In the middle of July during a particular hot week, (the temperature peaked at a toasty 97 degrees), the pool in our area began offering a reduced membership for the month of August.
Originally the price was listed as $185 per family plus an $85 maintenance fee. Divided over thirty-one days the pool would cost $8.70 per day if we used it each and every day of August. That was much more than I was willing to spend so I shelved the idea completely.
About a week later when temperatures were still in the upper 90s the price dropped to $99, which resulted in a daily price of $3.19. That seemed like a really good deal. 80 and 90 degree days are commonplace in DC during the month of August so I chatted with my husband about the cost and then handed over my credit card info.
On the first few visits my son had a great time jumping in the kiddie pool. On more than one occasion we were the only people there so he had free reign to splash around, but as he became more familiar with the area he grew tired of the kiddie pool and asked to venture into the regular pool which ranges from three to nine feet deep.
Unfortunately for me he isn’t really interested in swimming as much as he is running back and forth along the pool deck, which is, of course, an activity that is strictly forbidden. He likes to step onto the ladder on one end of the pool, dip his toes in, climb back up the ladder, run along the side of the pool and then climb down the ladder where the water is even deeper. Of course he’s not old enough to swim, which means I have to climb out of the pool to chase him down and make certain that he doesn’t actually jump in after he climbs down the second ladder.
Some days he listens better than others, but on the days when he isn’t listening it is no fun to be at the pool. I spend my entire time there jumping in and out of the water making sure that he doesn’t accidentally slip into it.
It’s also been remarkably nice weather for August, which means most days I’m content to take my son to the park or playground. The water at the pool is exceptionally cold so if the weather is not really hot it’s just not that enjoyable to swim there.
All of this has resulted in us visiting the pool just a handful of times in the last three weeks.
Unfortunately we won’t get a whole lot of use out of the next few weeks either. Being new to the pool I didn’t realize that hours change after school starts in our area. Starting Monday, opening hours will move from 10:30 am until 3:00 pm.
I typically take my son early in the morning, because his afternoon nap ends very close to the time I need to start cooking dinner. That means I’ll need to prepare meals ahead of time if I want to go to the pool after his nap rather than before it. Odds are that it will be enough of a bother that I be less inclined to drive over there in the early evening. At the very least it will involve much more planning.
Needless to say our $99 pool membership did not turn out to be a good deal after all. We’ll be lucky if we make it to the pool ten times in the entire month of August. If we hit that magic number, which I’m not so sure of, the daily cost of visiting will be roughly $9 a day.
It turns out as alumni members we could have attended the university pool for only $7 a day and I wouldn’t feel pressured to go just because we already paid for a membership.
So live and learn. Who knows what next year will be like, he’ll be older and perhaps more interested in swimming. I think the lesson is to try out things on a day to day basis rather than signing up for a monthly or seasonal membership. In this case we would have been better off paying for daily admission.
How about you? Do you belong to a pool? If so, how often do you visit it?