June 2009


Evan left early this morning with his buddies for the Cornerstone music festival in rural Illinois.  He loaded three of his friends and all their stuff into the old minivan and headed out before dawn.  They are traveling with another van containing three girls.

It should be interesting – none of the girls have ever camped before.  I foresee a rough couple of days until they get used to it.

I have mixed feelings.  The van has 109,000 miles on it and I worry about it breaking down although it has never broken down before.  Still, that’s the sort of thing I worry about.  And of course it doesn’t handle like his Accord and I worry that he’ll be surprised how long it can take to stop.  They’re going past the wreck site on I-44 where 9 were killed earlier in the week which is totally irrelevant but which makes me be concerned anyway.  I of all people should be able to ignore unconnected events but I guess it’s normal to be concerned about what your kids are doing.

Last year, they had the time of their lives.  That almost sets up a situation where this year could not live up to the memory of last year.  I hope it’s not that way though – they’ve been planning this for months so I hope it’s all they want it to be.  At least it’s forecast to be cool up there.

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While Mel was in Branson, I’m pleased to say that we managed to eat and get the laundry done in more or less normal fashion.  I had dreams of trying something new on the grill but that would have involved going to the grocery store and I decided that was too high a price to pay considering that it got up to 102 degrees Saturday.  We just ate what we had in stock.

On Sunday I broke one of the commandments by staying home from church and mowing the grass since the temperatures had plummeted down to around 90.  It actually seemed cool.  I wasn’t the only one; the first mower started up around 8:15 and by 9:00 half the neighborhood was mowing and edging.

I had a massive novel I was trying to finish so it was no stretch for me to stay inside and read.

Mel is off to Branson with her mom and sister for a long weekend.  Presumably they will see some shows and eat out; all without the hassle of wondering what the boys would like to do.

We were off to a good start last night as I cooked dinner and Erin had a friend over to watch a chick flick.  Unfortunately, I could have sworn that it was Friday night rather than Thursday night.  Realizing that you have to get up and go to work after you’ve stayed up till midnight watching movies is a rather disappointing feeling.  I guess I can do the same tonight though and then not worry about it.

The temperature is predicted to be about 102 until Sunday so I feel justified in staying indoors and doing more sedate things than yard work.  I will also try extra hard to actually cook something rather than just say “let’s go out”.

My vacation is coming up in two (and a half) weeks and I’m starting to mentally check out already.  Mel and I realized recently that we haven’t actually left town on a “vacation” in about three years or more.  Her breast cancer treatment occupied one summer and we haven’t gone anywhere since then.  Erin has already spent a week in New York and Evan is spending next week at the Cornerstone music festival in Illinois so we decided to plan one too.

I’ve spent frequent flyer miles to get us to Washington DC and we’ve planned a five day itinerary.  The only cloud on the horizon is the fact that July in DC is, if anything, more hot and humid than Tulsa but that will just have to be as it may.  If we are drenched in sweat as we stroll through the Smithsonian, then so be it.  Nobody knows us there and everybody else will be in the same condition anyway.

I have already arranged tours of everything but the whitehouse and they haven’t gotten back with me yet. 

I really can’t wait.

“The Message” paraphrase of the New Testament and “The Complete Writings of Josephus”.

Now there’s a couple of hard reads.  First I shall tackle a few novels featuring Horatio Hornblower.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be up to reading all of Josephus.  There’s no denying the historical significance of it but the guy did not put a very high priority on “weaving a story”.  It’s kind of like reading the contractor’s blog  for your house construction.  You’re kind of interested and some things stand out (wow, it takes that much drywall?)  but your attention soon fades.

And it’s only mid-June.  It reached about 98 degrees yesterday depending on where you measure and it was 90 in the garage this morning at 7:15 when I left.  The minute amount of food waste that made it into the trash can quickly festered into a reeking, fly-attracting stink-hole which I happily took to the curb.

That’s normally what I would expect to feel in August.  Maybe mid-July.  If this continues, it’s going to be a long summer. 

Generally speaking, we have four seasons here and this hot spell will eventually be balanced out by a mild summer (like we were blessed with for the past several years) so I can’t really complain.  It isn’t like I live in southern Arkansas any more (where my parents used to have to have their house power washed with bleach solution to keep algae and mold from growing on their walls and sidewalks).

But right about now, I’m wondering how much a summer home in Minnesota would cost.

This was a most pleasant weekend.  Both kids had to work on Saturday but Erin was off Sunday.  She lost the charger to my camera while in New York and it’s a strange battery that only goes in that one camera so we had to buy another one.  As punishment, she has had to do the lawn and help me put in an attic stair.  Punish them with sweat and boredom; that’s our motto.  As a result of all this weird scheduling stuff and mixed punishment, I ended up getting the entire weekend off for father’s day instead of just Sunday except for one home-improvement job.

It was very hot this weekend and it’s one of the early summer hot weekends so we aren’t quite used to it yet.  I guess the kids are since they work in it all day every day; especially Evan.  He kind of revels in it like most kids in their teens or early twenties.  He feels like he’s ironman since he can sit out in the heat for hours a day and he’s got the proof in the form of a nice tan.  I, on the other hand, am not used to the heat yet.

While installing the attic stairs on Sunday, I ended up stranded in the attic for a bit longer than expected and almost got overheated.  Not too bad but I know the signs.  I went in for a rest.  Just a bit too much sweating I guess.  Still, it underscored the fact that either I am out of shape, too old for this sort of thing, or just not used to the heat.  It’s probably a combination of all three. 

But apart from that, it was a most pleasant weekend.  I got to sit inside and read some of the books I’ve accumulated over the past few weeks, we went to the gigantic used bookstore to browse, and we all sat down to watch a couple of episodes of Sherlock Holmes during the hottest parts of the day.  I was not asked to help get the laundry done, go to WalMart for groceries, or anything really.  Plus I got the lawn mowed.  It was excellent.

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