It is getting down to the nitty gritty. I have had 48 days for fun (rest, relaxation, rejuvenation) and I know have 22 days to wrap up all of the things that I wanted to do, needed to do, and absolutely had to do before another school year begins, again. Somehow, I think I have failed, again but in hindsight, I have made progress.
I woke Sunday morning without the benefit of an alarm I just got up and started the day. Evidently, I had set my alarm for 6:00 PM, not AM, and the alarm did not go off for obvious reasons. This is really the best part of the day, I know I sound selfish and I am. I think we all are, to a certain extent. I started to write Sunday morning and did not finish.
Saturday was a busy day, I drove to halfway home to pick up a friend of William and return to the cottage by mid-afternoon. Originally, we had planned to meet them in Hudsonville but we got a jump on Joey and his dad because of the stormy weather that had rocked the Chicago area Friday night and in to Saturday morning had delayed them and we met them at Dutch Farm Market, one of my favorite stops along the route. It was a special bonus stop, not for the fruit, or the cargo we picked up, but there was a local artisan demonstrating how to make wooden shoes from blocks of timber. Dutch Farm Market is near South Haven, Michigan and south of Holland, Michigan along the western shore of Lake Michigan. Dutch immigrants settled the area and Dutch heritage is celebrated in the region. Most of the time when we stop it is to buy fruit and vegetables, make a washroom stop, or get an ice cream cone, but we got lucky today. We arrived before our friends and William and I sat down and watched how he carved the wooden shoes. William and I can’t go anywhere or see anything without asking questions and we asked a million questions. I wish I had had my camera, but I didn’t. I purchased the fruit – peaches and blueberries, and some beets, green beans, and some wax beans for an experiment, loaded them in the car and waited for our friends. It wasn’t a long wait before they arrived and we quickly had Joey’s gear in the car and bike secured on the rack. William and I told them about the wooden shoemaker and the fruit and we took a moment to watch, they had a few questions as well and we learned a few things about wood and wooden that we never thought about. That’s how it goes, there are millions of things that I just don’t think about, know about, or have the time to think about them. We said our goodbyes, loaded up the car, and headed north.
The Chicago area had record rains Friday night into Saturday morning on the heels of serious heat wave. Up here, it has been hot and humid, but dry with no rain. All of that changed Saturday. On the way downstate to pick up Joey, I had driven through a few rain showers and on the return it was clear and sunny, but it all changed about 30 miles from the cottage. The skies opened it rained, rained so hard I could barely see the car in front of me. By the time we pulled into the cottage lane, it was just sprinkling. We unloaded the car and went inside. William gave Joey a tour and they decided to go for a swim. And, then round two. The first rainstorm brought a half inch, this one brought an inch and three-quarters in the span of less than an hour. After the rain, the kids were back in the lake and Beth was out surveying. Our neighbor had a lake for a front yard, which possibly explains why she has ducks in her yard. It could also be that she feeds them but the front yard / pond explanation sounds better. While the kids played, I made dinner – hamburgers, baked beans, and a bean salad experiment that failed, miserably.
The storms from earlier in the day were gone, leaving a cooler overcast evening and much calmer lake. After dinner, we took the pontoon out and the kids tubed. William and Joey went together and had a difficult time staying. It was mostly William trying to make sure Joey was thrown off the tube, but it backfired several times throwing him into the water, before it was Olivia’s turn. Ivy came along and enjoyed the ride, Beth drove the boat, and I watched as the kids had a good time on the lake. It was too dark for boating when we came in and William and Joey took a late evening swim before coming in for the night.
It had been a busy day and we were all tired. Ivy lay down in the bedroom and beat us all to sleep. The kids were asleep almost before their heads hit the pillow and mine wasn’t far behind. It had been a great day and you could tell how it counted by hearing how quiet it was as we slept.
Sunday morning began quietly then Olivia and the boys woke and came down for breakfast. Joey had brought breakfast sausage and William and he cooked it in the skillet. William scrambled eggs, Beth made toast, and Olivia and I waited. It was delicious.
It was cool, overcast, and the lake was calm but it wasn’t raining and the kids decided they wanted to ski and kneeboard. They set up the boat with all the gear we needed and we took off. William had bolted the skis together to make it easier for Joey to get up and he tried it first. He got up on the first try and then helped Joey get up. Skiing behind the pontoon is not easy, the rope is lower, it doesn’t have the power of a ski boat, but it is a boat and it works. After several attempts, Joey successfully got up and skied for several minutes before falling off, gracefully. They switched from skis to the kneeboard and both boys had fun in the water before I got off and started to pack. Beth and the kids stayed out with tube and Olivia joined in the fun.
I had to head home to Wheaton, which is where I am now. Later today, I’ll drive to Normal and my two-day conference. For now, I’ll finish, take care of household chores, and meet my teaching partner. Driving home is never easy, though I know the route well. I made the drive just short of six hours with very light traffic and minimal construction. Not bad for a Sunday night in the summer, how I wish the same drive Memorial Day or Labor Day were as easy. I passed time catching up on podcasts. One of the positive parts of the school year meaning driving to and from school is I can listen to the radio, news radio. I usually tune into news talk or NPR. I enjoy listening to Marketplace. It is a 30-minute program and it airs at 6:30 in the Chicago market. Sometimes, during the school year, I can listen on the drive home, but mostly I listen to the podcast. I haven’t been listening this summer, but a six-hour drive is a good time to listen to a week’s worth of programming. I have not been paying attention lately though I know about the debt ceiling conflict, the Norway terrorist attack, and the Midwest heat wave; sometimes it is okay not to pay attention. Marketplace gives a quirky spin to the news and I learn all sorts of great information. I learned about the ins and outs of the debt ceiling talks, how shoplifting costs the American consumer $400 each year, the Skull Candy IPO, and American Airlines made a very large purchase last week! I made it to Grand Rapids before my episodes ran out. I gassed the car and got fuel for me at Starbuck’s and was back on the road again.
Grand Rapids is about halfway home or halfway from the cottage. I listened to the Chicago news and quickly changed back to my iPod and other podcasts I had been stockpiling. The road disappeared before me and soon the sun was setting and I was in Indiana, then, Illinois, and home. The drive took just a few minutes shy of six hours, usually with the kids and Ivy it takes seven, but that is with stops. It is more efficient to travel alone, but more fun to travel as a family.
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Today is the forty-eighth day of summer vacation and I listened to the song, Today is Gonna Be Great Day by Bowling for Soup and the chorus is:
This could possibly be the best day ever!
(This could possibly be the best day ever,)
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be a million and six times better,
So make every minute count, jump up, jump in, and seize the day,
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way,
Today is gonna be a great day!
So far, I have had forty-seven great days and today should be a million and six times to the forty-seventh power better than the first day of summer. That is a tall order and a very large number! So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day and make sure that in every possible way, because today is gonna be a great day. Making the Days Count, one summer day at a time.
Can you remember a drive you made in the summer (or any time, for that matter) when the road disappeared before you and time seemed to fly by?