So, that didn't quite go as planned.
We've just recently arrived in Ireland and the girls have been wanting to go swimming. This is fine, but we don't know where any pools are.
This is also fine, but Google Maps are useless when all the place names sound like you are just making up words.
Google told us on Tuesday that there was a pool 'by the airport', so we packed up the kids after school one day and off we went. They were hella-excited.
Yet it was about after our 8th wrong turn that our sat-nav crapped itself and died.
Okay, but we'd organized a swimming lesson, and it was due to start in 6 minutes. Round and round we went up and down the motorway looking for this mythcal swimming complex with NO SIGNAGE WHATSOEVER. I called the pool to tell them we were running late and to hold the twins' spots. 'No problem!' the guy said (I think that's what he said. I am REALLY struggling with the accents here).
We drove on, the resuscitated sat-nav showing us that glorious checkered flag just up ahead. Triumphant, we pulled up into the nearest parking stall and all bolted out of the car, towels and goggle straps flapping behind us in the wind. We burst through the doors staggering and exhausted-
shouting 'WHERE IS THE POOL?!?'
We were in a bowling alley.
Okay kids, not going swimming today. Sorry.
They took it... well.
But to make it up to them we told them we would go swimming this weekend. We were totally prepared this time. We'd Google-mapped it, we'd sat-nav'd it, we'd studied maps online, we even called ahead to make sure that they had public swim that afternoon. I went so far as to make sure we had cash on us just in case their card machine was broken. I'd planned for EVERYTHING. We were going to find this &%king mythical place.
And we did - we did! We found the ALSAA swimming pool INSIDE the freaking airport drop-off area. Random, but okay. Alright kids, let's go SWIMMING!
The maintenance guy stopped us about half-way to the front door. Pool's closed now, some guy got sick and completely DOMINATED the entire pool. It's right now being drained.
Okay. Well then. The maintenance guy then gave us directions to another pool nearby. IRISH directions. Down past the flyover, third exit past the roundabout, keep going until you pass a blue hotel with a graveyard on the left, right, right, 1st left, right, straight through the lights and then you're grand.
We found it (eventually) and ran in, just like last time.
And it was a lovely pool. A new sport complex of some sort, where you can leave your kids in a ballpit for an hour while you play squash. The pool was huge with a waterslide and a hot tub.
PERFECT! We cried.
Oh. There's a 215 euro membership fee to use the pool.
Okay, seriously? SERIOUSLY? We just want to take the kids swimming! A staff caught us on the way out, telling us that there is a public pool in a close-by town, maybe 15 minutes away.
Ballymun Rec Center.
We were off!
And then we found out what Ballymun is.
Oh... oh my God. This was... something else.
After driving around in what seemed identical to the Tower Hamlets of London we found the rec centre, which was brand new and absolutely stunning. Paul didn't feel comfortable leaving the car unguarded so I left the kids with him and jumped out to go see if there was public swimming today.
There was, and the pool looked incredible! Waterslides! A wave pool! Huge kids area! Awesome!
I ran back out to the car giving Paul the thumbs up and thinking to get the kids out to run in for a quick swim when I saw Paul's face in the car staring a message into my eyes:
I cautiously got into the car. 'What? This place looked great? What's wrong with it?'
'Well honey, the pool may be nice but a group of teenagers saw our British plates and yelled at me to go home, and there's a guy over there that took his pitbull into his front yard and stood there staring at me with his hand in his pants, masterbating. This may be a nice pool, but it's also a stab pool.'
Aaaaaaaaaand that will hopefully be the last we ever see of Ballymun.
Alright. Google says there's a pool in Finskal. Or something. It's that way - let's go!
We arrived at our next destination, the fourth pool of the day, desperate and hopeless. I JUST wanted to take my kids swimming, four hours ago. I practically dragged myself over to the reception, and asked for the fourth time that day 'Do you have public swim on?'
They did! They Did! Holy crap - really? Fantastic! There's no membership fee? My car won't be on blocks when I get out? The pool isn't being drained? PERFECT!
I even kept my maniacal smile as a large, hairy, soaking wet man in black swim trunks came racing out of the pool yelling something in a ridiculously strong Irish accent at the 6 staff at reception before barreling out the front door and into the street screaming madly.
Swimming for four please! I bought our tickets, even though there were only 30 minutes left until the pool closed. I. Didn't. Care. Running, I arrived back at the parking lot to find the crazy half-naked swimmer guy holding on to and screaming at 5 young teenage boys directly behind our car. Like, practically shoving these kids up against the back of our car. More adults had come running to either defend the kids or help them out - I. Didn't. Care.
Paul was in shock as I opened the door, declared the pool open and hauled the kids outside (no Kaitie, go INFRONT of the car please!), grabbed our swimming stuff and took off running. Paul stayed back to make sure the car was okay.
We BOOKED it, and got through the change room AND toilets with 4 year old twins in some sort of world record time. We were all so excited, we made it! We MADE IT! We stepped into the pool with their waterwings and the two of them holding on to me in triumph and glee -
and then Lochie puked in the pool.
Okay, I'm not proud of this bit, but I just couldn't have handled having this fourth pool closed because of US. I just couldn't. It wasn't that much puke. Just like, a handful, really. I could just... scoop it up without anyone noticing.
And so I stood there, with Kaitie happily paddling around me while I held Lochie with one hand and her handful of puke in the other - as she turned and filled my swimsuit top with the rest of her lunch.