Month: June 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

The Hardest Talk

I’m not sure there’s any conversation that is more difficult to have with your children than one about death. It’s hard enough for us adults to grasp the concept, let alone put it into words. I’m not sure it’s fair to expect the kids to get it.

Our girls have lost a couple great-grandmothers in their lifetimes, although neither woman was someone they saw on a regular basis. They all pay attention now when they hear on the news that some celebrity has died. So the notion isn’t completely foreign to them.

Tuesday night I got the shocking and terrible news that our former next-door neighbor, who moved away two years ago, died suddenly over the weekend. She was just 41 and had two kids. More about her in a bit.

I struggled this morning with how to tell the girls. I waited until after swim practice, just so it wasn’t a topic there. After we got home, I brought the girls together and told them I had some really sad news. I reminded them who P. was and then explained that she had died. There was a second of silence while they processed and then C. said, “Oooooh, creepy.” L. quickly asked if their dog, who was barely alive when they moved away two years ago, was still alive.

I understand that they don’t really get it, and despite being someone who lived next door for six years, P. had been out of our lives for two and was kind of an abstraction to them. But I was a little frustrated by their response. At the same time, I don’t know what the hell is an appropriate reaction by a 5 and 8 year old to news like this.

I realize some of my irritation came from the fact I was, and still am, emotional about the news. It’s been a hard day and my patience with just about everyone has been short.

I don’t know the details – I only learned about her death because in my weekly check of Facebook I came across a bunch of posts about her and eventually found the news – but do know that it was sudden and apparently unexpected. I think every parent’s greatest fear, after something happening to their children, is dying while your kids are still young. When it happens to another family, you can’t help but apply the what ifs to your own family. While our hearts are breaking for her husband and kids, we can’t help but think about our own spouses and children.

And it’s just terrible, terrible news. It’s a cliche to say that everyone becomes a saint when they die. But this lady was honestly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. We would laugh when she would get mad about something because it was really hard for her to be angry and express it to others. She would cover her mouth and whisper “Damn,” and act embarrassed about saying it. But it wasn’t a contrived act. You could tell she hated to be upset with people and didn’t want to even use the D-word. While reviewing the comments on her Facebook page, the word “sweet” was used over-and-over again.

I can’t think of a more apt way to describe her.

 

1984 Again

I’ve stated my case, many times, for 1984 being one of the best pop culture years ever. Over the weekend, there was another effort at laying down ’84’s case. I’m sure this crossed your Twitter/Facebook/Blogosphere streams, but I couldn’t let it go without sharing again.

Thirty years ago last weekend, here’s what you could see at a movie theater:
* Ghostbusters
* Gremlins
* Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
* The Karate Kid
* Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
* Top Secret!
* The Natural
* Police Academy

Holy shit!

As Jason Kottke pointed out, Sixteen Candles and Footloose closed the weekend before.

As for music, here’s the Top 10 from that week:
* “The Reflex” – Duran Duran
* “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper
* “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” – Deniece Williams
* “Dancing In The Dark” – Bruce Springsteen
* “Self Control” – Laura Branigan
* “The Heart Of Rock & Roll” – Huey Lewis and The News
* “Jump” – The Pointer Sisters
* “When Doves Cry” – Prince and The Revolution
* “Eyes Without A Face” – Billy Idol
* “Borderline” – Madonna

Pop, rock, dance, and some soul. If you think that list sent me over to the Billboard site to dig deeper into that week’s Hot 100, you would be correct. I just can not resist a 1980s music rabbit hole.

Great movies, great music, and the Los Angeles Olympics were a month away. Summer 1984 was crazily awesome.

Sports Be Bummin’ Me Out, Yo

That title is how I think L., the most hip-hop of my girls, might describe the past week’s worth of sports for me. There have been a few bummers. Let’s break it down, in reverse order.


I’ve watched five minutes of the World Cup.1 Those five minutes were the last five minutes of the US – Portugal game. We were at my in-laws’ house, I was following the game on my phone, and saw the US had gone up 2-1 late. I scrambled to their TV, found ESPN, and prepared to watch the the US clinched a spot in the round of 16.

Whoops. Hello, Jinx!

I hate Christiano Ronaldo. Hate him. But his pass to Silvestre Varela, who headed it in to snatch the late tie, was a thing of absolute beauty. On the run, with defensive pressure, he fires a ball forward and across the field, curling it around the US back line and right into Varela’s path. It was an utterly amazing.

