Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Summer Wrap-up 2016

It rained last night, the first time in many moons, and i feel it broke summer. Today it's chilly and once again i am grateful for the balance of the seasons. How the severe ones make you wish for change and the transitional ones keep you at arms' length, reminding you not to get too attached. As usual, I keep tabs on the weather around the world, particularly where people I know live and I'm reminded once again that September in NY is really quite horrible.  You keep thinking fall is here but really it's hurricane season which triples the humidity and makes you ooze into autumn as a human sweat puddle.

I'd like to do some kind of summer recap but in a way that's un-boring.  Any ideas? The only thing I can think of is the highs and lows but maybe I'll just make a general list.
  • We went to a beloved pal's wedding in Nashville.  The south is trippin, man. I loved it. But it is another realm for sure. So beautiful and vast and green and slow and nice and contemplative and fried. We visited plantations and toured old homes. All good stuff.
  • Camped in the red rock country, our home away from home.
  • Had a few hotel stays which is the ultimate, as everyone knows. Doesn't matter where. I am a big fan of the mini-trip. Little weekenders. Low pressure and planning but still getting away.
  • Played at a lake and rented paddle boards and a 3-person jet ski and had the flipping time of our flipping lives. Every once in a while in my life i engage in an activity that excites real thrill. Speed. You know? It doesn't happen often. And when our jet ski was puttering around for the first 20 minutes, having been the only one of us to have experienced jet skis or wave runners, I kept saying to Sean, "it HAS to go faster than this. I know it does!"  Something was clogged or something. And when it finally kicked in and we sped into high gear all of us simultaneously felt the wonderful combination of exhilaration and fear and it was the best ever. Well, I know Julian and I did. Sean is a bit of a question mark.
  • We took some swimming lessons and everything just clicked.  Julian has always loved the water. Back when he was a not-yet-walking toddler, one of our favorite things was the pool because he could splash and bounce around on his knees and feel a part of the scene and not tear holes in his pants. Fast forward to now, he's finally walking (ha) and swims like a fish and is the only class/extra curricular thing he's actually loved. 
  • I went on a buddy trip to the Shakespeare Fest with Brooke, the friend I'd call up in high school and desperately ask to explain Shakespeare to me for an English class.  This trip was the BEST. Buddy trips are the BEST.  Buying this masterpuppet theater and filming our own shakespeare scenes on a bench on campus and giggling like the biggest nerds that we are.

  • As mentioned, I did a lot of hiking the Timp Cave this summer. It was magical and the best thing I did. To cap it, I hiked the mountain with Brooke and another pal Michelle and it was glorious.  We started early, using head lamps, then watched the rising sun bring all of our surroundings slowly into view, probably my favorite part.   The hike was varied and long and totally fine until the way down when our legs became jelly and unable to support the top half. So much slipping and sliding and fumbling staggering walking.  At one point I begged a family going the other way, "how long have you been walking? I just need to know that there WILL be an end!"  The whole thing was awesome and hard. I've never done a real hike like that before though. Some pics:



    somewhere in the middle

    higher up

    at the top
  • The AC broke for 2.5 weeks during the peak heat wave of July.  When this first happened I was pleased and amused, rubbing my hands the way I do when something exciting happens and shakes things up.  What do we do? How do we live like this? It takes planning and mapping things out. Surviving. I enjoy that, as we know.  The elements of this were as follows:

    We had a family sleepover for two weeks downstairs in the coolest part of the house. For a while opening the back door and putting a fan in front worked fine as it cooled down at night but when the daytime temps crept even higher, even the desert night couldn't keep up and we had to go get a portable AC just for that room which we blasted all day to keep the sleeping time tolerable. When it was all over, AC fixed, and we dusted off the doorknobs to our bedrooms, Julian cried his little heart out. I knew he'd be broken up about it. He loooved that part of it. But then, he loves communal living.

    Cooking was out of the question (even more than normal times, i mean) but when we did it we'd use the grill and we ate almost every dinner at home outside on the grass. In the front or the back. Or on the front step. Why not? Loved this. It really made me appreciate the beauty of the picnic and the simple joys of summer.
    Poor, works-from-home Sean suffered greatly as his office is the hottest room in the house, facing the westerly sun. Blehh. He set a fan inches away and we'd bring him popsicles and shaved ice on the half hour.
    We ate so much ice cream and cold things as a means to survive. It's funny when you do that. We stocked up on frozen treats and would eat one right after another in the late afternoon and evening, on the front step, escaping when we could. 
    And that's what Julian and I did every day. Escape.  Summers in NY got so hot you really couldn't leave the house at times and it was strange to experience the flip side. I am one who can't be in the house all day long-- i go cuckoo-- but it's tricky, too, to HAVE to leave, for physical reasons.  Anywhere was acceptable. Sean would get a haircut and i'd exclaim, "We'll come too! We'll go to the grocery store and walk around and look at stuff! It'll be the BEST!"  Julian would fight me because he didn't understand the heat was making him extra angry but when we got out of the festering hot bubble, the anger spell would break and we'd have a fun time experiencing something typically mundane and boring in a new way with new eyes, my favorite thing.
And that, to me, was the pinnacle of our summer experience, the AC breakdown.  It really allowed the summer to creep unchecked into our home and melt on our faces so that it was all we could breathe,  summer inside and out. I really felt like we were IN it and that was joyful to me, because when i experience something i really want to EXPERIENCE it. I yearn for heightened sensations in that regard.  And also, it made it so we'd be extra happy for fall, the opposition I relish.  So honestly, it made the summer fun and different and obviously was not a big deal. We got it fixed and we were happy about that. But summer shake ups--YEAH!

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