Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Crabby Cave Dwelling Mom vs. Swimming Lessons

Last January we found this lovely place for Iggy and Ooky to take swimming lessons. We loved the teacher, daytime class sizes were tiny, and it was never busy. It was a-w-e-s-o-m-e.

And then came summer.

The plan was to take one more session of lessons and then be done for awhile. Iggy and Ooky are past the point of buzzin' through their lessons and are at a place where whatever skills they pick up in a lesson will have to sink in for sometime before they would "pass" another level. So we'd figure out what skills they needed to work on, and then stop official lessons and spend our own time working on those skills. I'm not one to pay someone else to oversee my kids reviewing things that just take time to figure out.

So today, we walk into our first lesson of the new session, expecting things to be just as they were before. You know, one class in the pool....six kids, very minimal stress...

Yeah. Right.

We have seven classes going on at the same time. There are so many parents and kids watching the swimming lessons that I don't know if I can (or should) sit down anywhere. I have no clue where the kids teacher is. There is no indication of where level whatever is. Everyone is walking around looking totally lost.

I find the lifeguard, who I have talked to many times before, who smiles at me and says "Welcome to summer lessons." She tells me where she thinks Ooky's lessons are. Iggy and I sit. We are next to a table and decide we probably aren't going to be able to play cards like usual. Its hard to do that when there are kids climbing on and sitting on top of it. There are kids behind us walking between the glass wall and the line of chairs against it. All the moms are calling kids and yelling at kids and freaking out at kids and wondering where kids are and yadda yadda.

Focus on the pool, shall we? Some upper level class who is working on the backstroke (I think) is kind of jumbled up because some lower level class just had a bunch of kids jump in the pool over the top of the kids who are backstroking. And no one looked too concerned. Me, I'm seriously wondering if I'm in the right place.

Iggy's class is after Ooky's class and its another hour of acid bubbling in my stomach and crawling up my throat. Not necessarily because I was worried something bad was going to happen (even though it could have), it was more along the lines of feeling like we were a room full of cattle, being pushed through the swimming lesson thing as fast as we could so someone could make some serious ching.

After the lesson, we waited in line for 15 minutes to get into the locker room to change. And some of us couldn't wait in line like actual adults. We had to, dare I say, cut in line and rush for the door when someone was done! Iggy had to use the bathroom but couldn't because some yahoo decided the family style bathroom would be a good place to change her four kids. Nevermind that if you're in there, no one else can pee!

Whatever. I kept my cool. And when I got home, I made a phone call to this establishment. Below is a very brief summary of what happened.
Me: Your summer lessons are stressful and totally lame.
Them: You can't cancel. No refunds.
Me: You could keep my money in your account and I will use it in fall or winter when I don't have to trip over a thousand people on my way to the pool.
Them: Nope, sorry.
They then insinuated that I was irresponsible for signing up for classes and wanting to cancel when there were so many people who were sitting on a waiting list right now. But then when I said I would gladly trade my summer spot for one in fall, they said "And who would we get to take your spot?"


So dear buddies of blogland, what would you do? Eat the $66 you paid for lessons and pull the kids, or figure out a way to stick it out? We have seven lessons left (one month, twice a week.) Is my sanity worth something, or is this more about sticking with something we committed to? Am I an over sensitive homeschooler, or someone who "gets it"?

And WHY is the world obsessed with fastquickeverythingrightnow and thinking that they have to do things a certain way even though the stress that accompanies it is ridiculous?

Perhaps its just another reason we chose to homeschool. To be out of all that.


Sherry said...

We had a similar situation, but G made the decision for us when he REFUSED to get in the pool. :) We lost the money but all were happy.

We had another experience like this with Kindermusik when he was younger. His first set of classes were amazing!--4 kids/4 moms/1 awesome teacher. He loved it! Second set of classes--what seemed like 20 kids/20 parents/a different teacher (who didn't have a clue). We suffered through this because I didn't want to "lose" the money. I totally regret it and hope I don't ever let money rule my decisions again.

Jennifer said...

I know just what you mean :o) I used to have to pay $25 a crack for each of Peyton's aqua therapy sessions as my co-payment. There were a few times when she could hardly get around because half the school from next door was over there to have their recess time!
I also hate the dressing room because there is 1 handicapped dressing room and it's always full.
For you, I'd suggest going into the women's locker room, take a sharp right into the bathroom stall part, and use the big handicapped bathroom stall for the boys to change. Just have them close their eyes as they come in, lol.
Next week come and sit down on my end, it's much more peaceful and you can see the kids better :o)
Hang in there - it'll go fast :O) Once it gets nice out half of the kids probably won't even be there.

Stephanie said...

The Rat Race. :)
I don' wanna be a rat.
I don't even like rats.

Ruralmama said...

Ick. I would be white-knuckling it with you in the corner.

I'd push the issue with the center--if they've got a waiting list, they shouldn't have a problem getting someone else to fill your spot and then you can wait until it's reasonable there. Honestly, if the center knows you they should understand that you won't want to put up with that garbage. Public school mentality!

It's not just a question of sanity, it sounds like a question of safety.

mamak said...

I would go one more time and sit with Jennifer and see if it's do-able. If you are still in hatin' mode. JUST. DITCH. I have made the monetary commitment mistake. It is not worth it, it's just money. Think of the gas to get to place to experience horribleness, and your valuable time that you will never get more of in this life time. Ditchy ditch ditch...

Love 2B Homeschoolers said...

I'd write a letter sickeningly sweet to management/owner stating that you have always been so happy with their service that you expect them to follow through with that and just give you a credit till the fall.

If you paid by credit card, you can also call the card folks and tell them that you were not properly notified of how many children were in the class, and due to false advertising you feel you are entitled to a refund...maybe they'll help you out.

We have a love/hate relationship with summer. We have school friends we love to catch up with, but hate how crowded everything is :-(

MamaTea said...

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. We did end up going to the following class, and I don't know WHAT happened, but the environment was totally different. There was only three classes going on the entire time we were there, kids were more spread out, there weren't any safety issues like last time...we were starting to wonder if maybe someone had said something to Someone. Or maybe enough people had said something to Someone. Also, not all the classes that were there were full (like last time) because apparently when the sun shines, you skip out of lessons (like Jennifer said) and do something else. Anyhow...I think we're going to stick it out for this batch of lessons and then be done. If nothing else, I can view our time there as a reminder of why we chose to homeschool. :)