It was a tie that felt like a loss for the US. They had a European power beaten, were through from the Group of Death, and had found ways to win two games late. And then it was gone. They can still get through, but it will take help. It will be a travesty if Ghana hammers Portugal and get through after the US finally beat them a week ago.


One other quick Cup thought: the Holland – Mexico Round of 16 game could be epic. Both sides are playing very well, with Holland being the most dominant team of the round robin stage. Feels like the team that comes out of this one plays Argentina in the semi-finals.


OK, back to the bummers. The Royals. I was set to write something about their hot streak and how they were, improbably back in the AL Central race after their 10-game winning streak. Then they promptly lost four-straight and fell back into second.

And as I type this, they’re beating Zack Greinke.

I guess they’re proving the Internet adage that you can’t predict baseball.

We’ll table the Royals talk for a few more days, to see how this week goes, but it was a huge bummer of a weekend after their great stretch before that.


Finally, Joel Embiid’s latest injury.

What a bummer. He’s still going to be a rich man after the draft. But not nearly as rich as everyone thought he would be. And he now has the stigma of falling into the Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden list of big men with bad wheels who saw their careers cut short.

I really hope he heals and can have a long, successful career. And there’s a part of me that still thinks that anyone who passes on him is insane. I think the math remains the same with him. He has the highest ceiling of anyone in the draft. Even in the age of the marginalized low post player, Jojo could be the most dominant player in the NBA, should his best-case scenario come to pass. Both Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker could be very, very good players. But neither will ever be the best guy in the league.

I know general managers are all about assessing risk and making the smart choice, sometimes passing on the highest potential payoff because of the dangers that come with it. A guy who scores 18 points a game for five years might not be sexy, but he’s better than a guy who shows flashes of dominance but can never stay healthy. Or at least he is to a GM worried about making the pick that costs him his job.

I hope Jojo heals and plays for years not because I want to see what he can do with more experience, more strength, more basketball knowledge. Not just because KU needs another dominant pro with Paul Pierce’s career winding down. I want him on the court in the NBA so I can have more of those moments that I had this past winter, when he would do something ridiculous on the court and I would just start laughing in amazement.

More on the draft, of course, later this week. It’s tradition, after all!


  1. Remember, we are currenly experimenting with the cable-free lifestyle. I’d be watching every game if we still had ESPN. 

The Swimming Life

interminable |inˈtərmənəbəl|
adjective
endless (often used hyperbolically): we got bogged down in interminable discussions.

The girls have begun their competitive swimming careers. Their first meet was last Thursday, they swam again Tuesday night, and we have another meet scheduled for tonight.

(Edit: Well, we were supposed to swim tonight. But just before warm ups were set to begin a huge line of storms rolled in and the meet was cancelled. It’s been three hours since they pulled the plug and it’s still pouring and lightning. Good choice by the coaches.)

If asked to provide a single-word description of a kids swimming meet, I’m pretty sure I would use the word defined above.

Because when you’ve been sitting in a crowded swim deck for six hours, with sweat covering your entire body, ants crawling all over the ground because of all the food the kids have dropped, listening to wiped out kids whine about being tired or hungry or watching them act bizarrely because they’ve consumed too many cookies, hearing the lifeguards yell at the kids to get out of the shallow end for the 50th time, hearing other parents complain about the timekeepers/organizers/coaches/accommodations, wondering why other parents are secretly drinking beer and cocktails while you were dumb enough to volunteer to time a lane, well it sure seems like time is stretching on forever and you will never, ever get out of there alive.

OK, as the definition states, perhaps that is a little hyperbolic. But these things do kind of suck.

At our first meet, the girls had to be ready for warmups at 3:30. We walked out of the pool at 8:30 while the bigger kids were still wrapping up their relays. It being our first meet, I didn’t bring nearly enough snacks or drinks and only an emergency Wendy’s run prevented a total meltdown. Despite that, one daughter had a mini-meltdown and refused to swim her final relay.

Tuesday they swam against a much larger team – it had nearly 120 kids to our 60 or so – and things seemed worse. We pulled into our garage at exactly 10:00, six hours after we had left.

At least the girls seem to be enjoying it.

Poor L. has it the worst, as the Under 6 kids swim first and are done within 30 minutes. Then they get to sit around while the older age groups swim for hours and hours. She doesn’t seem to mind it too much, although there is a lot of asking, “How much longer do they have to swim?”

