Summer of Discontent

I, like the French, have surrendered. For yet another year, summer wins. I've pulled back my forces, licked my wounds (salty!), and retreated to my last bastion of comfort – the pool. In theory, I'd retreat indoors. After all, brilliant humanitarian visionaries have, in acts of divine inspiration, granted us a reprieve from the torture in the form of air conditioning. Sadly, while those geniuses have done us all a magnificent service, it isn't entirely free. If you spend too many of your days cuddled happily in a comforter while the A/C surrounds you with dry, soothing, 60-degree bliss, the Entergy folks get all uppity towards the end of the month and start insisting that you send them checks of mortgage-payment intensity to square things.That, or they send one of their pick-up trucks of doom over so some guy can cut you off, leaving you embarrassed and sweaty, like a teenager caught in the bathroom with one of the "good" J.C. Penney ads. Only with less Vaseline®.Which brings me back to the pool. During the day, the thermostat takes a hike up into Old People temperature range, and I skulk into the pool like some longhaired land-porpoise. A happy longhaired land-porpoise, I might add. I kind of enjoy floating around the pool during the summer, hanging out with my kids. Or I enjoyed it two years ago when I had the “Daddy-Daughter Day Camp with Occasional Infant Visiting Hours” thing going on.

Problem is, this year the girl is in all sorts of other day-camp kinds of things, and I'm more about “The Adventures of Daddy and the Boy.” Which is fun. I dig my son. But in spite of his numerous redeeming features, the little guy just isn't all that fond of the pool. So I end up floating in the pool while he runs around the pool, buck naked, chasing our dog and giggling, intent on hugging her until she yelps with pain and manages to squirm away from him.

The wife seems to think I should "explain" why I let the boy go naked, rather than putting him in, say, a swim diaper. Well, y'see, it's like this: I'm lazy. Swim diapers would involve work. We'd have to go into his room, hop up on the changing table, take his old diaper off, get out a swim diaper, put the swim diaper onÂ… I'm getting tired just typing about it.

My current approach is a bit more low-intensity from the "Daddy effort" angle. I say, "Hey, let's go outside!" (being sure to put plenty of "This is going to be AWESOME" emphasis into my voice) and then make a dash for the kitchen door. He then screams with joy and chases me outside, pulling his own diaper off as he goes and dropping it on the ground. We've got a privacy fence, and like all two-year-olds, he loves to be nude, so why not? Frankly, the wife should just be thankful that I wear clothes out there.

Now, floating in the pool while my boy chases the dog and yells at her ain't such a bad gig. It would, just like Daddy-Daughter Day Camp, be a totally groovy way to while away the days. But the days don't while. They whine.

You see, the boy doesn't get in the pool, except for maybe a minute or two at a time, spent mostly standing on the steps and playing with his tweeter. (He's two, but like all men, he's totally entranced by his own biology and takes every opportunity to fiddle with it, point to it, and discuss it.) After a few minutes announcing, "Penis, Daddy! Penis!" he gets back out, runs around the pool, and promptly finds some reason he wants to go back inside the house – the balmy, sticky house.

Nor can I blame him. Running around a swimming pool nekkid isn't the best plan. Particularly ours – the environment isn't exactly pristine. There's all sorts of sharp stones and such lying around, not to mention plenty of fire ant colonies (apparently, waterfront property is a very hot commodity for fire ants), and a wide variety of dog surprises (rusty cans dug out of the trash, dead things, poop), all vying to spoil an otherwise good time.

So, twenty minutes after I put on my suit and the boy gets into his (swim and birthday, respectively), it's time for, "Daddy? Inside? Inside, Daddy? Penis!"

And, being fairly fond of the boy (not to mention a smidgeon worried that he might get sunburn on his pecker), we head back inside. Where it's still hot. And that thermostat is still mocking me. I should point out that the brevity of our outside trips is another good excuse for my whole one-toddler-nudist-colony thing. Not that I need an excuse, really, but making them gets to be sort of a habit.

Anyhow, I guess it could be worse. At least he hasn't dropped a dookie in the pool. Plus, he's only tried to drown twice all summer, and he failed both times. (But I sort of suspect he wasn't trying his best, y'know? I think they were just "falls for help.")

Good news is, this is south Louisiana – so I only have about five more months of summer, and then it's Christmas. Hurray!

Jared Kendall is a freelance writer in Baton Rouge where he lives with his wife and two children, three dogs, and four mortgages – that's in order of expense.