Back in the Swim

About a year ago I was into swimming every morning at one of the city of Tallahassee’s great pools. My chiropractor had suggested working out in a heated pool as a comfortable way to stretch my less than athletically fit body. The workout was fun and after a month of water exercise my back felt better than it had in ages.

Then one morning my car, along with several others, was broken into while I was swimming. After smashing my driver’s side window, the thieves took my favorite handbag–one I’d bought in Guatemala–along with my credit cards, some cash, my identification, and even my passport. I’d always heard victims of robbery say they’d felt violated, but I never understood the meaning until I was faced with the reality myself. 

I didn’t feel safe anymore. My nerves were shot and I was almost too jumpy to drive for awhile. Forget returning to the pool. It held too many scary thoughts. For one thing, there’s really not a great place to leave one’s handbag or cellphone at the pool. Yes, there are lockers, but one can’t put a lock on one. It didn’t feel safe to keep my valuables in a bag poolside, either. Anyone could walk by and snatch it while I swam.

A few days ago I got the idea that perhaps someone out there sold waterproof packs that one could wear during swimming. A simple search of Google and voilà! I have a pair of waterproof pouches.


Made by Blue Sky Basics, the packs have enough space for my oversized cell phone, keys, and a wallet with room to spare. I can even pack my Kindle paperwhite if I so desire. Waterproofing is accomplished with multiple redundancies, including triple ziplock seals. 


An extra long adjustable strap allows the user to wear the pack around the his/her waist while swimming. I can’t wait to try the packs out!

Here’s the friendly customer service email I received from Blue Sky Basics. I thought it was a nice touch.

“Hello Leslie, 

Thank you so much for your order! 

We’re really happy an awesome person like you will soon be using our Waterproof Pouch with Waist Strap 2-Pack to keep your phone and valuables safe and dry! 

When you do, please go ahead and test out your new waterproof pouches at home so you can set off on your next aquatic adventure with total peace of mind! Simple instructions are included in the packaging. 

We’ve got you covered with our 100% Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee . If, for any reason, you are not delighted, you can easily let me know by replying to this email. 
We will be happy to replace it for you absolutely free or assist you with a refund if you prefer. That’s our promise to you. 
As a small family-run business, we’re big on customer service and truly want you to be happy with your purchase. 
Thanks again and happy adventures! 
Warmest regards, 
Chris Hoaldridge, Co-founder, Blue Sky Basics”

Here’s their contact information if you’re interested. I have no agreement with Blue Sky Basics, and will receive no compensation for my endorsement of their product. 


Peace, people!

 

Kleptocracy 

Since our most recent presidential election the word kleptocracy has gained popularity. I figured it had something to do with theft or thievery, but wanted to be certain. 

Sure enough, Webster’s confirmed my suspicions:

I think I’ll try my hand at a poem.

Kleptocracy 

There are foxes in the henhouse
See them slinking in the aisles?
Claiming our chickens as their own
While smirking their sly smiles.

There are wolves among the sheep
Camouflaged in off-white fleece,
Pay no attention to the bleating
As sharp teeth devour a tasty feast.

There are thieves in the capital
Snatching away our rights
Kleptocrats with no restraint
And they sleep well at night.

59 Jumpy Street

Victimized, traumatized, taken for a fool, lessons in humility in a world shown cruel.

Innocent turned wary, bold turned meek, peace into conflict, strength became weak.

Now shadows come creeping in broad daylight; making for hesitance, a sad new plight.

Questioning everyone, every look, every move, proceeding with caution; so much to lose.

Fear can paralyze, dehumanize, diminish size. Close your eyes and realize it’s all been lies, 

Or fear can mobilize, energize, exorcise preconceptions in every guise.

Choice. It’s all choice. To go back into the water or to stay on the sand. Hold my towel. I’m going in.

Peace, people!

Feeling Surly

  

Normally I’m a Pollyanna sort, but the events of this past week have me feeling more like Maleficent. Let me count the ways:

My car window was smashed in while I was swimming at a local park.

My favorite handbag, the one I bargained for entirely in Spanish on my visit to a mercado in La Antigua de Guatemala, was stolen.

My credit cards were used in questionable locations. At least the thieves are interesting.

My passport is gone, along with my driver’s license, insurance, and prescription cards, etc. 

I’ve made more phone calls in the past four days to take care of this stuff than I’ve had to make in the last four years. I could have built and furnished a three story treehouse in the time I’ve spent on hold.

I had day surgery which, while not related to the robbery, sure didn’t make me feel like a princess. 

I have enough intestinal gas to power a small fleet of cars.

My completed “buy ten massages, get one free” card was in my stolen handbag. This might piss me off more than all the other losses combined. I NEED that massage.

I just dropped a 32 oz. diet Dr. Pepper in the driver’s side floor of Studly Doright’s pickup truck. He’s already angry at me for the loss of my purse, so I need to go and clean up my mess.

