By: Marie Force
Summertime is a pain the rear. There. I said it. Now I feel better. I live in southeastern New England, which means about eight to ten weeks of really pristine weather per year. That's it. So the pressure to make the most of it is enormous. It starts right around Memorial Day with weekly cookouts, beach trips, boat outings, summer sailing camp for the kids, and generally just go, go, go. All of which makes someone who is usually a daily writer quite cranky because days go buy in the chaotic mix of summer during which absolutely nothing gets written.
Now those of you who are landlocked or sweating it out in one California valley or the other are probably singing the same song: cry me a river. I hear you. Believe me, I do. But when you live in a place with world-class beaches that people flock to from all over the world, when you live two towns away from the glorious wonder that is Newport, Rhode Island, when your father spends a mint on a boat that's too big to move unless we're on it with him, let me tell you, there's pressure to make the most of it all. I feel like I spend half my life at the grocery store stocking up for the next event. (And why is it that the MOM always has to worry about what we're bringing to whatever event we've been invited to? WHY is that? The rest of the heathens I live with would be perfectly happy to show up empty handed...) And the laundry... holy hell... the smelly towels and bathing suits and grossness that comes home from camp... Ick.
I've also mentioned before that I work full-time from home. Yes, I have a very nice arrangement, and I truly love the job. Ironically, however, they expect me to show up every day. And I do, otherwise I probably wouldn't still be employed 11 years after checking out of the office where I worked for three years. Do you know what summer vacation does to the work-at-home mom? Can you even imagine the pressure to be all things to all people? Ahh, memories of summers past... there was the one where they fought like cats and dogs for two solid months. That was special. Good times. My husband was looking into an in-patient facility for me by the time August rolled around.
Three years ago I was saved by sailing camp. Three full days a week for both kids and they love it. Because I'm spoiled during the school year with buses that pick up right at the front door, I'm not accustomed to having to hustle them out of the house early in the morning to get them to downtown Newport in time to catch the launch to the sailboats. Neither of my kids are what you'd call morning people (gee, wonder where they get that?) so it's always a challenge to get them there in time. This summer we have the added complication of our daughter starring as Charlotte in a local children's theater production of Charlotte's Web. Three practices a week, two dress rehearsals and four shows this week. Calgon . . . are you hearing me call your name?
As long as I've been a mom, I've fantasized about having a job where I can take the summer off. I envy my teacher friends who can spend the summer at the beach with their kids without anything else competing for their time and mental energy. Since my oldest just turned 14 and will be heading for college in four short years, I can't imagine quitting the day job any time soon. By the time I can afford to take summers off, my kids will be past the point where hanging out with mom has any appeal. So I do try to make the most of these precious summer days—made even more precious by the incredible, epic amount of rain we've suffered through in June and July this year (a guilty pleasure for the one who'd rather stay home and write... But don't tell anyone around here I said that lest I be run out of town on a rail!)
After 14 years on the job, I have a lot of time off so I try to take as much as I can during the summer when the kids are free because I know years from now, after they've both moved out, I'll miss our summer days together. But for right now, it's summertime and the living is not easy. I've got 10 people going on my dad's boat today. Must get to the grocery store. Oh, and did I wash the towels from the beach trip yesterday? I can't remember.... Those characters calling out for some of my attention? They'll have to wait until tonight when hopefully I've have something left to give them.
So you can see why I've decided to take August off from the blog. I hope to rejoin you again in the fall when school is back in session and my life gets back to a more normal, regular chaotic pace rather than the turbo chaotic summer pace! Is it winter yet? I'm also over at the Romance Bandits today poking fun at my lack of abilities other than writing if you'd like to come over and check out the very long list I made of things I can't do. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and pray for my sanity!