It's one thing to be splashed by people playing in a pool, but by a skier? And we don't mean a water skier …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: For Red, summers and swimming pools conjures up images of fun and cooling off from the heat, a time of leisure, and screams of delight from all ages; but Black's not into relaxing, and all the pool "noise" makes it difficult to concentrate while reading, yet we did agree that we never expected a pool to be used for this ...


Now, to be fair (pun intended), Red prefers to avoid the sun, but that doesn't mean she hasn't seen plenty of sports taking place in a pool, especially since her younger daughter played competitive (indoor) school and club volleyball in high school, and would take those athletic skills (and others) into the pool. Although Sawyer would sometimes keep that "secret" to herself,

It didn't surprise me to see Sawyer jump into the pool and head straight to the impromptu water volleyball game in progress. And, although she was a versatile volleyball player who played various positions, I watched with curiosity as she let the older kids and adults show her how to handle the ball as if this was her first time playing. She went to serve (usually her strong suit) and … nothing. She barely made contact with the ball. Encouraged by the others to try again, she glanced my way, gave me a smile, and then … well, the Sawyer serve from competitive volleyball was now on display. To continue for many hours.

But pools and "surprises" are dots Black wouldn't typically connect. Although, over the years, she has seen some incredible pools in various travel magazines, and "swimming with sharks" or finding yourself in a glass-bottom pool that's suspended 29 floors high might be considered surprising. Or even shocking.

But our most recent pool "surprise" arrived via an Axios sports newsletter (Black is addicted to Axios), and coming off the Summer Olympics, Red thought Black's email might be another "feel good" story. Which, in a way, it was, although it had nothing to do with sportsmanship and everything to do with a new training facility for Australian winter athletes that can operate year-round. And when Black saw the image of the 121-foot-high water ramp,

I often wondered how aerial skiers and snowboarders practiced their maneuvers without risking their necks – and lives. Obviously, it requires skill, determination, courage, and a healthy respect for the risk involved. But, I never realized it also requires the ability to swim.

This name comes with a warning ...

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Yes, climate’s a “hot” topic, but summer has only started (marked by the summer solstice), and Red’s already whining about the heat, while Black considersthe logic of naming heat waves. (Really! But it’s not her idea.)

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Ok, let’s be clear (pun intended) … Communication is critical. Whether in your personal life or in business, not to mention communication skills are transferable between the two (Black even suggested Red hold family “business” meetings). And what better time to work on how we communicate, and maybe even have a new attitude toward vocabulary and “50-cent words” (Red loves those, but terminology scares her!?), than during Effective Communications Month.

Talking isn't the same as communicating. And hearing isn't the same as listening. Think about it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Being an effective communicator, whether in our personal lives or at work, is a critical skill but one-size-doesn't-fit-all as we each use very different methods and styles … ranging from lots of words and talking stuffed animals (Red) to bullet points and racing flags (Black).

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Most workaholics can rationalize working all the time. At least to themselves.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: “Gizmos” already blurred the lines between the workweek and the weekend, but the WFH (working from home) “revolution” caused by the pandemic has destroyed the line; except for people like Black, who have always treated every day as a workday.

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