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Summertime, and the Living is . . .

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!


  1. Hmm, well we've had 36 days? of over 100 degree heat when we normally only get 12, and the hottest month is August. All of Texas is in a terrible drought and people are worried about having drinking water. Water police are being instituted all over. We're being told to inform on neighbors if they're using water when they shouldn't be. Soooo, you better believe I'm hoping for cooler temps, but we usually don't get them until Oct. No global warming? Don't tell Texans that!

  2. We have had the coolest July I can remember, with lots of rain, but I have to confess, that unless I am actually going to the beach, I love this weather. I don't feel like I'm missing summer by staying glued to my computer and writing all day!

  3. I used to live in Vermont, so I can relate to the short summers in New England. There's that old joke about Vermont having two seasons -- winter and the Fourth of July. That was so true. No spring to speak of, but a lovely, very, very brief summer.

  4. Terry,
    Our weather has sucked so bad this year that we haven't even put the air conditioners in the windows! Haven't needed them even one day. Sorry you're roasting over there.

    Glad you're enjoying your weather this year!

    Vermont is probably even worse than RI for weird weather. We are lucky to live at the shore, but oh the NEED to make the most of it. Tremendous pressure! :-)

  5. oh I so hear you on the summer thing. No one gets that just b/c you're in your pajamas and on the computer that it's actually work. I used to look forward to the days of summer when the kids could be on their own to ride their bikes with their friends, and hang out at everyone's pools... not so much. The weather has put a damper on both pools and bike riding and more often than not these days, the friends they want to hang out with don't live in the neighborhood which necessitates Mom driving them to and fro... sigh.

  6. Summer is hard for me because while I write, the weeds in my garden do not sleep. They become gargantuan monsters overnight, and the beans I picked before I left for DC are still producing, but now they are a bit too mature. They look lovely, but I know they'll be tough.
    It's been cooler than normal here, but with all the rain, it seems impossible to keep the grass cut. Plus, one of my horses foundered on grass earlier this spring--something I've never had a problem with in all the years I've had horses here.
    The kids don't bother me when I'm writing, but what I miss is having the house to myself so I can play my guitar without bothering them.
    *sigh* I'm ready for fall....

  7. Summer? UGH! NOT my favorite season. I prefer Spring of Fall. Our predicted high today is 103 with more of the same the rest of the week. :-P There is NO LIVING without air conditioning in this part of California!


  8. I love summer, but it's definitely a little hot today. I was lucky enough to be home when the kids were small, and I always wished the summers would never end. Now they're big and I'm still wishing. Does he have to go back to college?

  9. Sorry, I have no pitty for you Marie. Stephen the kids and I are in Buffalo right now. We drove down to a hiking trail in Western Pennsylvania with the rest of the family and had a lovely memorial for my father-in-law. We scattered his ashes at his favorite place and now he has literally become one with nature.

    As soon as we get home, home schooling begins again. Then there's always the problem of what to do with the other two kids. I can't even look forward to school starting. I am never alone. Sniff...

  10. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer!


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