Breakups are never easy, and sometimes you leave with very little when it comes time for you to move out. The three things I wish I could have kept in the deal was my grill, the dog, and the pool.
I gotta tell you, in this era of CoVID I would fucking kill to have access to my old townhome pool again for this past summer. It was a pretty sweet deal too because it was a 25 yard pool that I had access to any time of the day from mid-April to Mid-October.
I used to love hopping on my bike and heading down to the pool at 4:00 a.m. It’s always fun to swim under the cover of darkness. The only reason I could do that is because I was property management’s biggest pain in the ass about fixing the in-pool lights for a very long time but I was persistent and after six weeks of bitchin’ they finally fixed them. When all six of the in-pool lights shorted out simultaneously a second time I grabbed two flashlights from the trunk of my car that were able to change the angle of the flashlight head and proceeded to duct tape one each to a deck chair at both ends of the pool, then I had the light shining down right at the end of the lane so it illuminated the T so at the very least I’d know where to flip even if the middle of the pool was pitch black. Three weeks later they would have them fixed except one they never finished reinstalling. I fixed that one myself while the Mexican pool cleaning guy handed me tools so I could work under water while wearing my snorkel.
I love to swim in the rain. I’ve worked out through the remnants of three hurricanes during the last four years. By the time the storm system got that far inland the wind was never a factor, but the rain would last for at least a day to a day and a half. You never notice it’s actually raining when you swim though because, you know, you’re in water already.
Shit like having no pace clocks on the deck or backstroke flags never bothered me, they were like unnecessary luxury from my perspective. I’m a triathlete now, I don’t have any use for doing backstroke these days. Also, you don’t really need a pace clock when you’re wearing a Garmin that can more of less do what a pace clock can. Like I said, they were unnecessary luxuries.
About 90% of the time I had the pool all to myself, our neighborhood didn’t have pool rats who lived there like when I was a kid. It was always nice to go for a quick couple thousand yards during my lunch break while working from home. I did get a fairly nice tan during those mid-day swims.
Having your pool that close to your home makes for easy brick workouts. We had WiFi down at the pool so I set up my Kickr and Zwift two times a month. I always seemed to have better morning runs if I got in and swam 1,000-2,000 yards beforehand. Man I really to missed the pure convenience of the situation I had been living with.
Every time the calendar would turn to September the pool would turn a darker shade of green with every passing day because the Mexican pool cleaners forgot the pool was supposed to stay open until October and stopped cleaning it. I didn’t really care what color the water was, I still would get in and do my workouts. I swim lakes and rivers after all so this was never a problem for me.
When our pool would close I’d get old friends to lend me a pool key so I could workout across the street in Chadsworth. It also helped that they’d stay open about three weeks longer than our pool did, which was very clutch when I had a mid to late October race on my calendar like North Carolina 70.3. Chadsworth has a timer on their pool gate that will only unlock once it was 6:00 a.m. so I’d have to start later than for those couple weeks, but I mean I still wasn’t paying a gym for pool access yet so that made me happier than a pig in shit. There was even a handful of Rory Tarr sightings in the wee hours of the morning when he wasn’t able to run much in the summer of 2017 when he was having knee problems.
So obviously since me and Danielle don’t talk to each other there wasn’t a snowballs chance in hell that she’d let me use her pool this past summer. So I did what I always had done when I couldn’t use our pool, I hit up our friends and neighbors across the street. I asked Joe, “Hey man…do you think I could use the pool this summer to swim?” Joe replies, ‘You can’t. Sandy is on the board now and she knows your car.’ I ask, ‘How did she get onto your board?’ Joe replies, ‘Because people like me don’t go to the HOA meetings to vote.’ This is our take home lesson for today folks, it doesn’t matter if you’re voting for the President of the United States or the HOA board in your community – if you don’t vote you may not like the outcome.
I’d like everybody to stop for a moment to hop in the way back time machine and go to the moment at which Sandy knows who I am and what car I drive despite her and I never saying a single word to each other. I promise you’ll enjoy ride.
