Days without rain in Missouri used to make me anxious because I always had a garden back then, and no sprinkler system. I would worry about the vegetables and flowers and the lawn, and it was a pain dragging the hose around and trying to keep things alive. Plus, since it’s a state with a lot of farming I would worry about the farmers too. I know things are really bad here, but I don’t seem to be as worried. I may just be getting old and complacent. The City of Austin has water restrictions in place but we live in Travis County so we aren’t affected.
We’re at over 60 days of triple digit temperatures too, which is just amazing. Almost every afternoon this week storm clouds begin to gather and it seems like the entire city cranes its collective head at the sky, willing those clouds to produce some moisture. But every day they dissipate, maybe raining briefly in an isolated neighborhood, but not enough to make any difference in the drought.
Yesterday afternoon the clouds got really dark and it began to thunder and lightning as well. As we were busily completing the paperwork to put the house on the market it started just pouring buckets of rain! We were all so excited; we just stopped what we were doing and watched it rain. We had over a foot of water in the creek in our front yard! It was great. However some of my friends tell me that it didn’t rain at all in their area of Austin. Too bad. And really, we could use a month of rain like that so don’t stop your rain dances just yet.
So the sign went up this morning and the house is officially on the market. Daniel and I are sitting in a coffee shop right now because we’re already having our first showing! We’ve got another scheduled for tomorrow morning too. Wouldn’t it be great if Lee and I could continue our house-selling luck and get this one sold quickly? Our first house never even went on the market before it sold, and our second house sold in a week in a bidding war. This one is priced to sell, but the market is still pretty weak. We shall see. If it doesn’t sell 3M will buy it, but then we have to wait sixty days, and I want to go ahead and move to Boston!
Because my legs are still slowly recovering from the half-marathon I thought maybe I would try something else besides walking on my cross-training days. Hmm, what about swimming? There is a nice public pool close to our house and they have lap-swimming every weekday from 8am to 10am so I decided to give it a try. I bought some goggles and I was ready to go.
The pool is called Deep Eddy Pool. It’s close to Town Lake and is the oldest public swimming pool in Texas. It was a WPA project. It’s not round, like the pool in Fayette, Missouri, but it’s from the same era. Here’s a link describing the history of this pool. http://www.deepeddy.org/pool.html .
Anyway, it turned out that Deep Eddy was closed because their pump broke due to the storm last night. Oh well I thought, I can go to Barton Springs. Barton Springs is another Austin landmark. Check out this link: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/bartonsprings.htm. It’s really an amazing structure. It’s a natural spring that is always 68 degrees, year round. It’s open for free swimming from 5am to 9am every morning so I still had time. I drove there, parked and walked inside. The last time I had been to Barton Springs was the first time we lived in Austin, before we moved to Hong Kong. We went to ACL that year and because of hurricane Rita skirting the city to the east, the heat in Austin was horrific, even for central Texas in September. One afternoon we decided to skip the music and walk over to Barton Springs to cool off in that icy water. All I remembered was how cold and how good the water felt.
As I walked inside I realized that I had forgotten how big and how strange Barton Springs is. It’s truly huge, maybe 5 times as big as a normal swimming pool. Reading about it online lets me know that it is actually 1/8 of a mile in length and 150 feet across at its widest spot. And it’s NOT normal. Although it has concrete sides and concrete steps to enter the water, the bottom is natural materials. Some places its rocky, but other places there are wavy plants growing below. There’s a current too, so it’s harder to swim in one direction and easier to swim in another.
I adjusted my goggles and entered the water. I don’t know when the last time was that I attempted to swim for fitness. Boy was I out of practice! I have a decent crawl, but 30 seconds of the crawl left me gasping and disoriented. I had to use the breast stroke instead a lot. I kept trying to use the crawl for a little while. Part of the problem is Barton Springs is so big that you don’t get a break like you usually do swimming in a regular pool. The cold and the current probably had an effect as well.
I only swam for around 15 minutes and then it was time to get out because the free swim was over. It’s just as well. I think swimming is a good cross-training exercise; my legs are less sore today. I didn’t have to take Motrin at all. But I’m going to have to work up slowly to 30 minutes of the crawl and it would be easier in a smaller (and warmer) pool like Deep Eddy. I hope they get their pump fixed soon!