Darth Fatso site, and think I posted over here. It also doesn't help that I've written two entire posts for this blog and then chose not to post them. (Trust me, I did you a favor.) To remedy this, I have come up with something extra special. I am going to reveal a secret. Oooooo. Ready?
I hate summer.
Phew, that felt good to get that off my chest. It ranks up there with my other secrets that make people wonder if I really am an American. You know? I hate baseball. I don't really like most dogs. I like to watch soccer and hockey. I'm not a fan of Elvis OR The Beatles. (Take THAT Quentin Tarantino.) I don't like ribs. Stuff like that. I hate summer. This isn't a surprise to my family or closest friends. I have a long and very vocal record of griping about summer. But some people may not really believe that I truly HATE it. Those people would be very wrong.
I have always hated summer. When I was a kid, when I should have been doing a happy dance and singing "School's Out for Summer," I was usually bummed out. You see, school is where I thrived. It was what made me - at least in my eyes. I was a big shot in school: the best grades, the respect of teachers, the best behavior, truckloads of awards, lots of friends. I loved school. But when summer came along? I felt exposed. The stuff that most people want to do during the summer did not appeal to me. I don't lay out due to rapid and severe sunburns. I hate the heat due to all the sweating. I didn't like wearing minimal clothes due to all the fatness. I feared the ocean due to the almost drowning (several times). I didn't like the beach due to the minimal clothes and ocean and heat - which led to the sweating, near drownings, and sunburns and showed off the fatness. I didn't like playing sports due to massive lack of coordination - and the sweating.
The heat was oppressive - basically ninety straight days over ninety degrees. And the humidity made it even worse - it usually hovered around ninety percent. Our house didn't have air conditioning, so it was absolutely brutal during the summer. We would open the windows to try to get some kind of cross breeze. (Yeah right. Any air blowing in felt like a moist hair dryer.) Then we had to run around the house when it would start raining to shut the windows. This turned the house into a hotbox - which, as any South Floridian knows, happened EVERY day between 2 and 4 pm. We had ceiling fans, which stirred up the muggy air. And then we would have little fans next to our beds for night time. Mmmm, refreshing.
In addition, we had next to no kids in our neighborhood. It was kind of strange, actually. It really wasn't until high school that I saw many of my friends outside of the school year - except for the one or two who went to my church. So it was basically just my brother, sister, and me trying to make it through the summer. We didn't travel (except for the summer after my seventh grade year when we went to cool and refreshing St. Pete Beach). We also never went to movies - so there wasn't even that distraction. And the only sport playing is baseball - which I can't stand. I mostly just sat around and read books, listened to records, and waited for school to start.
When my teen years rolled around, I no longer had to worry about boredom. Now I had the joy of the "summer job" to fill my time. My summer job was at Ponderosa Steakhouse as the salad bar attendant. Woot! Then I worked at AMC Theatres for two different summers. I also would help out at the church a lot during the summer. (That was fun - seriously it was.) I also had surgery twice over the summer and broke my foot in a different one.
Once college started, I had classes to keep me occupied. It was the best of both worlds at that point. Sure, it was summer. But I still had school. And the student activities I was involved in didn't stop during the summer. This began the Golden Age of summer for me. I had three summers in college, and then four working as a college minister, when I actually liked summer. As a college minister, summer was great. The students didn't have as many commitments. You could plan a whole mess of smaller activities, which were usually well attended - for a summer. That was even better - expectations were low, since it was summer. So if you had thirty people show up for something, everyone was thrilled. Whereas during the year, thirty people would get you insulted during staff meeting.
When I became a working stiff, summer was kind of just there. There usually would be a week of vacation to break up the monotony - which was nice. Even if it was at the beach, at least it wasn't work. So that was nice. Working at a church later as the graphic designer, summer was pretty busy most of the time. There was a lot of prep for the fall in the student ministries - so that meant projects. And there was a lot of stuff needing created for camps and such - which meant projects. But there also were a lot of vacations by the ministers, which meant less work. I actually preferred having work to do. (Remember, this is the same person who preferred school.)
Now that my kids are in school, summer has again become the dreaded time of year. Not only am I trying to find things to do. Now I have three little people who are also going stir crazy in the house. They want to get out and do things. But the same ugly elements of heat and sun still exist. Last summer we had ten days straight over 100 degrees. You don't take kids out in that kind of heat. Like I said last year, taking three kids to the store to kill time is just irresponsible. They have all this pent up energy. Next thing you know they are racing around Publix, running into meat department employees. But without the structure of school, the days seem daunting.
My kids are not too different from me, either. Both of them cried on the last day of school - sad to leave their friends and teachers. They were looking forward to summer, but are already bored. If I had to guess, they are about two weeks away from wanting to go back to school. They are waking up at seven each morning - they don't even want to sleep in. And the freedom to lay around and do nothing will become irritating before too long. Natalie already is tired of it. [None of this is even taking into account the depression that I battle last summer, due to the mind-numbing boredom of it all.]
We have some basic plans to generate things to do. I talked about some of this in my second Lost post a few weeks ago. The kids have projects to do this summer. Josiah is creating a comic book. Natalie is creating a scrapbook. We are going to try to go to the playground in the early morning, before it gets too oppressively hot. And there are some trips to break up the monotony. Even so, the summer is going to be a challenge - as always. Unless there are some ways to cool the great outdoors and end sunburns and heat stroke, summer is always going to be rough. Only 76 days until school starts!!!