Is it just me or did the summer fly by way too fast this year? It seems that these warm, tranquil days pass by faster and faster every year. Maybe it has something to do with me getting older, but time seems much more fleeting to me – not just with summer but with many other things as well. I try to savor the moments – but the moments seem to pass by in a blur.
Here we are, once again at the end of a summer. This one seemed hotter than last year, and that I will not miss as we begin the transition to cooler temperatures and the promise of snow (I said it!).
The heat bothered me this summer, and there were days when I just wanted to sit in front of a cooling device with a nice cold drink in my hand. Oh wait – I did that several days this summer.
How many times did you hear 'is it hot enough for you' this summer? One time is one too many, and I heard it more than that. In fact, I probably even asked it! It is the summer; after all, it's supposed to be hot. But I've had it.
Some of that probably has something to do with the fact that the AC in my car doesn't work very well. And I am in my car a lot – so not having it work well is a problem. I drive a 1997 Maxima, and about seven years ago the AC stopped working. I took it in, thinking maybe it would cost a couple hundred dollars, and when the mechanic told me it would cost about $1,500, I said – I'll be back … NOT! They said it was broken in the worst possible place and would be the most complex repair ... blah, blah,blah. I really didn't hear much after he said $1,500.
We started buying Freon charges in the big-box store. A couple of charges a summer and I'm good to go. But for some reason, this summer, the charges haven't worked as well for me. I don't know if it's because I park my car in a hot parking lot all day – or if the unit is just going to go completely.
And actually, our house AC is not operating at its best either. I don't want to jinx it, but the reality is – our house was built in 1986, and like many other things (like the roof) our AC is the original one. So I don't think it cools as well as it should, and I know it's not as efficient. I know we're on borrowed time. Early in the cooling season we had someone come out to check it out – and all he wanted to do was give us an estimate for replacing the system. We're not there yet.
But here we are – on the cusp of a change of seasons. Very early in August every year, you can tell the moment when fall hits the air. There's a difference that comes early in the month. No matter how hot the days are, at night there is a crispness. It just starts to feel different. I felt it when we returned from our long weekend in Virginia the first weekend of August.
But the days are still warm – still hot and humid. So we want to make the season.
There's a sense of urgency to cram more summer into our lives at the same time we begin the fall activities. In August it was - can we grab a swim before soccer practice? Now it's, can we grill chicken before heading to a high school football game? Can we head to the shore after we buy our first fall Mum for the front porch?
We started this summer with a 'bucket list' Palmer had written that had about 20 things on it. Things like:
Go to a carnival Go to the beach
Go to the boardwalk Go to an amusement park
Go to Shady Maple Buy (and eat) cotton candy
You get the idea. For Brannon his list was – go to the pool, play chess, play Rummy and go to Virginia to see granny.
My list was very short. I just wanted to enjoy some time doing things with the kids.
Unfortunately – many of the things on Palmer's list weren't possible this summer. Economics played a big part. It's tough to find extra cash for fun when gas prices hover near $4 a gallon and food prices are up 30 percent.
And while I worried about not meeting his expectations for fun – I realized that what he was really interested in was just spending time together.
And that is something we were able to accomplish.
We did do some of the things on the boys' bucket lists this summer. We've been to the beach and we've been to Virginia to see granny. We've been to an amusement park and we've had some nice fun restaurant trips. We did not manage a vacation this summer, and we haven't been to the boardwalk … yet.
Palmer was begging to go to the Jersey shore for Labor Day weekend. My answer – absolutely NOT. I'm a Jersey girl, who grew up just 35 minutes from Ocean City. Any Jersey girl will tell you that you stay away from the shore on holiday weekends, when the 'shoobies' take over the town.
We will get down to stroll the 'boards' before things shut down for the season. The rides will still be open, Mack and Manco's (I'll never call it by its new name - Manco & Manco's) will still be serving the best pizza and we'll still be able to get a big bucket of Johnson's caramel popcorn.
We'll be together and having fun. The only thing that will be missing will be the crowds ... and the heat!