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Time To Get Splashy

, , , , , , , | Working | September 28, 2020

Our subdivision has a clubhouse with a pool that we pay for out of our HOA fees. The clubhouse is staffed during the open hours with some very nice people. Lately, though, we have had a large turnover in staff. We also have several entitled people in our neighborhood who seem to think that because they are older they can determine when and where children are allowed.

I have my in-laws visiting. My kids, ages seventeen and fifteen, take their cousins, ages fifteen and thirteen, up to the pool so my sister-in-law and I can sit and discuss some family business.

Less than twenty minutes later, they come back in. I ask why they came back so soon. They inform me that they were told to leave by the woman in charge of the clubhouse. Apparently, there were some older people at the pool who like to sit there in the afternoons and read by the poolside and the kids were disturbing them. 

I immediately go up to the clubhouse with the kids in tow, as well as my sister-in-law who loves to watch me go off on people.

Me: “Hello, [New Employee], we haven’t met yet. I am [My Name]. I know you are new here so I am sorry I haven’t had the chance to welcome you; however, my kids came home and said you chased them off from the pool. Were they misbehaving?”

New Employee: “Oh, no, no, not at all. You see, they were splashing around in the pool and bothering the couple sitting out there who come up here in the afternoon to sit by the pool and read.”

Me: “Oh, okay. I see. When will I be getting a refund on my HOA fees, then? Shall we call your supervisor and have them cut a check or will you be paying cash… now, please.”

New Employee: *Taken somewhat aback* “I… I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”

Me: “Well, I pay the same amount of fees as they do — in the hundreds of dollars — and therefore, I have the same rights as they do, and by proxy, so do my kids. Therefore, since you are denying me use of the products and services I pay for, for no good reason other than that someone else doesn’t want us to, you owe me a refund.”

She is speechless.

I turn to the kids and tell them to go get in the pool, and then I turn back to her.

Me: “Listen. I get it. They have no doubt been driving you crazy with their entitled ‘I’m better than you’ attitude. They think they can come up here to a community pool and sit leisurely by the pool without being disturbed. If that is the case, they can go build their own pool in their own backyard. Until then, they have no right to deny my family their right to use the pool that I pay a great deal for every month. Are we clear?”

She meekly nodded. I didn’t want to be too mean because I know she was being fussed at by the couple that I’ve had to deal with before, but I wasn’t putting up with it. I came to find out that my family wasn’t the only one whose kids were being chased off by this couple.

The supervisor called and apologized, and after that, they sent a statement to all the neighborhood reminding them that EVERYONE has an equal right to enjoy the pool, regardless of age. We have had no trouble at the pool since.

I don’t know if they still go up there and read. Frankly, I don’t care.

This story is part of our Best Of September 2020 roundup!

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Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 9

, , , | Right | September 17, 2020

At the end of my fifteen-minute lifeguarding rotation, I look over and see a woman changing her daughter’s full diaper on deck. I start to walk over but my coworker gets there first. I can’t hear the conversation but I can see that the woman yells at him and he walks away. This family gave me and my coworker trouble earlier in the day, as well.

Break starts and I walk back into the guard room. This woman walks up to the counter, looking angry.

Lady: “Is breastfeeding illegal, too?”

Me: “No, ma’am, in [Our State] public breastfeeding is not illegal.”

Lady: “Then why am I being told I cannot feed my child? I demand your name, your coworker’s name, and your manager’s name. I am suing you!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the issue here isn’t breastfeeding. I believe we told you to not change your daughter on deck due to sanitation issues. We have a changing table available in the restroom for you to use.”

The lady continues screaming about suing us and continues to demand my name and my manager’s name, as well as her phone number.

Coworker: “We cannot legally disclose the name of our employees or our manager’s personal information. Here’s a rule sheet if you would like to look over the rules.”

We call our manager, who comes back to the pool and deals with the lady and her family. They finally leave.

Manager: *Angrily* “Who told her it was illegal to breastfeed?”

My coworker and I look at each other in confusion.

Me: “No one said that.” 

I proceeded to explain the whole situation. My manager apologized for yelling, and the lady was banned.

Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 8
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 7
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 6
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 5
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 4

Likes The Public Pool But Not The Public Part

, , , , | Right | August 10, 2020

I am in a swim-lane, which is where you swim in an anti-clockwise rectangle. Unfortunately, it can cause you to bump into others if you go at different speeds. A rather large guy accidentally whacks me with his arm in the middle as I go past. I try to think nothing of it but later see him shouting.

Male Swimmer: “She bloody well shouldn’t say that!”

I see a girl holding onto a woman my age, probably her mother, as they look the same.

Male Swimmer: “You should keep that bloody child under control!”

The woman is just holding onto her girl. After a few minutes of talking to the lifeguards, the woman and her child get out and go to a male lifeguard.

Mother: “Listen, my daughter’s autistic; she didn’t know she was doing anything wrong.”

Me: *Approaching* “Excuse me, that man bumped into me, as well.”

The mother explains to me that her daughter felt the man accidentally touch her waist. He seems to have taken the wrong impression and was harassing them while they swam.

Lifeguard: “Listen, I think we should talk privately.”

He, the mother and the girl — now that she’s not in the water, I can see that she is actually a woman — go to a kiddie pool sectioned off from the main pool. After a few minutes, they get in. The mother begins talking to me while her daughter swims, giggling.

Me: “He comes here every week and hates it when people go near him.”

Mother: “Then why does he go in the swim-lane?”

Me: “I don’t know. He pushed me earlier, as well. I don’t like him.”

