Monday, August 1 2022

fast summer, fighting sticks, and the hammock

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. The sun is up. The kids are wide awake. According to my calculations, it's Monday, and it's time to get going with another work week. Are you feeling ready to get busy again? I'll be the first to admit that my heart's not in it yet, but I'm hoping that with enough coffee, I can just fake myself out into starting off this week.

Speaking of starting off new things, did you know it was the first day of August? This has felt like the fastest summer we've ever experienced. At first I thought this was uniquely our family's experience after moving in June and spending the whole month of July trying to get settled. But all the neighbors I met at Dave and Pam's wine party yesterday enthusiastically agreed - the summer of 2022 has been the fasted summer we've ever seen. It's sad to think about warm weather, late nights, and family time vanishing so quickly, but I have to admit the "fast summer" made for excellent small talk at the party. It's the kind of topic you can use to really galvanize a backyard full of strangers and loose acquaintances.


We're the Bonnie and Clyde of party smalltalk

I can decry the sudden onset of August and the waning of summer all I want, but it doesn't change things. The work day is still starting, and we have no choice but to put on our adult pants and just drink coffee until we feel like working. Raise your mugs to August first, everyone.

Sip. It felt like we slid into this weekend too quickly. My Thursday was derailed with fire-fighting and incidents. It quickly turned into one of those days where I didn't leave my chair. On the tail end of a five hour long zoom call, Derek and I commiserated about the whirlwind of a work day.

"I need to... go stare at a wall and drool for a while," said Derek.

"I can't believe it's already five - that day was a blur," I laughed. "I don't even remember eating lunch."

The work emergency swallowed up my whole Thursday, but Marissa and the boys went on to have a busy day of their own. Rodney attended the first installment of Ninja Gymnastics at the park district. "It's not very intense," explained Marissa. Nothing really "ninja" about it, the class just seems like an excuse to let kids run around a gym, and maybe get some boys interested in gymnastics. But Rodney had fun, and that's what counts. Marissa filled up her camera roll with lots of sweet slow motion action videos.

We were expecting guests that night. Our friends Ben and Beth were passing through town, and they kindly agreed to pay us a visit. Marissa baked cookies and cheese cake.


Ben set up at our kitchen bar and made us gin cocktails. Mysterious concoctions poured over ice, shaken with egg white, stirred with lemon peels, it's amazing how a good cocktail can tow the line between a sophisticated statement and a boozy, melted Popsicle.

In other happenings of the weekend, Marissa and I spent a day outside in yard work. Marissa mowed and fertilized the grass. I bundled and bagged more brush. As a byproduct of the work, we left a stack of stripped, sturdy fighting sticks for the boys to play with.


Remember when I brutalized our gutter with a U-haul? We opened a new pair of metal sheers and successfully wrestled out the twisted pieces of debris. We also bought some supplies to repair the missing segment, but it became clear that we were out of our depth with this type of repair.

"Hey, I think there's a hole in your gutter," teased my neighbor Dave.


Later at the neighborhood party, I offered up my mishap with the gutter for banter. "It's definitely not the first," laughed Dave. "One of their boys took out the brick, and ever since they weren't allowed to park all the way up the driveway."

Marissa and I also fulfilled a lifelong dream. We finally have a hammock in our backyard. Naps in the shade, gazing at stars, or maybe even watching a thunderstorm roll in - picturing all these moments, we had severely romanticized what owning a hammock would be like. Just climbing into a hammock and finding a comfortable seat is no easy feat..


Even Rodney, with all his learned ninja prowess, had trouble finding his center. The hammock brutally flung him to the ground.


I guess we just need more practice. That's what I got today - have a great week, everyone.