wilderness behind, and the only wildlife that followed me home was my daughter and her wrath!
I did not walk on Wednesday. Samantha had a lunch engagement and whilst I needed the exercise, I decided that to walk the trail alone would not be a good idea. The option to walk around the complex a couple of times was, as always, open, but the temperature was high, and I have found that the shelter of the trees is essential. I chose to take advantage of a lunch break, and drove myself, without the aid of telephonic technology, or the geographical illiteracy of my daughter, to Sprouts, which is my most favourite fruit and veg outlet, to check out their weekly specials, in order to enhance my evening meal. The multi-coloured organic carrots would not usually have caught my eye, but they were displayed rather prominently at the front entrance. Walking with the pack of rainbow roots in my cart, I made my way to the back of the shop. Suddenly, a young child jumped in my path and stated, "I am allowed to have these!" as she helped to some jelly-beans, that were in a bin at the end of the aisle. I thought as hard as I could but could not place her. I was quite sure she was not one of my children, after all I was sure I only had two, and would remember one so young. I smiled, told her that I was sure she was not breaking any laws, and went to move on. "I am allowed to have these. I have permission", she said again, standing akimbo, waiting for my response. I smiled, repeated that I was sure she was acting appropriately, and attempted to side step, wondering if her mother had left her behind, on purpose. "I am allowed to have these, just so you don't think I am not!", she almost shouted, with a sense of urgency. Just in case she thought that my 'foreign' accent did not allow me to understand the words she spoke, I replied, "I promise I will not swim when there is no water!" This response caused her to drop her guard and allow me to move on. Not so lucky was the man who attempted to follow me to the back of the shop!
Trail walking on Thursday and Friday was somewhat easier. We chose the less complex, lower trail, and marched quite happily around, avoiding deer, and webs proficiently. I waved to the workmen inside the waterless pool, and reiterated my oath not to swim in a waterless pool.
Saturday was not the perfect day to abstain from swimming in the waterless pool. It was warm, and sunny. However, a promise is a promise, and instead of having a structured schedule, Samantha and I went to the mall, to return the 'female' clothes bought before the birth of my grandson! As we neared the large outlet, I remembered my daughter's lack of geographical prowess earlier this week, and commented that she was about to miss the exit. Driving quite confidently, she assured me she was not, and I surmised that she was aware of a further exit that would lead us into the parking area. 'Oh', was the word that expressed the realisation of her mistake, as we travelled along the Interstate, passing the back entrances to all the shops that we were not going to visit! Leaving the further directional instructions to the phone was mistake number two. The next exit was about three miles down the road, and as the traffic was rather heavy on the southbound side, my irrational offspring decided to take some 'back streets' to get us back to where we needed to be. Although this time I was dressed for the occasion, I did not need to climb over the felled trees that adorned the country lane through which we drove. After a twenty minute detour, we found ourselves one entrance away from the mall, and had to 'loop around' to enter. The wildlife was glorious, albeit unscheduled!
Upon leaving the mall, we headed towards the supermarket and then back to Sprouts. I did not think it was necessary to awake the phone from its afternoon nap, by requesting directions to the Farmer's Market, but the technology queen with geographical limitations, thought it would be a good idea. Once we had managed to get the boxed voice to understand our question, she asked if we would like her to 'call', or would we like 'directions'. In my best English, I responded. "Directions". After a slight pause, the incredibly sophisticated machine told us, "I have found several places near you with the name, 'Direction'". Common sense prevailed and we found our own way to the shop. The jelly-bean eating child was not to be seen, or heard verbally attacking shoppers, but there were several other toddlers in charge of shopping carts. Although not on the trail, the avoidance of 'wild animals' was impossible!
Directions for an exercise regime, or any other kind of schedule, this week, will not be sought after from my daughter, nor her phone. My oath not to swim until the pool is full, and the water 'cured', will remain in place. I have many 'winter' projects that I wish to achieve and I am sure I can manage them without the help of technology. Perhaps I shall continue with my knitting now that I have a 'little one' to dote upon, but all that is in the future, and very much ..... another story.