I have a kid on the couch, clad only in a towel because clothes bring unbearable pain.

My wife had to make serious fashion sacrifices this morning, thanks to the angry scarlet rectangles on her back.

I just finished sweeping loose, flaking skin from my arm.

That's right -- the neighborhood pool is open.

Despite most of my family annually suffering various degrees (mostly first) of sunburn, the weekend the community pool opens is always a big deal. It's a great time to see neighbors who may or may not have been hibernating the past six months. It's a grand opportunity for the kids to come together with their friends in one of the few environments they all love that doesn't require my wife and me to sell our blood for money.

(Chris Ware/MCT)

All about loud

And, yes, it's the time when my loud children likely irritate the neighbors with their screaming. One can't simply say "Marco" (or, for that matter, "Polo") to fellow competitors mere feet away without enough volume to drown out a 747.

We were alerted to the big opening by a notice from the property manager's office, outlining the rules for the pool (I was surprised they didn't send us multiple copies for emphasis). As usual, I scanned the 24 stated rules (gratefully noting there was nothing about using flamethrowers in the designated pool area), agreeing with most, disagreeing with a few, and openly chuckling at one or two. If they really believe it's necessary to stipulate that cans with pull-tabs are barred, then I want to borrow their time machine and go back to 1972 to have a chat with my 5-year-old self.

Of course, I'm disappointed that no motorized vehicles are allowed in the pool area, as I spent most of the winter preparing for my annual chopper jump over the deep end.

My new hippo is disappointed over the "no animals" edict; a few of my friends will be as well, when they find out they can't swim here anymore.

Signs of the times

I wasn't exactly surprised to see the rule specifying that "Any person having sores, eye or nose inflammation or any communicable disease is prohibited from using the pool." Just a few weeks ago, they hung a big sign on the fence saying, "Persons having currently active diarrhea or who have had active diarrhea within the previous 14 days shall not be allowed to enter the pool water."

No, really. True story.

And why the "Swimming suits must be worn. No cutoffs allowed" rule? I mean, obviously no one cares more about fashion than I do, but come on -- what if a teenager comes through the time machine from 1972 and needs to cool off?

They ask that everyone shower before entering the pool, because "Oils, creams, lotions, and perspiration cause pool, scum and filter problems." Oh. So we shouldn't put sunblock on our kids? And no one's allowed to perspire? I'm not sure this one is realistic. Not only have I become decidedly pro-sunscreen, I'm also a 45-year-old guy who occasionally gets winded while getting the mail. I started perspiring just typing that last sentence.

Otherwise, I'm all for solid rules. It's going to be a fun summer -- as long as my hippo can manage to stay in the bathtub.

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.