The Fouling: A sad swimming tale and a cocktail

Monday, June 19, 2017

I must've done something to piss off the swimming gods.

Granted, I got to talk about swimming in Toronto on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, but after that the week went downhill. There was food poisoning, a lot of vomiting in the hospital bathroom, exhausting solo parenting and not a lot of sleep. But it was all going to be okay because the pools were opening on Saturday and I was going to swim outdoors at my beloved Sunnyside Pool.

I couldn't swim the minute the pool opened – kids, scheduling, etc., etc. – but I finally got my kids fed and down for simultaneous naps (!!), packed my bags, hopped on my bike and biked through High Park. I was so gloriously excited for the first outdoor dip of the season.

When I got to the waterfront trail, I saw an older man strutting along in a Speedo and sandals, a towel around his neck. I asked him how the water was.

“Wonderful,” he replied, “but the pool is closed.”

“Closed?” I asked, bewildered. It wasn’t supposed to close for another two hours.

“Closed,” he said motioning that someone had vomited in the pool. They would re-open in an hour, he promised.

At 3. The pool was supposed to re-open at 3, except my two-month-old would need to nurse at 3:30.

Not gonna lie, I sat on the to beach (grateful I packed a picnic blanket!) and I almost cried. It was a terribly self-pity moment – the week had been so long and so hard and this swim was the only thing keeping me together.

I stared at the lake that looked like an ocean and made a sad Instagram story and eavesdropped on a first date, and watched a couple do mesmerizing things with hula hoops.

I tried to read my book as the sky darkened and got two texts – one from my sister and one from my fella. They’d both heard thunder.

And thunder means lightning and pools have to close.

I called Sunnyside (at 2:56), but they were still opening at 3. Whew! I biked over as fast as I could. I was going to be the first one in.

Except when I got there, there was a lifeguard standing at the door. “Thunder,” she said over and over again to *very * disappointed would-be swimmers.

I couldn’t hold back. I actually sobbed on the beach. In the rain. It was so sad and pathetic it almost makes me laugh now (almost…I’m not quite over it).

I biked home in the torrential rain, thunder rumbling, lightning spiking. I was actually relieved it was an actual thunderstorm and not just a wayward grumble.

I got home soaked and freezing. My fella had a pile of towels at the ready and handed me a hot toddy.

Of course the sun came out later, and the pool reopened (after my kid-free window had closed, of course), so I decided the only thing to do was make a happy hour cocktail to commemorate this ridiculousness of the afternoon.

May I present, “The Fouling” – a dark and stormy (ginger beer, rum and lime) with a chocolate garnish:

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  1. Once we got a phone call telling is the pool had been fouled and therefore swimming lessons were cancelled, which is considerate, but I had to know of the specific fouling—"what was it???" I asked—but they wouldn't tell me, which was totally annoying.

    1. A phone call! That's positively civilized! (I'll have to get Rhya to write a post about her most recent fouling experience...the guards went into GREAT detail...haha-ew)


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