I know Pollyanna is still in here somewhere, but I might need to exorcise the villain first.

  
Peace, people!

May I Have a Do-Over?

I went swimming this morning in Tallahassee. The skies were a bright blue with a few fluffy clouds to keep it from being too perfect. Another day in paradise, right?

My friends Barbara and Irena came about fifteen minutes after I’d begun my imaginative water ballet in the deep end of the pool at Trousdale Aquatic Center. When they’re present we chat about wine and books as we paddle from one side of the pool to the other. When they’re absent I pretend I’m a mermaid, so for a quarter of an hour I was in another world altogether. 

We had a swell time today and even made plans for wine and cake on Friday. After an hour of frolicking I bid the ladies adieu and headed to the showers. It didn’t take long for me to get squeaky clean, and soon I was ready to go in search of food. 

A lady I don’t know came into the locker room as I was leaving. “Did you hear? Shirley’s car was broken into.”

Now I do not know Shirley, but my sympathy was instant and sincere. Like an idiot I asked, “Here? In the parking lot?” 

“Yes,” she responded. “They smashed her window and took her purse.”

My heart sank. I’d left my purse under the seat of my car. I hurried out to the parking lot, but didn’t have to walk far in order to see that my driver’s side window had been broken. 

Glass covered the seat and floorboard of my Mazda. I cussed. Like a salty old sailor. Then I went to see if the police were already on their way. Four other cars had also been broken into and purses taken from every one. The police officers were efficient, but not very reassuring.

Apparently a group of enterprising thieves in our area targets cars in the parking lots of swimming pools and fitness centers and movie theaters knowing that their owners will be busy for quite awhile. They sure had a nice payday on this one.

It took me the better part of an hour to clear the glass out of my seat so I could drive without poking holes in my buttocks. Even then I pricked my hand on a sliver embedded in my steering wheel.

I spent the remainder of my day canceling credit cards, calling the department of state to notify them that my passport had been stolen, and the IRS to report that our measly little refund check was in the hands of ne’er-do-wells.

Thank goodness I didn’t have my social security card in my wallet. That was the one bright spot of the day. Probably the thing that bummed me the most was that they stole the beautiful bag that I purchased on my trip to Guatemala. 

So I want a do-over. I want to go to bed like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” and wake up to the sound of Sonny and Cher singing I Got You Babe. It could happen. Right?

Thanks for listening. 

Peace, people.

   
 

With a Little Help from my Friends

Note: I had a great deal of help with this post. I left blanks in my story and asked friends on Facebook to come up with content. When I had more than one friend respond I drew names from a hat. The darned story went in a totally unforeseen direction. I like it. 

My helpful friends are listed at the bottom. Underlined phrases indicate where I received help. 

“Flirting with the Law”

Sitting astride her motorcycle in front of a small jewelry store in Panama City Beach, Beth smelled the stranger before she saw him. He smelled like sheets hanging on the line, dried by the summer sun, and she lifted her head to catch his scent on the breeze. 

The scent transported her back to her childhood when hanging laundry on the line out back was a chore, but the results well worth the work. There were few things in life better than sleeping on sun-dried sheets.

Lost in her reverie, Beth startled when she realized the police officer standing beside her motorcycle was attached to the nostalgic scent. He was tall, dark, and oh so handsome.

“Excuse me, miss,” This perfect vision of manhood began, “Did you know that your license plate is missing?”

“Huh?” Beth replied in her most articulate manner. “I mean of course it’s not missing. It was there when I left Tallahassee this morning.”

But even as she spoke Beth swung a leg over the back of her bike and walked back to check. Sure enough, the plate was missing.

“Well that’s just weird,” she said. “Now what?”

The nice smelling stranger said, “Could cost you a ticket, you know,” and without looking at her he ran his leather gloved hand along the curvy contour of her tank, stopping at the crest of her saddle seat.

Beth gulped audibly and felt a slow blush creep over her face. “Honest, Officer, ummm…”

“Greg. Just Greg,” he said. “And here’s your plate. I saw some kids messing around with your bike and caught them red handed with your tag.”

Beth exhaled. “Greg, you just saved me a huge headache.”

“Well, I’m not letting you off the hook just yet,” the officer said. “Did you realize that I just finished my shift and I’m starving?”

“I guess I should let you go then, though, I don’t suppose you have a screwdriver on you….” Beth said indicating her detached license plate.

Greg grinned from ear to ear. “Come, let me buy you some lunch, and I’ll find a screwdriver for you.”

For one brief moment Beth considered turning him down. After all, he was a cop, and she did have a bag of stolen diamonds in her saddlebag. 

“Why, I’ll take you up on that,”she smiled demurely, looping her arm through his. She was running well ahead of schedule.

Many thanks to

Steven Ramos
Bob Walsh
Flora Diehl
Janie Christie Heniford
along with everyone else who submitted suggestions.

Peace, people!