Swim meet days are just a battle from start-to-finish. They still have practice in the morning, so we’re up and at the pool by 8:30. Once we get home, I have to keep the girls occupied but mellow at the same time, so that the hours pass but they’re not burning all their energy. And then I have to carefully schedule multiple daytime meals so that they start the meet with enough fuel in their tanks. Despite that, all three girls usually claim to be starving at 5:00, right when the meet begins.

We hung out with some friends last weekend and shared our first swim meet experience with them. They laughed and said, “We have a firm rule in our house: no sports where the competitions are referred to as meets.”

Now they tell us.

We’ve spent hours on the soccer fields before. I know many of you have done the same for baseball, basketball, softball, ice skating, gymnastics, and assorted camps or school events. They’re all kind of horrible in their own way. But there’s something especially hellish about sitting at the edge of the pool, hot and tired and annoyed but unable to jump in to cool yourself and relax.

Tony

What a week.

Late last week, former MLB pitcher Bob Welch died. He wasn’t an icon of his era, nor one of my heroes. But for kids who grew up watching baseball in the late 70s through the 80s, his passing was noted.

Then Casey Kasem.

And just as I was posting my thoughts about Casey on Monday came word that San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn had died.

Such a terrible run of days for our generation.

The remembrances of Tony Gwynn have been amazing. I loved him growing up, but because of where he played and who he played for, he was far down my list of favorite players. In fact, I probably heard him talk about baseball, and hitting in particular, than I actually saw him play. But his love of the game and the art of swinging the bat rang through in every interview and rendered that unfamiliarity pointless. Here was a great player who loved the game, loved talking about it, and seemed like a great guy.

I’m sure Tony wasn’t perfect. But, holy hell, these stories about him that have come out in recent days… They make me a bit sad that I didn’t appreciate him more, that I didn’t get to see him play live more, that I didn’t place him higher on my list of favorite players growing up.

So I’ll share three with you.

First, Tyler Kepner’s wonderful accounting of how Gwynn treated him with kindness and respect and may have helped launch his professional career.

In a .338 Lifetime Average, Every Day Counted

Next, from David Johnson, the story of his year as a Padres bat boy, and the enduring memory of Gwynn: his laughter.

I Was Tony Gwynn’s Bat Boy

Finally, a classic Keith Olbermann monologue about Gwynn.

RIP Casey Kasem

We knew this was coming, based on recent, terrible, news reports. But it still hurts.

Casey Kasem, 1932-2014.

It is not hyperbole to say no pop culture figure influenced my life more than Casey. I began listening to “American Top 40” way back in its earliest days. My parents listened to “AT40”. Their friends listened to “AT40”. My uncles listened to “AT40”.1 My grandmother listened to “AT40.” Some of my earliest radio memories are of Casey’s voice in the background during car trips or just lazy weekend days when I was playing outside and my parents were lounging or doing yard work with the radio on.

To a kid that did not grow up belonging to a church, “American Top 40” was the closest thing to Sunday service for me. It was a weekly opportunity to take stock, be part of a community, sing, and receive knowledge from a man with a pulpit. In the name of the DJ, the microphone, and the turntable, Amen…

When I got older, had my own radio, and was able to choose my own music, Casey remained an integral part of my life. While there were still plenty of 1970s stalwarts on the charts, slowly the New Wave and New Romantics and synth-pop and hair metal and classic 80s pop artists began to take over the charts. Especially in the cold Midwestern winter months, he got me through Sunday mornings. And, often, I would listen to the replay again that evening.

A favorite “AT40” memory came one Sunday night when I decided to cruise through the AM band2 trying to see how many stations I could pick up that were playing “AT40”. I chose roughly the time they were playing the numbers two and one songs in Kansas City, so I could quickly tune through the entire band and assume each time I heard “Easy Lover” by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins, or “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner, I was listening to “AT40.” I don’t remember how many stations I caught, but I know it was in double figures.

Fast forward to 2007. We were at a local appliance store, pricing some new items for our kitchen. Our salesman was named Philip Bailey. The entire time he was explaining the differences in dishwashers and refrigerators, I kept thinking of the other Philip Bailey and the night I heard his falsetto voice blanketing the AM band.

Eventually I grew up, as we all do. AT40 began to sound a little square as I was discovering hip-hop, Casey’s act a little tired. When Shadoe Stevens took over in 1988, it was kind of the end of AT40 for me. Soon I was listening to “alternative” rock, the music world began to drift from the center, digital music became the norm, and a national countdown show made little sense in the age of 1000 sub-genres.

