Summer in the City

The kids end their school years today and tomorrow respectively. They only attend school for 2 hours on the last day and I always question, why they do this when they already have a half-day on Wednesdays. Why not tack on that two hours to Wednesday and give them the last day off altogether. How stupid and bureacratic and political and did I mention dumb?

So I have one last hour before summer madness begins.

It won't be madness so much for the first while, as we intend to relish the advent of no fixed schedule and homework. Holy Son was still studying up until the night before last. It's been a full-on year for him with school work but he's done really well. Straight As except for German and even then, his mark would probably count for an A- in a different grading system.

The best part of summer is not having to run around with the after-school activities like soccer, dance, jazz band, youth theater, Brownies and Boy Scouts, cello lessons...the list goes on and on in this insane house.

And that's partly why I've scaled back our summer plans, which would have seen us running around Western Canada visiting friends and family and schlepping suitcases in tow. We've always been vagabonds - it has fairly defined us these past two decades but I have to be honest, for the first time ever, I feel no burning desire to hit the road by plane, train or automobile. I worried this might be a sign of aging - this desire to cocoon - but I think it has more to do with coming off a very tiring year with the kids and house buying just prior to the market tanking.

Speaking of tanking, the good news of the day is that the Boeing Tanker deal is back on the table. This makes me happy if only because we happen to be a Boeing family. I hope they get their fair shot at the bid this time.

Anyways, that aside, we've also been busy gearing up for a Canada Day barbeque party we'll be hosting July 1st, on Canada's 141st birthday. This is the very opposite of cocooning, I realize, but I've been feeling lately as though I've been channeling the ghost of Erma Bombeck. I've been putting off having anyone come over because I feel bad about our lack of furniture, and our minimal decorating, and that I haven't painted yet so all the walls are pretty stark. And that some of our black plates are chipped, and that I don't have a full set of wine glasses.

And that people will come over and sneer, judge and zillow, and then make semi-apologetic comments to the effect that we must feel awful that we bought our house at the height of the housing market boom and now it has softened drastically. It's been like the conference of the neurotic birds in my brain - all this chattering of reasons why not to host friends, except the birds have not been mystical so much as foreboding and Hitchcockian.

Anyways, I re-read the Erma Bombeck poem - you know the one: If I Had My Life to Live Over....

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys"...

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.


And so in the spirit of Erma's redux, I'm going to finally unbutton the hatches, throw open the doors and bring together an eclectic assortment of Curt's co-workers, our neighbors, old neighborhood friends and school acquaintances, etc. for a street party. We've promised fun, food, drink, frivolity and Canadian wackiness and by golly, that's what we'll deliver. And so what if the house isn't totally together....who cares.

It's such a useless worry, as is the one where I worry incessantly about mixing the various peoples in my life - the partiers with the teetolers, the introverts with the extroverts, the conversatives with the liberals. I worry about it being a melting pot about to boil over, when the reality is that it usually makes for a tasty, simmering pot of fun. At least history has shown that to be so when we've hosted similar open house events.

My RCMP red surge apron is arriving in the mail, along with a number of Canadiana goodies my blessed MIL was kind enough to ship.

And so that will be the kickoff to summer and hopefully the start of some desperately-needed sunny weather, if only because I've special-ordered it to arrive in time for the party.

Godspeed the sun, the summer and a little bit of easy living.


Lynn said...

It sounds like you've got summer figured out, finally, D! Actual let it all hang out just plain old fun. I've got a burn all the way down one leg from a most awesome trip down the slip*n*slide! But it was worth it, to have the kids cheer me for going the furthest into the grass. ;)

I don't know why you couldn't get on my space, sometimes those privacy-doo-hinkies just screw up. You're always welcome. You'll have to play Catch UP to Lynn's Current Hell without me though, I'm moving today and we won't have phone or internet services for probably an entire month...just don't have the funds for it.

But I'll be back, and it's good to know while I'm gone you'll be having a great Block Party!

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Hey ya,

Wish we lived on your block! Our Canada Day celebrations mean going to Ontario Place and staying for the fireworks! But your party sounds so much funner.I have changed my blog format once again and now aint blogging about being cheap, well not as much anyhow..and again you are on my blog roll.


Anonymous said...

Just stoping in to say hi... and hope your summer madness yeilds wonderful memories and loads of laughter!!!

This Canada Day... I'll be working. Instead of having July 1st off - they've given us the Fri-Mon off before... and I will be in Ann Arbour, MI meeting a bunch of bloggers. Oye - I will be the only Canadian AND Liberal/Libertarian/Independent in the group of ubber Conservatives!!! Should be fun!
But I do hope you have your maple leaf flag flying high on that day!! I am going to have a special historical fact that I recently found out about my family and the Canadian anthem!!!

Miss you hon... hope your are well...

Ciao bella,

Jorge said...

Sounds wonderful! Wish I could join you in the celebration :-)
You and Erma are right in one thing - life deserves to be celebrated. Be well,

Lynn said...

So good to hear from you, Holy! Yeah, things are rough right now, June sucks, I think =/ But at least I know we have lots of people pulling for us. That's makes a big difference when I'm practically incummunicado most of the time. At least i got to jump a pc today for a little bit!
Thanks for being one of those friends who is thinking of us.
Oh yeah...email estrogen_7@hotmail

Jorge said...

Last night one of the young guys I work with invited us to hear his band play at a local cafe. We decided to drop by, and were entertained with a good selection of original as well as classic rock and roll pieces. During the performance, a woman in the audience got up and began to dance to the music. Somehow, in her unselfconscious enjoyment of the moment, she reminded me of you. Be well,

Jeri said...

I hope your Canada day party went well and that you and yours had a blast!

I hear you on living more in the moment - shoot - just plain living more period. Here's a toast to that!

SAAM said...

Erma sure had it right!!!! Guests don't care about much except the bathroom when in need of it and whether there is a sufficient amount of wiping supplies.
We are in the process of moving but we will slow down on Canada Day, wear red and watch the fireworks while eating some kind of hotdog!
Take care

Holy said...

Lynn: This will be the summer of your becoming....where you take a stand and say, this is who and what I stand for and I won't ever settle for less again. I'm glad you're in a better place and even as you fear lack, you are also graced with so much, my friend. You are blessed! (PS - thx for the updated e-mail address).

Hollie: You'll have some summer in the city fun this Tuesday in Toronto - I still want to get to Toronto in the summer with our kids - I have fond memories of being there when I was 12 for summertime fun.

Jorge: Hubby and I are heading to BB King this week - he's here in town on the same day as my husband's b-day - how convenient - it's been on his bucket list for years to see BB King. So perhaps I'll be the dancing girl at the winery.

KC: I always forget the password to get on your site...I'm so not good with password protected stuff. Glad your bike thing went well - I'll be raising a glass on Canada Day due northeast to your neck of Ontario and toasting you and my other fellow Canucks.

Jeri: Our Canada Day party is Tuesday - you should come by after work - not sure how that works with you and the ferry though but if you think you can make it - do so. Just casual street party fun.

SAAM: I'll toast to KC and then point my glass a tiny bit southeast to you and do the same. Hope you guys have an enjoyable long-ish weekend.

Jorge said...

Though I know you're Canadian, I hope your 4th was as spectacular as the fireworks we watched. Freedom deserves a celebration no matter hwere you are. Be well,