Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Blogger Takes Action

Zestful Blog Post #109

[Pre-blog note: My webmistress figured out why so many people couldn’t leave comments on this blog, and we have changed the comment function accordingly. If you blog on Blogspot too, you might find the following explanation interesting. If not, spare your brain temperature and skip this graph. If you have third-party cookies disabled, it wasn’t letting you finish your comment. It was a shortcut that Google was using to store the comment, but it basically was a flaw, because it had this negative ramification. The new comment function no longer requires third-party cookies. So hey, if you’ve been stymied before, I invite you to give it a try. If you still have problems, please please tell me via email.]

One of our gang, a follower of this blog named Patricia Hilliard, left this comment on my recent post #107, which was about bloggers having original ideas (or not):

“I sit down to write a blog and realize many of us have the same ideas. There's a need for action and accomplishment. Something we writers find difficult since it involves getting out of our chairs. But if we do, and come back to our chairs, we'll have something really worth reading. WE NEED BLOGS TO BE WORTHY OF THE TIME TO READ THEM.”

I commented back, “Amen!”

In that spirit, and in the spirit of zestful living, I’ll share something new: I’ve been training to pass the physical test for YMCA lifeguard certification.

When I was a little kid my mom sent me to swimming lessons at the local high school, where guys on the swim team basically shoved us into the deep end and pulled us out if we sank. Never was a good swimmer, though I could tread water in an emergency long enough to get hypothermia and die anyway.

After my shoulder surgery about a year ago, I did rehab exercises in the pool, and found it fabulous. Then, as I paddled around, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to learn to swim really well? I’d always felt sort of ashamed when in the water with people who actually knew how to swim.

So I surfed around on line and found Terry Laughlin’s Total Immersion DVDs, and joined the Y and started teaching myself a decent freestyle stroke. Recently I got the breaststroke and butterfly DVDs as well, and started work on the breaststroke. A few weeks ago one of the lifeguards and I were shooting the breeze and she said she thought I should go through lifeguard training, because they always need guards.

At first I was like haha, but then I thought, “Well, what if I could?” I would not just be a post-menopausal woman; I would be a BADASS post-menopausal woman.

“You could do it!” said Brenda, herself a badass post-menopausal woman.

On the first night of class, you have to demonstrate a variety of swimming and diving skills. If you fail, you get your course fee back and you slink away in shame. If you pass, you go through the 9-day course on lifesaving, advanced first aid and emergency care, CPR, and AED (the defibrillator thing). If you pass the exams, you’re eligible for employment as a lifeguard at the Y. I learned you can work as little as one 4-hour shift a week, get paid (OK, minimum wage), plus get a free membership, which in my case would combine to make a positive cash flow of more than $2,000 per year. Plus, besides the honor of possibly saving lives, I’d like to get a look into that subculture of guarding. I’m already learning the main line of dialogue, which is, “Was that thunder? Did you hear thunder?”

So I’ve been going to the pool with the list of requirements and an empty Altoids tin, and practicing. I swim to the middle (the deepest part of this pool), sink the tin, then go back to the end of my lane. Swim out, find the tin, dive down to get it, return to surface, tread water for 1 min without arms, then return to side not using arms, carrying tin. They make you dive for a ring instead of an Altoids tin. Altoids tins rust on the inside, I’ve found.

Swim 100 yards of freestyle, then 50 each of breast, sidestroke, breast head up, freestyle head up, and backstroke no arms using frog kick. Short underwater swim as well. The head-up strokes are a beeatch, because your lower body wants to sink in compensation for your head being out of the water. But they are the ‘safe-approach’ strokes when swimming to someone in distress.

So OK, I’m taking a risk telling you this, because I haven’t passed that physical skills test yet. It’s coming up TOMORROW NIGHT. Wish me luck.

p.s. Writer’s Digest is running a huge sale for a few days. You can get my book and everything else for 40% off, even stuff that’s already on special. Use promo code FFSUMMER40.
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  1. Hah! First in your new blogging water! You go, go, go, girl!!!

    Something else we both love. Less than two, blue, screaming when my parents tried to haul my rowdy bare rump outta the drink.

  2. Good luck with your test tomorrow. I'm sure you'll rock their lifeguard world and pass. I never learned how to swim as there was no pool or Y to get to or know of in the inner city. The closest thing to a pool was filling the bathtub.

  3. Hey, thanks, Morgyn and Lidy. It's gonna be all about relaxation in the water during this test.

  4. Best of luck! I've always admired women who swim the official way. I can swim quite a few laps, enough to get in a work out, but in no official stroke. So I would be a total failure as a lifeguard. But the AED thingy I got Licked! (Actually licking it is a bad idea...)

    Relax in the water when you (don't) knock 'em dead!


  5. She passed! She passed! She passed! Just reporting in.


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