This past weekend we pulled my well-worn lounge chair out of storage and opened our pool, which means it is officially the start of summer for our family. Unfortunately, local schools are still in session for a few more weeks, thanks to the numerous snow days we accumulated this winter. However, with temperatures in the eighties daily, the children usually swim after school and on the weekends.
Although I am not much of a swimmer myself, I have always loved sitting by the pool, reading a good book or some magazines. For many years, I could not do much of this because I always had babies and toddlers who were only happy if I pushed them around the pool in some flotation device while I sang to them. Now that the youngest is six, I can actually relax on my chair while the children swim, splash, dive, and do cannonballs into the water.
As I gathered my pool gear together yesterday, it occurred to me how much of it is meant to cover up or protect. Gone are the days when I threw on a swimsuit and spent hours lying next to a pool with a book or music. Now being in the sun involves putting on a myriad of things in an attempt to avoid more wrinkles, further macular degeneration, and skin cancer.
- First, there is the thickest beach towel I can find in the closet to cover up the fraying lawn chair.
- Second, there is the Land's End swimsuit and paisley swim skirt to cover my middle-aged middle.
- Third, I use the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen in SPF 70 (I shudder to think that I used baby oil back in my teen years.)
- Fourth, I buy the cheapest sunglasses because I lose or break these annually. If I am going to read anything, I actually have to wear my tinted prescription glasses since my arms are just not long enough anymore to hold the small print far enough away from my eyes.
- Fifth, in addition to the sunscreen and sunglasses, I often wear my big straw hat from our honeymoon in the Virgin Islands for even more sun protection.
- Sixth, I must have a plastic cup filled with our mountain spring water with a slice of lime to stay hydrated.
- Finally, there is the canvas tote (also from our honeymoon) filled with reading/browsing material since it is too bright to read any of my downloaded e-books on my tablet. Yesterday's collection consisted of the latest L.L. Bean catalog, the Lehman's catalog, and an old issue of Country Living.
Now I just need to find an hour before 10 AM or after 4 PM to avoid the sun's peak rays, and dodging those pesky evening thunderstorms we tend to have would be a good idea too.