Reflections on Cramming In Some “Summery” Activities – 2022 Edition

I’ve been working lots of Saturdays over the past several months, which means Sundays wind up being “chore/errand” days. Which means my weekends have been essentially non existent. Or my “weekend” turned into a Sunday-Tuesday thing only if I got lucky – or asked for it off. Until recently – when my employer let me off leash and gave me not just one – but two weekends off in a row! Oh boy, oh boy, what would I do?

The first “summery” thing we did was go to the pool! Don’t get too excited, I don’t bring cameras or phones with me when I go to a public pool because not only do I not trust anyone – but I don’t trust myself not to accidentally throw my phone in the pool! Keep in mind I’ve had several mishaps involving phones being plunged into watery graves or taking unplanned rides in my washing machine. Which is one of many, many reasons I’m hesitant to get one of those newfangled “smart” phones (that’s another blog topic entirely).

I do, however, have some photos of me wearing swimming gear and or standing near a pool! Behold this 9 year old bathing beauty at Miner’s Beach in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (1981):

That was a good beach day!

As you might expect, any visit to a public pool is always a great people watching experience! For more about this, please view this other blog I wrote: https://wordpress.com/post/hebontheweb.blog/20918

Our first attempt to go to a public pool didn’t entirely go as planned. The outdoor pool we planned to visit was closed, so instead we went to a local recreation center, paid the daily fees and used the public pool. The people watching isn’t usually as good at an indoor pool as it is at an outdoor pool, but we accomplished our mission with not too many annoyances. So that was good!

Last weekend, we called ahead to make sure the public pool we wanted to visit was open (yes it would be yay), so we were off! I was very surprised to see quite a lot of “Speedo” swimmers (guys wearing spandex briefs/trunks), so that public pool line item was checked off quickly! We arrived late in the afternoon, so we didn’t see too many sun worshippers who resembled Prada handbags. What I did see, however, was an argument between two swimmers! A teenage female swimmer was incensed that another teenage boy swimmer didn’t invite her to a local festival but told someone else about it. The guy tried to claim he wasn’t there, but she said “Oh yes you were, I saw your Facebook story.” Awkward! He tried to save face by asking if she wanted to go later, but she was still on the warpath about why she wasn’t invited earlier. I was getting annoyed at the passive aggressiveness of it all, and wanted them to either start throwing punches – or take their petty squabble out of my earshot. In other words, entertain me – or leave! Does that make me selfish? Maybe!

I really wish we could bring our own swimming toys toys to public pools, though I can understand why they are not allowed – since so many probably get abandoned and clog up pool filters. When I get a chance to go swimming in a lake, I like to use my “noodles:”

Me doing my best imitation of an octopus (more about octopuses in a bit, please read on). All

As is always the case for adult swimmers without children – adult swim time is always the best! This public pool allowed for 10 minutes of adult swim time every hour – and boy, oh boy did the pool really clear out and give me space to swim the way I like (backwards, on my back, with head propped out of the water).

All in all, that was a damn near perfect pool day! It wasn’t too hot, and even if the pool was too crowded for my tastes (Hell even one swimmer in the pool besides my husband is one too many), it was a great way to stretch out, give yourself an imaginary gold star for leaving the damn house, and of course – the people watching!

Our last attempt to cram in a “summery” activity was to go on a little road trip – into Detroit. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking – what did we do? Go to a ball game? Nope! Visit Greenfield Village? Nope, but we want to later in October when it’s decked out for Halloween.

It’s always a bit of an undertaking for my husband and I to ever venture into what we would call a “big city.” We’re just not “big city” folks. While on the road trip, it did spark some interesting conversations!

My husband: “We must be getting close to the airport.”

Me not paying attention to road: “Why? Are you seeing lots of strip clubs?”

My husband: “No, I’m seeing lots of planes.”

Yes, there are quite a lot of “gentlemen’s clubs” near the airport! I’m curious how many of them managed to stay in business after the “plague,” since a strip club near me did not stay open after 2020.

I know what else you’re asking – did we go to Detroit to go on that giant slide they put on Belle Isle that has generated viral videos? Well, close! We DID visit Belle Isle, but did not go on that slide. The last time I used one of those slides I was 4 – and burned my forearm badly enough that I had to visit first aid! I’d love to say that was the only time I’d ever been in the first aid station of an amusement park, but I’d be lying!

So why did we visit Belle Isle? To see the new octopus at the aquarium, of course! As is always par for the course with nocturnal creatures who love the dark (I feel you, octopus), we knew that the chances of actually seeing the octopus during the day would be slim. But we wanted to try anyway!

The aquarium itself was very, very crowded, and visitors were kind of routed through there like cattle in an abbatoir. Sorry if that’s too dark of a comparison for you. However, one of the aquarium workers was kind enough to keep the glass squeegeed off on the octopus tank to made her best attempts to point out the shy creature to us. While I wasn’t able to get a pic of my own with my crappy tablet, she let me take a pic of a picture she took on her camera (interestingly enough my tablet camera did catch an image of the actual octopus’ tentacle):

This octopus still doesn’t have a name, I think there is some kind of naming contest going on.

While the aquarium was too crowded for our tastes, the museum was much, much sparsely populated. Probably because of the $5 admission fee! We opted to pay for it anyway, since my husband and I both love history, dioramas and cheesy historic videos (maybe that last thing is just me). We got to ogle all sorts of scale models of different ships, marvel at the scale dioramas AND watch a cheesy historic video about Belle Isle. I didn’t know the island was named for Lewis Cass’ daughter, Isabelle.

I also didn’t know that Belle Isle was the site of a Woodstock-imitating “love in” July, 1967. “Oh, that’s nice,” I thought while watching that part of the video (I am a daughter of a hippie). But it got dark really quickly – the video narrator said that riots broke out and the whole thing wound up with cops having to break up the whole event with officers in riot gear. I don’t know a whole lot more about this than that, but I’m sure there are plenty of accounts out there.

What’s funny is that while we’re marveling at the scale replicas of ships from history, we got to see a REAL ship! My husband got all excited and ran to a huge window in the back of the museum, which is obviously there for purposes of watching Detroit River traffic:

The ultimate Great Lakes “I Spy” game – freighter spotting!

Here are some shots of some of the scale models:

But the coolest item was on display outside – an item from a ship steeped in Michigan history and legend:

Anchor from the Edmund Fitzgerald

Overall, it was an enjoyable day away from the house – and especially from work!

Check out Canada behind me!

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