I’ve been heading up to Maskwa Aquatic Club every summer now for about five years. I pack up a cooler every day filled with various juice packs, sandwiches, healthy snacks and a few not so healthy… grab my kids, a folding chair, my beach blanket, boogie boards, towels and book… haul my butt all the way passed the playground, passed the tether ball, passed the dirt pit and the parents who have to stay close to their children in the dirt pit… on to the other side of the water where you don’t have to have such a constant eye on the children in the lake… and sit.
You fight for a spot of land… staking your territory for the day. You place your chair where you’d like to be positioned, place a blanket on the ground in front of you… and it’s yours. You’re then expected to keep your stuff on or near the blanket, making sure not to spread out… which is usually pretty difficult considering kids don’t care where they drop their crap! You keep your area neat and tidy for two reasons. One… there’s plenty of other people vying for a small piece of real estate and two… it makes it so much easier to find your car keys and flip flops at the end of the day!
As your children grow a little and you aren’t tied to them every second of the day in fear of their clumsy little selves dropping head first into the water, you can get off the small spot of land by the dirt… and move to the “island” with the other moms without babies. It’s slightly bigger… but not too much!
We’re jammed in like sardines… which I usually don’t mind… except that today a couple of boys were getting on my nerves. They haven’t quite figured out the real estate thing… and frankly… flicking towels and shaking water out of wet buns (a round fabric thing stuffed with foam and placed under your knee while paddling), speaking loudly about “Sonic the Hedgehog” while sitting playing on their DSs, tumbling out of chairs… feet and arms flailing, using foul language… loudly… it was rather annoying in my otherwise peaceful day. I hope they sit somewhere else tomorrow. I kind of like where I’ve positioned myself for the last few years and I’ll be damned if I’m letting them ruin it for me.
The greatest part of heading to the lake is that all my neighbours pack up their bags on a daily basis to do the exact same thing as me! We enjoy spending time at the lake together and have gotten comfortable with the few unwritten rules…
- If someone’s face is in a book or a magazine… leave them be. If they aren’t turning the pages… say nothing… they may not be interested in reading but they definitely don’t want to have a conversation with you!
- It’s ok to sweat… not look your best… or pull your hair back in a style you’d never otherwise wear. All of these things are ok in the context of sitting at the lake… just don’t try it at the next neighbourhood function.
- If someone asks you where your kid is… you should immediately know… or face looking like a horrible parent in front of all the other horrible parents who probably wouldn’t have asked you where your child was in the first place if they knew where theirs was… cause theirs is with yours.
- If your child comes to you with all of their friends and asks for money for the canteen… say no. Otherwise all of the other children will hound their parents for money as well.
- If your child wants to go to “popcorn island”… say no! Unless you’re planning on taking them… then you can say yes… but just know that every other kids is going with you as well.
- If someone has sunscreen on their face, only partially rubbed in… it’s ok not to tell them. OK… you should probably tell them… but it’s ok if you don’t.
- If adults are in the lake… and one or more of them are using pool noodles… don’t laugh. Chances are they can’t swim and without the noodle, you’d probably have to rescue them. Be happy for the pool noodle.
- If someone’s bathing suit isn’t on properly… look the other way.
- If someone says they’re going to pee… it means “watch my children while I’m gone”. And when they get back… don’t question how long they’ve been gone… or the fact you never once noticed where their child was.
- It’s not cool to look at the teenaged buff paddlers. But if you do… make sure you’re wearing your dark sunglasses… and you don’t turn your head.
- If you pack beer in your cooler… bring enough for everyone.
We’ve been coming here year after year to a grungy old clubhouse… not enjoying the facilities but throughly enjoying the lake and the people who come. This year is different as a brand new state of the art clubhouse is finally open! It’s lovely and bright and everything you’d like it to be. You can book it for functions, it has a gym, a wonderful canteen, places to sit and read when paddling is still a “go” but it’s rainy outside… but the best part is the amazing bathrooms! We’ve put up with “yuck” for years… and now we’re in luxury. The folks that maintained the old facility all these years did a wonderful job… and I throw a thanks their way… but I’m much happier now!
Yesterday we had “ladies tea” in the afternoon at the new clubhouse!! Apparently it’s going to be a regular Monday afternoon event. I can’t wait for the “ladies martini” afternoons to start!!! Chances are there’s a few unwritten rules around that too!
There’s nothing better than a day at the lake. Even if I’m squished, sweaty and seriously feeling like a sardine!