Wow! It’s July. How did that happen?
One might think that my lack of posts recently is attributable to writer’s block. The truth is that it’s quite the opposite. There’s been so much going on that I don’t really know where to start. I mean, there’ Syria and the various Supreme Court rulings and summer and and and…
Yeah, my commentary circuits have kind of shorted out on me, so I’m going to reboot by just sitting down and typing, so consider yourself warned. This will probably be an example of how not organize a commentary.
I’m going to go easy on myself and lay off the politics for now. There’s a lot I can say, but nothing terribly groundbreaking or original at the moment. Besides, it’s summer!
I know that’s a relative term. As I write, it is early afternoon and a cloudy 60 degrees (15 C, if I did the calculation correctly). I don’t know that I’d trade that for what’s going on in the Eastern US, but a little more sunshine would be nice.
I know, it’s early July, so I’ve got a couple of more weeks before a Pacific Northwest Summer kicks in, but as a native Angeleno, this is when Seattle’s gray canopy starts to get old, especially since we spent the afternoon debating whether we wanted to brave the rainy forecast to go to an Everett Aquasox baseball game last night. (We went, but the cloud deck caused the fireworks to go off at a lower altitude and made for really loud detonations, which scared the kids who, seem averse to loud noises that they do not make.)
I’ve been getting excited about summer this year. I think it’s because it’s Harry’s first real summer vacation. In the weeks leading up to the end of school, we’ve all become fans of Phineas and Ferb on The Disney Channel. The premise of the cartoon is a pair of step brothers who spend each summer day on some amazing feat of engineering (city-wide roller coaster, giant robot dog, giant treehouse robots, etc.) to make each day the best day ever for them and their neighborhood friends. Meanwhile, their pet platypus who is a secret agent battles an inept mad scientist. Hilarity ensues.
The kids are all good kids, even the bully. The mad scientist even has a love-hate relationship with the platypus. The writing is entertaining for parents while remaining appropriate for kids, a tough balance to strike. What I really like about the show is how positive it is about summer and about life. It embraces possibility and creativity and imagination, and those are things I want my kids to embrace…usually.
So, with a TV show cheerleading for summer, we set our plans in motion. The school year was extended by four days because of snow days in January.
(As an aside, if any of my LA friends are reading this, while there are many benefits to the mild winter in Southern California, we did lose out on snow days. As a parent, of course, a snow day is a headache of scrambling to find childcare and deciding whether to even brave the roads to go into work or to burn a sick or vacation day that will undoubtedly be needed later. As a kid, it’s a day off from school, sledding, making snowmen and angels, and all sorts of winter time fun. So to my LA friends, I can definitely say that we were robbed!)
Somehow, I knew this would happen as soon as we booked a campsite at the beach for the second weekend of summer. So, with the extended school days, we found ourselves scheduled to leave for camping on the Thursday that school let out.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. You see, you’ve never read stories about camping on this blog. There’s a reason for that. I haven’t done a whole lot. Yes, I can pitch a tent and start a fire and such. But as far as being equipped for living out doors, particularly with two small children, not so much.
Preparations for this trip proved the adage that camping is an inexpensive way to travel…the second time. We splurged on the tent, buying a ten person cabin that’s tall enough for me to stand in and sports a hinged door. Then came the other purchases: air mattresses, and sleeping bags (Annie didn’t have one and mine has gone AWOL), a camp stove and cooking gear, a hatchet and a Leatherman. We even went to Alissa’s parents’ to practice setting up the tent. It didn’t’ go well in the wind, but we got far enough to know what to do and that we needed heavier duty tent stakes. We also bought a car-top bag.
While this was going on, I had started playing with iMovie on my iPad and have decided that I want to chronicle our summer in film, and a vision for how it would begin had planted itself in my brain. Harry had a half day at school, so we were going to load the car while he was in school. Then we’d show up at the pickup area with a fully loaded car, complete with the roof carrier (there had even been talk of a trailer) ready to go with some appropriate music blaring from the car. He’d hop in the car, wave to his friends, and we’d be off. I was even formulating a list of video clips Alissa was supposed to obtain on me on the drive south. (Road signs, the Space Needle, Safeco Field, Mount Rainier, the Tacoma Dome, the state capitol, etc.) They would be worked into a road trip montage.
Alas, it was not to be. The weather on the coast was looking pretty rainy. We were going with friends, one of whom is a diehard camper, and she recommended an alternate plan, which ended up being Alissa’s parents’ house and its park-like environs. We changed our plan to downgrade our degree of roughing it to accept the hospitality of our hosts and the use of their kitchen. Essentially, we saved the outdoor cooking component for our August trip. That will have its own set of issues when we have to figure out how to transport all the food and cooking supplies, but that’s a problem for a different day.
Besides, we were not even close to ready to leave by the time school let out, and we needed a stop at the Lost and Found, so Alissa took Annie to get Harry from school while I worked on loading the car. We had lunch at home, and then we hit the road.
So my cinematic vision of the start to summer did not come to fruition, but we were on our way, nonetheless.
To be continued…