Trying not to suck at summer

I suck at summer. I like structure and have somehow managed to raise structure-loving kids. They would prefer to be in school. I would prefer for them to be in school. Instead, half of us spend our days struggling to stay busy (them), while I sacrifice my getting-shit-done time trying to keep them that way. Every year when August rolls around, I marvel at the fact that we might actually make it through.

It’s not all bad. We benefit from a very sunny garden and through no skill on our part, somehow manage to grow all sorts of good food in the summer. It’s magical. When I can tear myself away from brokering peace in the living room, it’s fun to experiment with different ways to use our fruits and vegetables.

Summer foods

Fig bruschetta and peach-rhubarb crisp

Fun, that is, until it becomes overwhelming keeping up with everything that decides to ripen at exactly the same time. Thank god for neighbors who don’t mind the produce dump on their doorstep.

There’s also nothing better than showing off the beautiful Pacific Northwest to visitors in the summer. We were lucky enough to have family from the East Coast in town for a few days last week, and made the most of their stay touring Pike Place Market and enjoying the benefits of life on Bainbridge Island. Cousins totally rock.

Summer 2016

And every so often we manage to carve out some moments of peace. Two weeks ago the stars aligned and we spent a lovely afternoon in West Seattle, taking the water taxi across Elliott Bay and walking along the water to Alki Beach. A casual lunch at Blue Moon Burgers provided the perfect summertime fuel for the walk back to the boat.

Summer break fun

But then there’s regular life. I’m mystified by those who don’t want summer to end. What are they doing that I’m not? When I run into friends and acquaintances who bemoan the passing of their summer break, I smile and nod like I totally know what they’re talking about. But I’m lying. I’m at my wits’ end mediating fights between bored children. I can’t form a coherent thought in my head about any of my own concerns, and waffle between my commitment to benign neglect and cruise director-type planning to mitigate the whining and bickering of an unfilled day.

And then there’s the weather. Obviously sunny skies trump the rain of the fall, winter and spring seasons around here. But it’s freaking hot out there. My ideal running temperature range falls between 35°F and 55°F. To me, 70°F heat is scalding and only adds to the misery of an already hard workout. Aren’t mile repeats bad enough as it is? Clearly, I suck at summer.

So the next time you see me and I say some sort of socially acceptable pleasantry about the summer break, call me out. I don’t mean it. What I’m really doing is desperately counting down the minutes until the start of school. Yes, I’m making every effort to have as much fun as everyone around me seems to be having, but let’s call a spade a spade. Bring on the fall.

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