Sunday, January 31, 2016

Going solo at the beach or pool... safety tips from the cynical Mum

Going to the beach/ pool by yourself (and your young toddlers) on these hot days?

When I had my two year old son, my other half was going up to the Sunshine Coast for a job interview (my favourite place on earth), so it seemed like a great idea for my toddler and I to swim while he was doing the biz.

What a day that turned out to be.

I packed all my toddler and Mummy essentials: food, water, fresh clothes, sleepy love-love toys, mobile phone, wallet to buy food, keys to the house/ car..... I considered the risks of taking all these valuables but thought I had no other choice, and thought I was hyper-vigelent enough for it not to be an issue.

And we headed off to Mooloolaba - beautiful, popular, criminal ridden playground of Australia's eastern coast.

Calmer times, with bag safely tucked under arm

I plonked up the front of the breakers with my Mammoth Mummy bag brimming with essentials, and wadded in the shallows with my stealing delight of pent up boy toddler- frequently turning back to see if my bag - only metres away - was safe where I left it.

I then turned to lift my delighted toddler boy from the ravages of a rogue white wave, turned back and - bag - she was gone.

I thought... "No - I've misplace it???"

But then I thought, no, you freaking fool, no, just ask - just yell.....


The general population of the beach sheepishly looked up, and a few lovely Mums rushed over and said, "A woman in black jeans just ran over and grabbed it, she was looking around so we thought she knew you..."


I had nothing but my kinis, and my two year old.


A woman offered to look after my son because I may have mentioned I was going to hunt the bitch down....  but, I politely declined the well intentioned offer (my son, after all, is irreplaceable).

And I ran, with my two year old, up and down the main street until I hailed down the local boys, and gave them the description.

I asked them if they had the "Find my phone app...." but blank gazes told me, "No."

So I gave them my other half's phone number (unanswered due to important biz stuff) and told them to haunt. And I also hunted.  Offenders will always run to the left.  Almost always.  And I was later to find out she did.

I then ran to the bank with my toddler (in togs) to beg for cards to be cancelled, and begged for drinks of water (it was 35 degrees and climbing).

I then jogged to the nearby Police shop front and asked if we could sit in the air con and try phone numbers.

In the mean time, the magic of my smart, muscled, sexy father of child was contacted and launched 'Find my phone.'  And he found my phone - metres away from the left hand turn where I had been looking in an industrial bin that had been emptied only hours earlier.

They then found her.  She had used my money for methadone.  I never got my money back.  But I got my wallet and keys (and baby sleepy love-love toys).

And now you must benefit from this story.....
Here's my red hot safety tip....
DON'T PACK UP YOUR BELONGINGS (keys/ wallet/ phone/ towel) in one ONE BAG.

It is too easy for a grub to run along and pinch in one heart breaking blow: and then you are completely screwed.

1. Leave what valuables you can in your locked glove box.
2. Put your keys/ phone in a waterproof ziplock bag {there are also safes that you can buy to secret on your car marketed to surfers to stow their keys}.
3. Bring only a small amount of money absolutely needed if you can't walk back to your car - never your wallet. Never.
4. Put big less valuable items like clothing and towels in your big bag.
5. Look around at the population for potential threats - people wearing jeans and a hoodie aren't there for the refreshing recreation.
6. Hide/ bury your keys/ phone under sand/ foliage if you are swimming.
7. If there is a nice family nearby, let them know you are going for a swim and ask (very nicely) if they might mind keeping an eye on your stuff - for every arsehole there is out there, there are so many kind, decent people. (Insert heart filled with love here).
8. If you look and see your stuff is missing - don't be embarrassed - yell at the top of your voice "Did someone take my bag????" Grubs have an advantage of you looking around like a dork, thinking you are going crazy. And hey - if you did just misplace it, you got to have a good yell and got rid of some adrenalin.
9. Remember - people get taken advantage of due to 'embarrassment'. If something is wrong let people know!
10. Minimise risk! Recognise, Assess, Vocalise, Engage or Escape.

Nobody wants a personal protections specialist that never has anything 'real life' happen to her, fortunately, I learn from my mistakes...

RAVES Self Defence

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