Every now-and-then, while traveling, I would come across a station that played old AT40’s on the weekends. I would listen happily, trying to guess the next song or who mystery artist Casey was teasing in the lead-in to the commercial break. The weekend L. was born, I found a station here in Indy that played the old AT40s. Again, 20-some years later, Casey and the music of the 1980s became a part of my Sunday routine.3

As I said, given the details about Casey’s health that have become public in the last month or so, the news of his death was not a surprise. But I was surprised at how emotional I got last night. I read many retrospectives of his life.4 I searched on YouTube and found several audio clips of entire countdowns, albeit with the actual music stripped out to avoid copyright issues. I loaded one up from 1984 and began working my way through it, stopping to find the appropriate song on Rdio and then listening to it in full before starting Casey’s commentary again.

Perhaps it was the long weekend of sun and water and travel, but I’m not ashamed to admit I shed a tear or two thinking of Casey, who always seemed like the most decent guy in the world, full of Hollywood cheese but free of airs about himself, and how his life ended. We all deserve better, but a man like Casey, who brought so much so to so many people, certainly deserved more dignity at his end.

Casey was the father figure of my musical youth. He taught me to love bits of trivia about my favorite songs and artists. When I’m putting together my year-end lists of favorite songs and albums, it’s because of Casey. When I’m excited to share the music I love with others, it’s because of Casey. When I fantasize about winning the lottery and buying a radio station to play whatever I want, it’s because of Casey.

It seems appropriate to play my all time favorite song to honor Casey’s passing. So, from 1987, here’s a song by a band formed by New Zealander Neil Finn and Australians Nick Seymour and the late Paul Hester. Originally named the Mullanes, for Finn’s middle name and his mother’s maiden name, the band changed their name to reflect the lack of space in their rehearsal apartment in West Hollywood. Reaching as high as #2 on the Hot 100 and finishing #13 in the year-end countdown, here is Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”


  1. One of my uncles desperately wanted to be a radio DJ. It never worked out as his full-time career, but he did spend a few years as a late night and weekend DJ. One of his prized possessions, and one I wanted to steal from my grandparents’ house many times, was the pack of LPs from the week he was in charge of playing “AT40” in the early 80s. That’s right, back then they pressed the entire show to vinyl and couriered it out to stations. I forget how many albums it took to get the whole show on, but it was a hefty box. 
  2. That, perhaps more than listening to Casey, dates this story. Music on AM Radio? Seriously? 
  3. A few of my brothers and sisters in music are familiar with my Monday emails detailing the highlights of the countdown from the previous weekend. 
  4. I don’t know if I knew his big break came from working on a show with Dick Clark. Holy star power! 

World Cup 2014

I’m not the soccer fan I once was. That’s not because I like soccer any less, but rather because I just have a harder time squeezing it into my schedule. Which is kind of a shame because this is the glory age for American soccer fans.

When I first began following European soccer after the 1994 World Cup, viewing options were extremely limited. ESPN would show a few Champions League games each year, sometimes just the final. Each week I checked my local listings and set the VCR to record the Italian Serie A highlights show that the Prime Sports Network usually broadcast at 3:00 AM.1 Roberto Baggio, Alessandro Del Piero, Fabrizio Ravanelli, and Gianluca Vialli! Good times.

A few weeks back, NBC turned every one of its TV outlets over to the English Premier League, showing each match of the final day of the season live in the States. ESPN devotes significant time to the Champions League, shows the UEFA European Championships, and carries many US and Mexican national team matches. In addition to NBC and Fox’s coverage of the Premier League, shooting a few extra bucks to your cable provider opens up a whole tier of channels that carry pretty much every European domestic league.

If you want to see soccer, you can. We’ve come a long way.

All that is a long-winded2 introduction to my World Cup predictions. I’m excited about the World Cup, but reservedly so. I don’t think the US is getting out of its group. My Italians are in the midst of a changing of the guard, and not likely to advance deep into the tournament. And then there’s the fact we’re in the midst of our cable-less stretch, so I can’t watch the ESPN games from the comfort of my couch after the girls go to bed. And we’re generally out-of-town on the weekends, meaning I’ll miss the weekend games on ABC.

Oh well. Sometimes it’s more fun to read about the World Cup after the fact. I’ve been reading a lot of retrospective articles about past Cups this week. I suppose that will be my way of experiencing this year’s event, too.

Anyway, on to my half-assed picks!

