I have had an exceptionally fun Friday. It started off with working on my front flower bed this morning. I dug up some dead bushes the landscapers planted when our house was built. I knew those water loving, non-heat tolerant bushes would be gone soon. After I dug them up, I drove down to my nearest local nursery, It's About Thyme, to get two small pots of plumbago. But they just got bought out of all their small pots and only had two huge pots left. I decided to pass and drove over to the Natural Gardener on Old Bee Caves Road to see if they might have some. I have never been to this local nursery but have heard lots about them. All good things. So I drove down Old Bee Caves Road not knowing where it was or how far I would have to go. I just assumed it would be there on one side of the road eventually. And it was. This is my next favorite local nursery. It was amazing and extensive. As I drove in there were small pots of plumbago sitting right there. I knew I was at the right place. Of course I bought more than I originally intended but only one pot of a standing Lantana and two tiny pots of Mexican Heather. All for the front flower bed. This place is great for kids. There were a couple moms there walking their children around. They have a butterfly garden, a tee pee, a labyrinth, donkeys, chickens, goats and tons of stuff to look at and lots of stuff to learn about. All the staff were super nice.
I headed back home to finish my flower bed. I got everything planted and covered the flower bed with rubber mulch. Rubber mulch is made from old recycled tires so it's environmentally friendly and it lasts 15 years longer than normal tree based mulch. It holds moisture in better and doesn't attract bugs like termites, etc. And it looks fabulous. The whole flower bed looks way better than it did before. Anything looks better than dead bushes.
After a quick bite to eat, I headed up to Barton Springs pool. I have a triathlon this Sunday in New Braunfels and I wanted to practice open water swimming. It wasn't that I wanted to actually swim but just expose myself to open water in all it's creepiness. You see, I have issues with not knowing what's under water I can't see and things touching me. I don't know where this fear has developed because I grew up swimming in some of the nastiest watering holes you could imagine. I didn't care about what was in the water as long as I got to swim in it. Cow and horse manure didn't bother me. Fish didn't bother me. Even snakes in the water didn't bother me. Those we just got out until they passed us by then we jumped right back in.
The only time I have ever been uneasy about open water was on our cruise in March of 2007 while we were on a snorkeling excursion in Grand Cayman. One of our snorkel stops was swimming with stingrays. I was super excited and thought it was going to be really cool. But the weather was not good and caused the seas to be really choppy. Actually the weather was so bad, the cruise ship canceled all it's water excursions for the day. Of course we booked our excursion through the boat operator and they were still going. And this was just after Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, was pierced through the heart and killed by a stingray. Everyone on the boat kept talking about it. Before getting in the water with the stingrays, we got the lecture about shuffling our feet in the sand to walk so as to not step on the stingrays because that's how you get barbed by one. All this time our boat is bouncing up and down all over because of the choppy seas. They even had a hard time anchoring our boat because the seas were so choppy. As we descended the ladder into the water, the stingrays were every where. All around us, all under our feet. The water would pick you up and then bring you back down and underneath you would be this huge freaking stingray. And they were big! I held onto Roger as tight as I could. I was actually pissed at myself for being scared. I'm not usually like that. I withstood it for about 5 minutes when we all assembled into a circle for another lecture, then I told Roger I couldn't take it any more. I made a B line back to the boat. Every time the water would pick me back up and bring me down near a stingray I would shriek and grab onto any man who was near me. I didn't care who's husband or boyfriend he was. I finally made it back to the boat. I wasn't happy that I was scared, but I felt better in that boat. I really wished the weather would have been better because the boat crew told us normally the water comes to your waist and you can walk around no problem. Not this time. Maybe we'll have to go back one day.
So back in April I did a sprint distance triathlon at Aquarena Springs. All the notes about the swim leg of the triathlon said the hydrilla was really bad but they would do everything they could to get it cut back for us. I didn't think anything of it. Until I got in the water at the start of the race. Wearing goggles, I could see so clearly under the water all the way to the bottom. And my goggles were magnifying everything. I swear that hydrilla was all the way up to the top of the water. And the first time I felt it touch me, I freaked out. Literally. I could feel panic building up over me. Of course this is happening as I am swimming. I tried to calm myself saying, "You can do it Holly" and "Snap out of it Holly". Then the lady who I had been having a pleasant conversation in line with came swimming over the left side of me. Yeah, that didn't help. I kept swimming and kept trying to talk myself through it. It didn't work. I had to get out. I swam to the side and a lifeguard helped me out. Roger was there, (Taking pictures of course!) and he asked me what was wrong. I told him how I felt and what I was thinking and he said it reminded him of how I reacted with the stingrays. Darn stingrays!
Obviously I have an open water issue now. But I love doing triathlons. So my mission at Barton Springs pool today was just to expose myself a little more to my fears. I didn't do bad, but I didn't stay in very long. Not only was the water initially freezing cold (constant 68F), but I did get out eventually because I felt the panic. And it was kind of boring by myself. But I made myself swim to the other side of the pool before I got out. I think the more I do this the better I will get with open water swimming. Then I laid out in the sun on my beach towel reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for an hour. It was definitely refreshing swimming in the pool, but it got really hot outside (102F). So I went home to miss rush hour and take a shower because Roger and I are on our way to eat sushi with friends at DK Shushi. So the fun continues!