Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 26: All Summer in a Week

The week of honesty passed without much incident, I'm sad/happy to say. I always thought I told lots of social-lubricant type lies, but maybe I don't, or maybe I just didn't need to this past week. It got so that I reminded Peter about my week's challenge yesterday morning as we woke up. We had an interesting discussion about the kids after that, but nothing earth-shattering.

The better, or at least juicier, challenge would be a week of admissions of all the horrible and awful and stupid things I've done in my life. Not telling about these things isn't lying if I'm not asked, and there are many things that virtually none of people I know would never think to ask about. When it comes to horrible and awful and stupid things, I run my life like a terrorist cabal -- no one knows everything about me. Not even Peter. But Peter had the opportunity to ask whatever he wanted, and really, he didn't grab the brass ring. And that's probably for the best. Perhaps my funeral will be interesting, if everyone decides to share. But wouldn't everyone's? No matter, though; there'll be no confessional week coming anytime soon.
And now it's week 26, when I will do one quintessentially summery thing a day. Summer, in Chicago, is unbelievably fleeting, especially for those who love summer, like me. You're in it before you know it and out of it before you took a breath. The activities I love most in the world -- gardening, going to the beach, eating, napping, watching baseball -- are either only done in summer or are best in summer, at least in Chicago. So right off the bat, we're talking about a state of being that I try best to prolong, to wring the most life out of. I suppose that a significant portion of this would be avoided if I were to move to, say, Southern California. But Chicago's my home. I don't know any better or more meaningful way to say it, because it just is and that's that. Although I'm not averse to a winter home in Calexico should the opportunity present itself.

I think, though I can't say for sure, that I get increasingly shrill and panicky as the summer goes on, because for as long as I can remember, every spring I have created a mental list of Things That Must Be Done for the summer. And come September, I've usually done like four of them, and I get this crazy intense worrying feeling that life is passing me by. It's Sunrise, Sunset all over the fucking place. The boy is a suddenly a man, a situation that could have been avoided with just one more trip to Navy Pier! Every year my list grows -- so in addition to "camp out in the backyard, catch fireflies, have a water balloon fight, build a bonfire, cook and eat breakfast on the beach, make homemade ice cream, dance outside, sleep outside, eat outside, get shitfaced outside, shower outside (this one calls for highly specific circumstances, I admit, but still), make s'mores, basically do anything and everything I can outdoors because before I know it, the tomato plants are brown, it's 2 degrees outside and I'm back to crockpot cooking and hating mankind" -- to all that, these days I am mentally adding "take kids on hiking trip, drive up Lake Shore Drive for no reason the way Dad used to do, throw a block party, plant a community garden" and then, inevitably, I tack on "just relax and enjoy the summer!" I find that my best relaxing is when half of my brain is screaming "you've already SEEN this episode of Community! GO OUTSIDE!" at the "blah, it's 8:30 and there are mosquitoes and all the ice cream is inside the house, anyway" part. Part of me is thinking that maybe if I document the small things I do this week, by the end of the summer I can look back and say, well, at least I didn't hose the WHOLE summer. If nothing else, I had one good week.

Tonight's activity: the jammie walk -- in temperate weather, just before Hannah's bedtime, Hannah gets dressed for bed and we all take the dog for a walk. This is one of those things that, when I do them, I think, hey, that was fun, the kids had a good time, it only took ten minutes, we should do this every day and be a nice family, like the ones in TV shows we don't watch. But then the next day, it's 8:30, Community's on, AJ's in the middle of another Red Dead Redemption marathon, and I find myself carefully avoiding the word "walk" lest the dog hear, 'cause then the jig would be up. Still, tonight, we walked. And you know what? It was cool and quiet outside, and the brief walk was refreshing. Hannah had a good time; she loves having our attention that way. And it only took ten minutes. Maybe we should do it every day.

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