I went 135 miles to get into an outdoor public pool today. One way.

That essentially was my day, a road trip to Leavenworth, Washington, a pseudo-Bavarian tourist town in the mountains that features exactly what you would expect: taffy, ice cream, knick-knacks, cottage architecture, an oom-pah yodeling band playing in the park, more taffy, bratwurst, beer, terrible art displayed at an “art show,” a hat store, a toy store, a pastry store, more ice cream, perhaps you would like some taffy, and lots of people walking around buying the stuff in the stores and thinking about when they can drink more beer. It reminded me of Germantown, WI. (clever name, eh?) which is essentially the exact same thing as Leavenworth except for no mountains and the addition of lots of cheese. We originally had planned to drive west to the ocean for the day, but turned and headed east when it quickly became clear that the weather at the beach was going to be cloudy and chilly, and Leavenworth was sunny and near 80 degrees. That’s a no-brainer for me, who needs no further instruction in clouds and chill. I wish I liked taffy, though.

After the long and pretty drive through the mountains, passing mounds of snow still remaining on the side of the road in places, people selling salmon jerky (yes, salmon jerky) at the side of the road, a very long big river with whipping rapids that I would be extremely unhappy to fall into, and a curious turn-off for the “Iron Goat Interpretation Site,” we arrived in Leavenworth, lucked into a parking spot, and MissSix and Mr11 immediately began harping for STUFF. Two lemonades, two bouncy house rides, two climbing wall climbs, one piece of fudge, one snickerdoodle cookie, two brats, and NO shiny green hat with several stuffed snakes coming out of the top of it, we had pretty much done the town. But we had packed swimsuits and towels in anticipation of beach, and it just so happened that the City Of Leavenworth Public Pool was opening this very weekend. There really isn’t anything that pleases the kids more than a municipal pool filled with the leaking swim diaper urine of many infants, so we made our way over.

It had been a awhile time since I had been to an outdoor pool. You forget just how many people can and do jam into a pool, where it is so crowded that there is not so much swimming going on as avoiding getting clocked by some kicking foot or having a maniac five-year-old cannonball on your head. But still, the weather was beautiful, the water was warm (don’t think of the pee, don’t think of the pee, I kept saying to myself), and of course the people-watching is always interesting. Tribes of young teenage girls who never actually go in the pool, toddlers in giant elaborate floating swimsuits who can barely walk without tipping over, the Incredibly Massive Fat Dude who displaces half the water of the pool, lots of hovering moms and dads of various ages and shapes and tans or lack of tans, the newly-appointed and vigilant lifeguardettes, and me, Shlub Mom in an Italian swimsuit that would look better on That One Really Fit Mom Over There.

The best view of the day, which for me is always the Jaw-Dropper View, came from Tat Girl. If I were truly evil, I would have taken her picture but you will have to settle for a description, the Lesser Evil. Tat Girl was maybe about 21 or so, and about 250 pounds of wavy dimpled jiggle, pouring over a very very very too-small red-and-white striped bikini. This would almost be enough if not for her four tattoos: one arm with some cascade of chemical symbols on it; the other arm with a trail of musical notes that led up to a lopsided grand piano on her back; the requisite snake + flowers design on the back of her left calf; and, AND, the best – a very large black pistol tattooed on her stomach, pointing down as if to look like it would be tucked into her waistband. Aaahhhhh. Very nice, Miss, very nice. I spend a few seconds thinking WHY GOD WHY, and then realize I will never come up with a sufficient answer other than "there is no god," and walk over to buy a couple of bottled waters from a girl who has to look up their price.

Taking a very close Second Place to Tat Girl was Mr. Euro, who entered the pool with a ponytail, disturbingly-supple manboobs on his thin body, and a light blue Speedo containing apparently the smallest package on an adult male possible. This guy made George Costanza look like Ron Jeremy. Oh, sir. Sir, sir, sir.

On the plus side, the crowd was a good crowd: mellow and unscreechy and smiley. Everyone was happy the pool was open again, the sun was warm and comforting, and their bellies were full of taffy. Pounds and pounds of delicious salmon taffy.

I could have stayed there until the sun went down, pink and peed-on, happy as can be, but it was time to make the 135 miles happen the other way. About halfway back home, we stopped at The Reptile Zoo, saw a bunch of cool snakes and an alligator and a bird-eating spider and I laughed when the monitor lizard that was coming over to eat MissSix fell off his window and looked pissed.

Good day.