We are at the Kirkland Pool for the Pacific Northwest Association Classic Invitational Swim Meet. Figure competition just started so the pool is quiet, quiet. This is not a racing meet. Synchronized Swimming, so everyone has to be quiet so that the recorders can hear the readers read the judges scores. This is for Novice, Intermediate, Age Group and Junior Routines and Figures.

The Introverted Thinker is in her 6th year of synchronized swimming and is an Age Group swimmer. She has to do four figures: the Walkover Back, Porpoise Spinning 360, Barracuda, Spinning 180, and Flamingo, bent knee. Each level has different figures, progressively more difficult. This afternoon she will be in a duet, to the song “Fireworks” and tomorrow we’ll have the solo routines, team routines and awards.

We flew back to Seattle from Palm Springs yesterday afternoon. Four days there, with the Beau and the Extroverted Feeler playing golf in the morning while I helped the Introverted Thinker practice her routine by banging on the pool ladder with a serving fork. We had the music with us, but of course the little kidney shaped hotel pool does not have an underwater speaker. I played the music on the laptop and banged the time out on the ladder. The sound transmits down the ladder and underwater, so that the Introverted Thinker can work on precise timing even without an underwater speaker. Two days ago she started practice at 8 am but yesterday we waited until 10, because there were other people staying at the motel.

The motel: Ruby Montana’s Coral Sands Inn. Fabulous. 1950s all rehabbed pink concrete adobe bricks, the little pool in the courtyard and only 7 rooms. We had two, one with a kitchen. Ruby had a store with those 1940s and 50s collectible salt and pepper shakers in Seattle for 25 years, so the place was decorated with wonderful things. We had the Yippee Ki Yo Ki Yay Rodeo Suite and the kids had the Yiddish Cowgirl Suite, decorated with vintage cowgirl rodeo posters and Gene Autrey photos. Ruby directed us to a restaurant the first night; we had to go back because they were out of Ruby’s lemon meringue pie. Ruby has four Chihuahuas. Gina Lollabridgeda, who goes by Lolla, was the most friendly. On our second day, the Chihuahuas had stiff spikey fur: when she makes the pies, the meringue drips when they are cooling and the dogs stand underneath and catch it with their tongues. And their fur. Another noder tells me that Chihuahuas were bred to hang in saddlebags and make a lot of noise if a stranger was thinking of stealing the horse. Lola and her fellow Chihuahuas were determined to notify Ruby whenever it appeared that someone might try to steal the pool. By day three, I had the honor of patting 3 of the 4. The fourth was a rescue and still a bit suspicious of everyone.

Once we heard that Ruby made lemon meringue pie, we had a new goal, but did not immediately accomplish it. We went to a wonderful Mexican restaurant on day 2 and couldn’t finish everything. We did not have desert. Driving back to the hotel, the Introverted Thinker suggested that we go to the day one restaurant for pie. “You said you were full,” said the beau. “There’s always room for pie.” said the Introverted Thinker. We decided that that was our new family motto. Day Three we were determined to try that pie. We called the restaurant to see when we could get pie: not until 4 pm. The guys played golf at some early hour, while the IT practiced routines and land drilled. Then we went to find a real pool so that the Introverted Thinker could do her 2000+ yards. I did 1000 and the ET did about 800 and admitted that indeed, “the little stinker is fast.” His sister blew by him. He was on swim team for a couple of years about 6 years ago.. We all went for a switchback hike up behind the Palm Springs Desert Museum. As a parent, hikes with kids consist of years of carrying, cajoling and encouraging them, and then overnight they run up the hill and want to know why adults, particularly their parents, are so slow and old. If there was a period that we hiked at the same rate, I missed it. We got back down at about 5:30 and headed for the restaurant. We started with an “A-pie-tizer”. Lemon meringue pie all around. Other diners looked on with astonished envy. None of us could finish the main course after that, but we really did not care. And yes, the pie was worth it.

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