While I was singing The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” in the shower this morning, a few things happened:
1) I realized that I don’t actually know any women from L.A.
2) I gently weeped about Nancy Silverman being ousted from Canadian Idol.
3) I wondered if I could do a g-rated vlog from my shower.
4) I decided that I wanted to post something today. Despite having no ideas. Which typically isn’t a good plan…
Then I thought of something. I could tell you about my Hasselhoffian adventures at my uncle’s pool yesterday.
And I will.
Those of you that work from home know full well that people who have never done so rarely ever see this as actually working. So, it came as no surprise to me when I saw the monkey’s phone # on my caller display.
I answered the phone:
monkey: Do you know why I’m calling?
me: I can probably guess.
monkey: What are you dooooooooing?
me: I’m a bit busy.
monkey: When will you be done?
me: Like an hour.
monkey: Then you’ll come watch me in the pool. (Her grandmother doesn’t like lifeguarding.)
me: Yeah —
monkey: But, my mommy will be home in an hour!
me: She’ll be home in two hours.
monkey: Oh. Good point.
me: You realize that the quicker I get back to work, the quicker I’ll be done.
Now, I should explain that “watching” the monkey in the pool is not just simple lifeguarding. It is truly an interactive experience. And there is no way that I’ll be able to properly explain it to you here. You’d have to go through it yourself. And you’d come out of it profoundly changed. We’d be like two Vietnam vets when we met. Our eyes would tell everything that needed saying.
The experience begins as soon as you arrive. Her little feet come running out of the house. She tosses a towel over one deck chair. She flings her swim goggles on the deck. She runs to the side of the pool and dips her toe in. Then she starts giggling, rips off her glasses and tosses them on the deck table. You stop them before they slide off the other side.
She runs back towards the pool at top speed and…
Takes 15 minutes before she actually gets in.
Monkey lifeguarding takes patience, dear readers.
Eventually she gets in. Then she goes “Ooooh. Oooh. Ooooh!” and starts shivering. I ask if the water is cold. And she always says, “No” while looking at me like I’m completely insane. You would think that I would learn. You would think…
As is often the case with the monkey, your role in the experience usally involves judging of some sort. And more often than not, poolside judging involves grading “cannonballs” and “Johnny Ass-crackers.”
She recently told me to “give me a score up to 10%.” I was confused. She continued, “Like 1%..2%..3%.. up to 10%!” I asked, “Do you mean you want me to score it on a scale of 1-10?” She dismissed me with the wave of a hand and said, “Yeah, that. Whatever.”
The hand wave was a cold reminder of how far I’ve fallen in the grand scheme of things. I was once her favourite person ever. When she was a tyke, she’d make me carry her everywhere. As soon as she learned to dial a phone, she’d call me just to chat. Once, when she had an accident and split her lip, her mommy and grandparents couldn’t get her to stop crying, she made them call me. I had to rush over. She stopped crying immediately, and took a half hour to share the harrowing tale with me. (Essentially it was “Ran too fast and fell.”) Now I am someone to reach the top shelves and a smartalecky necessity when you want to swim when your parents aren’t home.
I am getting wiser though. I have realized that the trick to dealing with the monkey’s (so far undiagnosed) OCD is to keep giving her higher scores each time. Because there is no way the little loon is going to stop until she gets a perfect ten. And she needs a perfect ten in each different thing she does.
Yesterday’s judging was of her “routine.” Now, I bought that story when I had to judge step-dancing and hop hop routines, because she takes classes in those things. But, I am relatively sure that she has never taken a “swim randomly around the pool while narrating your own actions” class. Though if I asked, she’d swear that she has.
So, her routine was:
Step #1: Swim vigorously – almost angrily – across the pool.
Step #2: Swim back the same way – pausing briefly to shoot a dirty look at Peter to make sure he is watching.
I said, “Nicely done!”
She quickly shot back with an annoyed, “I’m not done.”
She repeated steps #1 & #2 from two our three different spots until she was completely exhausted. Then she explained that she was getting out of the pool to “take a breather.”
I don’t know if you knew this, but it came as a complete surprise to me when I found out that “taking a breather” meant blowing down into your bathing suit top to make it puff out. Then repeatedly jumping back into the pool to make the suit stick to her body so that the trick would work better.
The first time she did it she yelled, “Suuuuuper woman!”
The second time she said, “Body strength!!” (Don’t ask me.)
The third time she kind of forgot where she was going with it and said, “Suuuuper… gir–woman!!”
She eventually tired of this – or caught her breath – and went back to just running and jumping into the pool. Each time she’d yell “Cowabunga!” when she was in midair. However, one time she couldn’t remember and ended up yelling “Columbia!” just before she hit the water. I cracked up completely.
Then her mommy arrived home and I was off the clock. I said “goodbye” and walked down the steps. The monkey’s grandmother told her to thank me. So the squirt saucily said, “Ohhhh thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you, Peter.” I laughed and started down the driveway. Then she ran down the steps and yelled to me again, “Peter, thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you. Oh thank you.”
As I reached the bottom of the driveway, she came out their front door – after running, soaking wet, through the house – and she yelled “Byyyye, Peter. I looooooooooooooove you!” And then giggled.
When she becomes a teenager, we are all probably going to have to leave town.