Some minutes later, when we are all at the other end of the pool and the other side, he goes up the steps and shouts loudly.

Male Swimmer: “You should keep that girl under control!”

Pooling Together All The Bad Behavior, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | July 10, 2020

I just started as a lifeguard two weeks ago. I am still a tad nervous about certain rules. My boss says, “Go with your gut instinct. If you’re not comfortable, blow the whistle and stop it.”

I am in the office making phone calls about swim lessons when one of the guards needs to go home. I am to cover her once she leaves. As she comes in, she explains how these certain brothers, about the ages of ten to fourteen, are coming in. They are regulars but they are notorious troublemakers. She warns me that they are a handful and wishes me luck. I mark each boy with a colored marker, which designates how deep they are allowed to swim, and they jump in.

At first, they are pretty easy going. They are shooting hoops at the small basketball net we have. Soon, they start to hang on the rim of the net, which it states clearly in big, bold letters, “Do NOT hang on the rim/net.” I blow my whistle. 

Me: “Hey, guys, please don’t hang on the net. It could fall on you or it could break.” 

Boy #1: “Tsk…” 

I am ignored by the other. Then, they find the small beach balls and start to whip them at each other, especially in the face. There is another family in the open swim area, as well, two parents and their two young children. They occasionally get hit with the ball, too, and get annoyed. I walk over to the edge of the pool.

Me: “Guys, you can throw and catch the balls, but please be respectful of other members.”

Boy #2: “Okay. Hey, let’s go down to the deep end.” 

Boy #1: “Yeah, sounds good.”

I’m thinking by now, “Awesome. I got them to still have fun but keep the other people happy, too.”

Haha, no.

From here, they decide to race across the pool deck and median whipping balls at each other. 

First off, the median is for lifeguards only. It’s the small strip of wall that allows us to walk in between the kiddy pool/shallow end and the lap pool. Second, there is no running on the deck. Period.

These two are all over the place, jumping over the wall and the railing, sliding under the netting, jumping and running on everything. The other guard that was on with me blows her whistle a few times; they just ignore it. Same with me.

Me: “Guys! You need to stop right now. No running on the deck; you can slip and hurt yourself. If you don’t stop, you will be asked to leave immediately.” 

Boy #1: “Whatever.”

They ignore me and continue it. I’m getting so frustrated because I’m still a newbie and I’m still unsure of myself. I don’t want to be the bad guy, but I finally psyche myself up enough courage to say they need to leave. Just as I am about to, the eldest brother throws a ball right into his little brother’s face, and then proceeds to slip on the pool deck. I rush down to help him.

Me: “Are you okay?! This is why you need to follow the pool rules; people get hurt.”

He’d scraped his knee and elbows on the tiles. He grabbed his brother and they ran away, embarrassed and angry. I heard them curse a few times while storming out.

I have seen them back once, but they couldn’t swim because the swim team was using the pool.

Worst part is, I’ve heard from my boss they still keep ignoring the rules and that wasn’t the first time they’d hurt themselves.

Pooling Together All The Bad Behavior

Going From Zero To Hero With A Splash!

, , , , , , | Learning | July 8, 2020

Our swimming club usually gets the kids who have behaviour issues and can’t be handled elsewhere. Since we are used to — untrue — negative stories, we usually don’t have opinions formed before seeing a child. But sometimes, even we get fooled by experiences from the past.

A mother asks if her thirteen-year-old son can join the swimming club. They just emigrated from an Asian nation. They speak little Dutch and a bit more English. It’s not much of a problem, so our contact person asks if he has any swimming diplomas. 

The boy has none. That country doesn’t do swimming diplomas, nor do they teach swimming classes. So, how did he learn? He taught himself! This usually sets alarm bells off because we have had plenty of parents who’ve said their angel children could swim like fish and all they could do was barely avoid drowning. 

Our first plan is to let him start at level zero as a beginner, which means, for him, knee-deep water. But, since there’s a global health crisis going on, that class hasn’t started again yet. 

The mother asks if we can please, please, give him a chance. She knows it doesn’t sound good, but he really can swim well and if we only gave him a chance, if he wasn’t good enough, she would never bother us again. Since something just feels… different from the other entitled parents, the contact person arranges a test swim. 

Seven teachers are present, ready to jump in if needed. The boy is shy and nervous, but he also looks happy when he sees the pool. One teacher will act as his “primary teacher” for the day and she asks him to show what he can do. 

Our jaws drop. Of course, he’s not an Olympic champion but… he’s good! Considering his technique, I mumble that he probably watched Olympic swimming videos as teaching material. 

It turns out that he did!

The teacher then asks him to dive. The boy looks confused; what is diving? The teacher shows it with poses — teachers are not allowed to swim yet — and the boy tries to dive. It is a good dive. He has never swum on his back before, and he does, including the backstroke! He picks it up immediately. 

Then, our most senior teacher arrives. He’s approaching ninety and has taught for around sixty years; keeping him away from the pool would be torture for him, so we’re very careful around him. “Hey, new kid?” he asks us. “So, which class will he be in? Level five?”

After class, I see the boy waiting outside. He walks up to me and asks, in broken Dutch and English, when the next class will be. I tell him to send an email to our contact person and please, please, please come back, because he swims wonderfully! A shy smile appears on his face and when I get home, I contact our contact person to say that the boy seems interested in returning. 

Due to experiences in the past, we expected someone at less than level zero. We got someone close to level five. We hope he will return — if he wants to! — because he can grow into a wonderful swimmer, perhaps even a champion!

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