Quarterfinals

  • Brazil over Italy. Sigh. No magic for Andrea Pirlo and Gli Azzurri this time.
  • France over Germany. My first upset. The tournament sets up nicely for Les Bleus and I think the Germans are vulnerable.
  • Uruguay over Spain. My other big upset. Cup holders Spain go out valiantly, but fall to the hungrier South Americans who hope to match their big brother neighbors with a deep tournament run.
  • Argentina over Portugal. Christiano Ronaldo has, for now, surpassed Lionel Messi as the world’s best player.3 But Ronaldo does not make Portugal better than Messi’s Argentine team.

Semifinals

  • Brazil over France. I think Brazil plays under a tremendous amount of pressure in this tournament. I don’t think it gets to them here, though. Or at least France isn’t strong enough to take advantage of a nervous effort by the hosts.
  • Argentina over Uruguay. The game of the tournament. Free flowing. Fast paced. Beautiful soccer. Luis Suárez scores two early, but Messi matches him. And Sergio Aguero gets a late winner to set up the Dream Final.

Final

No surprise that FIFA, the most corrupt sports body in the world, gave Brazil and Argentina fairly easy groups on opposite sides of the draw. So kudos to them, I guess.

Here’s where the pressure hits the hosts. They clamp down on Messi and take him out of the game, but the rest of the Argentines pick up their game, and then some.

After, Brazilians complain about how their team has shifted to playing a more European-style, forgoing the classic jogo bonito that Brazil made famous. Which is ironic. In all the retrospectives of past cups, the 1982 Brazil team is often listed as the best to ever play in the Cup Finals. That team, however, lost to Italy in the semifinals, ushering in an era where Brazil dialed back the fun in interest of not letting teams back in the game. It’s time to put the bonito back in Brazil!

Argentina 3, Brazil 1


  1. There’s a whole generation of sports fans that don’t understand the concept of the highlight show, whether it is the Serie A review show, “This Week In Baseball,” or something similar. We get our highlights in real time now. No more reading about a game and then finally seeing grainy highlights a week later. 
  2. From moi??? 
  3. Uruguay’s Luis Suárez might have something to say about that. 

Right Band, Wrong Time

It’s funny how things always come back on the Internet. I guess it’s a function of there being thousands of websites seeking page views that makes every trend, fad, or other pop culture moment/icon get a second or third look.

For example, I’ve read three long article in recent weeks about Don Johnson, who is apparently a thing again. If you were a fan of him in his Miami Vice days, I suggest hunting down some of the articles. He’s had an interesting life.1

Anyway, now articles are popping up taking another look at Stone Temple Pilots. To hipsters, who were children in STP’s heyday, it’s become popular to shout “Not only were they unappreciated, they were better than Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, or Soundgarden!”

Hmmmm…

That might be pushing it.

Thanks to this buzz, Steven Hyden brought up the piece he wrote over six years ago singing the band’s praises. I like the view he takes. Basically, STP came along at the wrong time. It wasn’t cool to be a “cool” band in the early 90s. A few years earlier, or a few years later, Hyden argues, they would have been huge. But they came along when dour introspection was in.

There ought to be some things all rock ‘n’ roll fans–no matter what subgenre or trend you’re currently aligned with–can agree on: Mixing Black Sabbath with The Beatles and glam-era Bowie is good. Big, dumb drums are good. Bombast, if it’s catchy and melodic, is good. If we can agree on these things, can we all finally agree that Stone Temple Pilots are awesome?

Stone Temple Pilots: They’re actually good! (Really!)

I like his view. But I’ll argue with it just a touch. I think what really held STP back was that there was never an immediately recognizable STP sound. On Core, they bounced between sounding like Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Alice in Chains. On Purple, the influences were even wider. There was brilliance, and balls, in how ambitious they were combining hair metal and melodic pop and everything in between. At the same time, though, when you finished listening to an STP album, you were never left with the sense that you had listened to a band that had worked hard to carve out their own niche in the rock world.

That said, their first two albums have aged pretty well. I just listened to Purple the other night and it sounded awfully good. When they rocked, they fucking rocked. Scott Weiland was as charismatic a front man as you could find in the early 90s. The DeLeo brothers were a fierce creative duo that wrote some amazing music.

Stone Temple Pilots didn’t mean as much to me as Pearl Jam. But I still spent a lot of time listening to them while waiting for the next PJ album. That was never time wasted.


  1. He also makes up a third of the fine group of actors who attended but did not graduate from the University of Kansas. Mandy Patinkin and Paul Rudd being the other two. Sorry, Scott Bakula. You graduated so you miss the list. I’ll pretend Rob Riggle went to Baker. 

