When we first moved to Washington State in March of 1999, we arrived on the heels of the rainiest winter in recent memory. â€œIt rained for 90 days in a row,â€ people would exclaim, shaking their heads mournfully. The rains continued as we settled into our rental home in Kirkland, and we worried about what it would be like to live here year-round.
David, Daniel and Emma hang out by the pool.
Kathy used to â€˜chase the sunâ€™ by driving around town with our three oldest children, looking for blue sky and trying to get near it. East of Seattle, the sun can often be found near the lakes; she bought a detailed map and learned where all the parks were, in her search for sunshine.
Usually the month of June can be relied upon for some serious rain; summer may reign in other parts of the country, but June in Western Washington is often cold and wet. So I was skeptical when Kathy talked about joining the local pool association this summer.
We buy goggles in bulk at Costco.
â€œItâ€™s not like we have a lot of extra money kicking around,â€ I reminded her. Between Kathyâ€™s recent crown replacement and my allergy shot bill, weâ€™re hard-pressed to meet our bills these days. â€œBesides, youâ€™ll go to the pool, what, maybe four times? How often is it going to be sunny and warm between now and August?â€
One of Kathyâ€™s great strengths is that when she thinks something is important, she pursues it tenaciously. She began assembling her money and marshalling her reasons:
â€œLetâ€™s see, if I join before the 31st, the price will come down from $425 to $395. If six of us go to the pool at least 20 times, that brings the price down to less than $3 per person, per visit.â€
Rachel spent quite a bit of time this afternoon, teaching Sarah diving tips.
Kathy and I are fundamentally different in this respect: the idea of being somewhere away from home to relax appeals greatly to her, and not to me. My home is where I want to be, most of the time â€“ but â€˜homeâ€™ for Kathy comes with an associated burden of laundry and dishes and a need to â€˜tidy upâ€™. The image of reclining at the pool with her friends proved a strong lure to my beloved:
â€œOK, so Iâ€™ve got $120 from our exercise challenge, and $150 from setting up that checking account (some of the banks in our area have begun incentivizing new customers). If I refer Michelle and we split the referral bonus, thatâ€™s another $25.
Two of Kathyâ€™s friends gave her the $45 â€˜Diet Fundâ€™ to which the three of them had contributed as an incentive in their weight-loss program, which brought her to $340. Add a bit from the anniversary check that Kathyâ€™s folks gave us, and the pool membership was paid for, all with guilt-free money!
David is surely ready to join the swim team!
In spite of my gloomy weather predictions and Eeyore-like shaking of the head, now Kathy and the kids spend the afternoons at the pool, soaking up this unprecedented June sunshine, as our hot, sunny weather persists into a third week of record-breaking temperatures. The pool deck area has tables and two propane grills so that you can eat a picnic dinner right there at the pool with minimal cleanup and fuss.
â€œI better break out my Grilling cookbooks,â€ Kathy remarked smugly.