Who was Sandy? Well, according urban legend that was passed down one day and a West Stride Rogue Run. Sandy lives in the Chadsworth community, is single, was unemployed at the time of this story (but as told by her was that she was “taking the summer off”), and she is what you would say crazy cat lady. The legend states that she’s much more like the Pied Piper of the neighborhood feral cat population — when she plays her flute her feline army assembles, at least that’s how it was passed down to me at the time. My memory is very poor after my TBI, but I believe the story went down on a day in June of 2019. Sandy was enjoying the early days of her “summer off” at the pool where she could lounge on a deck chair and read a book or some shit. I drove over to the Chadsworth pool around lunch so I could get an easy 2,000 yards in as my old pool was closed, I think this was because they just started fixing the in pool lights. I took the end lane because that’s just what I always do when I have the pool to myself. I was in and out in roughly a half an hour, I packed up all my shit and hopped back in the car and went home. That afternoon I’m getting texted screen shots of a Facebook post from Joe. Sandy attempted to publicly shame on a Facebook livestream.
The basic gist of her livestream was “Why does an IRONMAN have to drive to the pool?” Well, it looks like she read the back on my bag because it was my IRONMAN Maryland swim bag. I drive there because I live in the community across the street, I just so happen to have one of the most obvious cars in Atlanta (Bright Red Mazda3 with a Kuat hitch rack…have not seen another one like it, and god damn do red cars stick out in people’s memories man). Her other complaint was every time I did a flip turn down by where she was lounging she’d get wet. Listen wackadoo, I have compact flipturns and don’t have huge splashes like people who swing their legs over. She literally had nothing better to do that day so she just made something out of nothing.
And that folks is the story of why she knows who I am and what I drive, and now as an HOA board member she’s allegedly turned into the resident Nazi of the pool deck…thus is how I lost the second outdoor summer pool I used. Sandy, if you see by some freak chance see this, you’re never going to know who was the one that lent me their pool key to swim, I ain’t a snitch.
It was a nice luxury to have access to those pools for seven months out of the year because that was seven months I didn’t have to pay Georgia Tech for a gym membership. I used to park for free at the strip club called Stilettos on a Marietta going back to summer of 2014. Every now and then I’d see a coked out stripper straggling out the back entrance at about the time I’d be pulling in, but it wasn’t a regular occurance. None of the managers ever never minded me parking there for only a couple hours early in the mornings as long as I didn’t cause them any problems.
When I drove down to Tech for my first swim this March I was shocked to see that where there once was a small, ugly stucco building now stood multistory student apartments. I had a brief moment of sadness when I realized that the free titty bar parking I had come to enjoy for the last five years was no more. That quickly turned to anger now that I was left with one choice: I was going to have to shell out an additional $90 every three months to use Tech Parkway street parking. As of September 9, 2020, I owe approximately $173k on my student loans (because compounding interest is a mother fucker)…for degrees that I can no longer use because my brain damage from a distracted driver hitting me on my bike turned me into a nonfunctional architect. Do you know where those degrees are now? Hanging on the wall in my new bathroom so every morning I can walk in, sit down on the can and stare hollowly at them to appreciate how much time went down the tubes on those. Anyway, when you owe $173k in student loans you pretty much don’t ever want to hand over another damn dollar to the place that already fleeced you out of that exorbitant out-of-state graduate tuition fees. You fuckers are going to have to pry that parking pass money from my cold dead hands because I’m determined to find somewhere nearby with free parking.
My new condo development pool isn’t 25 yards long like the old ones. It’s so short that I’d have to use a swim tether, and that’s boring as shit. However my new pool never opened for this summer as property management deemed it a potential CoVID cesspool. For those of you counting I am officially down three pools and a strip club, but I refused to go to Georgia Tech to swim because I didn’t have health insurance and wasn’t going to take chances at a gym and catch CoVID. Also, if I recall correctly the pool didn’t even reopen until school was back in session starting this September so we’ll say I was down four pools and a strip club on your official scorers card.
If I do race Challenge Daytona on December 5 it will be without having any pool time since March 16 (the last day Tech’s facilities were open for use). I mean I like to think I developed enough residual talent over many many years of swimming to be at the point where I can do a 1.2 mile swim with almost no problem, it will probably hurt though…but still completely doable even being out of the water almost nine months.
You don’t know what you had until it’s gone. I lost all of my outdoor swimming access almost overnight. Then CoVID robbed me of my winter home, and my free parking. Damn, this summer kinda sucked a fatty and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to find a new outdoor summer home to practice in.