Kid Stuff

Our first full week of summer kicked off today. I was looking at the calendar last night and it sunk in how short summers are for kids these days. I remember getting out of school the week of Memorial Day most years and not going back until the day after Labor Day. A full three months to waste in swimming pools, on dusty Little League fields, in the backs on un-air conditioned cars, and watching bad reruns on TV. Trade offs…

The girls go full-bore into swimming this week. M. and C. only had one real practice last week before Friday’s time trials to determine the A and B teams for their age group. It was funny to watch them both jump in the water and quickly look to the lanes on either side of them to see how to do the breaststroke or butterfly. And then they pretty much did a modified freestyle anyway. They weren’t alone. There are a lot of kids who are already swimming year-round, but most of the kids are pretty limited in their knowledge of strokes. C. is fast, but wildly inefficient. M. isn’t as fast, and her technique isn’t great, but she holds it together better than C.. It will be fun to see if/how they grasp learning to do more than just stay afloat and propel yourself this summer.

L.’s group is basically glorified swimming lessons, although they still get to race in meets. In her time trial Friday she was in a lane where there was a ladder about 10 feet before the finish line. When she swam back and breaststroke, she swam to the ladder and popped right out of the pool. The coach who was swimming with her just shrugged her shoulders. I ran over the second time and let her know to swim all the way to the rope. She gave me a look like I was crazy.

Perhaps my favorite thing about swim team right now, though, is just watching L.. She’s missing her top two front teeth. She’s wearing a swim cap and goggles. When she’s done with a lap she leaps out of the water, mouth open to breath, and looks around to make sure everyone witnessed her brilL.nce. She looks like some kind of alien.

Their first meet is this Thursday. Should be fun.

Last Tuesday was Field Day at St. P’s. The kids were out-of-uniform and expected to bring a change of clothes as there were water games involved in the fun. Monday night, as we were helping the girls get their gear together, M. loudly protested putting her extra clothes in a plastic grocery bag and insisted that she use one of S.’s Athleta bags. When I suggested she knock it off and not act like a spoiled brat, she spat back at me, “It’s tacky to use a grocery bag!”

Tacky.

Jesus. We are in trouble.

In the interest of burying the lede, L. has apparently taught herself to read. Last week she picked up a book and started reading large chunks of it to me. She wasn’t always right, but she was often in the ballpark. And she insisted on plowing through it without any help from me. Since then she’s been pointing out more words that she knows to me. Then last night, as we sat down to knock out the library summer reading program’s 20 daily minutes, she read three books to me. Now most of these were simple books that she’s heard many times. So she could be working from memory as much as reading. But when the pattern of the words would change, she always caught the new words.

I remember the first time both M. and C. read a book to me on their own. In each case it was deep into their kindergarten years, after much practice and effort. And now here’s L. doing it before she even hits kindergarten and without us working with her at all.

Mind. Blown.

At Last…Summer

Three quick hours this morning, apparently to satisfy the state of Indiana, and now M. and C. are finally done with school.1 It’s been a long few days, as the district we live in wrapped up their school year last Thursday. So while the neighbors have been swimming and going to parks, we’ve still been on a normal school schedule. Not anymore, though.

As with the stomach bug hitting the house over Memorial Day, I hope the weather today isn’t an omen for the rest of the summer. We’ve had two waves of heavy rain, which just happened to coincide with drop-off and pick-up times. I ran the girls to the door and then back to the car three hours later, all of us huddling under a tiny umbrella to avoid getting drenched. I’m sure the mosquitos are loving it.

I think L. is especially happy to have her sisters home. While she was able to start swim team practice on Monday, she’s clearly been bored the rest of our week-and-a-half together. None of my suggestions for things to do seemed to interest her, and I could only drag her to the hardware or grocery store so many times. Sure, they fight constantly, but she also has someone to play with.

Tomorrow morning M. and C. will join in on the swim team practice fun. They hop in the pool at 8:00 for the rest of the week, then will likely move into the group that swims at 8:40 next week. So my alarm time won’t change dramatically for a couple more days.

We’re officially on our summer schedule. A hair over ten weeks that will include lots of time in the water, trips to the library, bike rides, exploring some parks, and whatever else I can come up to keep them occupied and me from losing my mind.

A three-hour school day? What a waste. Especially given that the last week or so had been pretty low key in school already. But I’m assuming three hours was the minimum they had to keep the kids in order to get that last snow day off the books. ↩

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