My blessed blessed babies let me sleep in until just about 8:30am this morning! I can’t tell you how amazed and grateful am! Yesterday was stressful but worth it. Work was work but when I got home I felt very bad about only staying a few hours then leaving again for another few hours. The kids sensed my anxiety even though we played a bit (although it seems that the girls -together- destroyed what was left of Essie’s battered frisbee so out toy choice was limited as to what they would actually go after). I gave them bones just before I walked out to my doom.
We all met at the local dive shop called Scuba North. I think I was first on the scene. No I take that back. Two guys were there before me. I wander in and the dive master calls me by my first name. Not sure if I just look like a Jennifer I say yes. Turns out I am the only female in the class. Oh boy. A teenage and his Mom come in not far behind me. He’s doing the class as well. It seems that we are at a loss as to if we will stay in the classroom all night or if we will go to the local pool for part of it. The first two guys have forgotten their swim trunks. So if no one else remembered it will be classroom all night. As it turns out everyone else remembered so we did go to the pool. That was a mixed blessing for me. I am not good with pools. That is why I signed up for learning in open water. I almost drown twice in pools. I am NOT a fan of pools.
Once everyone was assembled we introduced ourselves as we filled out paperwork and were witnesses for each other. Then class got started. I was caught up (thankfully) so I was following right along. It was cool to listen to our instructor’s diving stories. He has been all over and loves the sport. And most importantly (to me) he wants to teach everyone that wants to learn to dive to do that. One of his recent students was Autistic. It took longer (16 weeks) but in the end she became certified. That gave me hope. If I want something really badly I have a tendency to make it harder than it needs to be to get it. This was no exception. What made sense at home and I had ready answers for my mind went blank in class. I understood but I could not articulate the answers. I could not figure out the equations (we are learning how to figure out how much O2 you need on a dive). But I digress.
We talk about why we are there (mostly everyone just wants to learn to go and do it, I felt a bit pompous bringing up my marine biology and marine archaeology). Everyone seems to be able to learn what is needed. We got through the first chapter (and a bunch of chocolate covered pretzels our teacher brought in) around 7pm. Then he said the dreaded words. We were going to the pool. I cringed. Ok. I can do this. We drive separately to the local civic center and head for the pool. Never been inside nor do I have any clue as to what to do (edict etc). In the end I just leave my stuff in the main office and head to the pool. I have my suit underneath my clothes so I am ready to go in record time. I grab my snorkel, fins, mask and towel. Taking a deep breath I head in.
A few of the guys and I chit chat as we wait. I express my anxiety at having to swim in a pool. They tell me it’s will be ok and soon class starts (again). Everyone is good at swimming. But me. I feel like a two year old. My body refuses to do what I tell it. We are told to do four laps. I am winded by the time I flounder to mid pool. This is not good. But I do my four laps and get better. Next we put on all the gear we brought with (me not having a clue demonstrate this my not removing the inserts nor the clips on my fins… everyone else either knew to do this or already had done so; I felt like such an idiot) and we are to do more laps. This time with our faces under water. I can do that if I know I can breath but with no mask or snorkel I am a bit… I don’t do well. My brain thinks that I am going to drown and freaks. (We did have to swim as far as we could under water. I made it to the 4ft depth marker. It was farther than he thought I would make it. Everyone else made it atleast 3/4 of the pool.) I do quite a bit better once I get my breathing rhythm. We do quite a few laps like this. My first lap one of the guys passing the other way gives me the thumbs up. I happily respond in kind. I am winded but happy.
He has us take off our gear and head to the deep end. Oh f$%*k. We have to tread water. I have no idea how to do this. No one has ever taught me. I flounder around and my instructor gives me helpful pointers (a LOT of helpful pointers, I was really really bad). At one point I say “Come on girls! Do your thing!” since they are supposed to help me float. That got a laugh from everyone, including or teenaged lifeguard. I did my best to follow hints and keep breathing (as soon as my brain knew I’d gotten away from the wall it would go into panic mode, I finally ended up shutting my eyes). I was told to keep away from the walls and tread water for 2 minutes. TWO minutes?! Oh boy. I kept at it though. As it turned out I kinds got the hang of it AND I actually did it for 5 minutes instead of 2. I got a round of applause for this from the class. The teacher talks to us (mostly to me with the content as he is addressing that a lot of it is getting out of your own head and no one else is struggling like me) for another few minutes and then let’s us go. It is only 8pm. I gratefully head for the door and home.
And there you have it! Sorry it is so long. I’ve not journaled yet and it all just kinda poured out. Today I have off from work but we are meeting early to get fitted for dive suits as we will head out to Long Lake Road to one of the local spots and get to use the rest of the diving gear. Stay tuned!