The End of Summer

\"\"At last we bid the summer a sweet adieu.

The boys are back in school. Classes started this week, though my youngest went to “half days” ‘cause I guess the gears of an elementary school are slow to start turning or something. The good news is that the start of full days next week means this here blog may hit supernova with nonstop posts, a stream of celebrity guests, and free ice cream daily. Or at least I’ll go back to one post a week.

Let’s cap the summer by looking at some of my major accomplishments.

First, since it’s the reason we’re all here, let’s talk about the blog. I set a goal of posting fortnightly, and, like every incredibly unambitious goal I’ve set for posts, I managed to miss it. Badly.

However, while my dearth of writing deprived you of hours of glorious entertainment a few minutes’ distraction, it helped me enjoy one of my best summers ever. In previous years, we tried to fill the boys’ days with all sorts of camp and stuff, but this summer we intentionally left numerous weeks free.

With the morning rallying cry of “Get yer stuff done”, my boys knew that if they ticked off their checklist every day (reading, math, piano, soccer, exercise, etc.) an afternoon of fun awaited.

We even went old-school for a stretch and put a lot of time in a new Minecraft world. It was really fun to see their creativity unleashed (and there is always something amusing when young kids feel nostalgia), and I enjoyed how they were always curious what I was doing and always wanted to come help. My youngest was especially funny because almost every interaction we had was a business transaction – he’d make up the name of a business for whatever he was offering (e.g., “Floors and More” when I needed carpet, “Chicken Cafe” when I wanted some chicken) and force me to do deals with him. Video games aren’t all bad.

\"\"The bell cow of our summer travel was our trip to Japan, but we also did a weekend trip to Pensacola to see the Blue Angels. [Sidebar: I was a bit amazed that Japan felt very familiar and comfortable while holiday-weekend-Pensacola was a major culture shock. My how things have changed for this simple lad from Dallas.] We had broader travel plans, and I offered 1:1 trips to both boys, but they wanted to just stay home and have fun.

One notable anecdote from a summer of great entertainment: I convinced the missus to watch the 2006 prophetic documentary Idiocracy with me. This was a risky move, and I was prepared to pay penance if it fell flat with her. But in a surprising twist, she really liked it and felt it rested on a solid scientific foundation. Now we have a host of new allusions to share, and the boys have even picked up some of our favorite lines. As I gave my eldest his allowance earlier this summer, he changed to a blank stare and slack jaw and groaned, zombie-like, “I like money.” Good stuff.

I went powerboating on a nearby lake with my son and his friend + his friend’s dad. I may have a post from that experience, because it was a brutal waste of a day, and owning a boat may be one of the worst things ever.

Between my sons and me, we probably read over $1,000 of books (for free, of course). Some people have a special connection (e.g., bookie, drug dealer), but I’ve got them all beat. While our local library’s e-book collection is rather pathetic, I have a hookup to one of the deepest e-book collections of any public library. I wouldn’t trade you this access for a Yamaha 242X (the boat that stole a day of my life). Many thanks to my generous benefactor!

My boys and I played a lot of soccer with the two teams I coach. The rest of the rec league won’t know what hit them this fall.

I helped my eldest son with his little entrepreneurial project, and it was a great experience for him. A blog post beckons.

In the exciting world of plumbing, we had a near disaster, but everything worked out just fine in the end. Definitely blogworthy.

We conducted international arbitrage of a musical instrument. And yes, your wildest dreams will come true: a pending post will share the fascinating details.

I did do some consulting work over the summer, because I too like money, but the lion’s share of my time was keeping my boys’ brains from atrophy and having fun with them. It made for an awesome summer.

I hope you had a great summer, and I’m looking forward to the fall. Let the avalanche of blog posts begin!

 

Sunset picture courtesy of Farah Serra

 

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6 thoughts on “The End of Summer”

  1. I’m pretty sure I purchased flooring from “Floors n’ More” circa 2008, so that may be taken.

    “Powerboating” is a funny word. Could be too close to “motorboating.” Would need to evaluate its etymological origins.

    1. There may be more Floors n More out there, but they better be prepared for a challenger – my son’s Floors and More provides free installation, will also supply you with pickaxes and swords if needed, and gives you a free baked potato with every purchase. He’s about to steamroll the field.

      I have decided that “powerboat” is the most macho and badass description of motorboating / speedboating. I think the International Order of Powerboating may have some specific power to weight ratio to qualify, but the boat owner preened like a peacock when I called his craft so (it’s probably one of his top 10 highlights from boat ownership).

  2. Yay! Welcome back to the internets! Can’t wait to read some of those new blog posts!

    My boys and I had a great summer too… even though my blog posting frequency declined. Oh well! We went camping, visited the grandparents, built stuff together, and did a lot of swimming.

    I can hardly believe my oldest starts school in a little over a week!

    1. Many thanks Mr. Tako – I’m happy to be back.

      It sounds like you had an incredible summer – I’m glad you made the most of it. They grow up so fast. Tako Jr. will be starting college before you know it.

      Good luck with the start of school!

  3. Hey, boats are not evil. I spent my teen years bass fishing with my dad and later my son and I shared great times fishing from our boat. Now early retired, my wife and I fish often from our bass boat. It is a great hobby and the secluded lakes, swamps and rivers we fish on are incredibly beautiful and the shared act of catching and later cooking our catch is a great couples hobby. I’m not much for just riding around in a boat but as a tool to allow fishing or in some people’s lives, wake boarding or skiing, it can be some great family time. Compared to video games I think fishing is a way better family experience, anything outdoors beats sedentary video games to me.

    1. The way you use your boat sounds 1-2 thousand times more fun than my day on the lake. Fishing is awesome, and getting access to remote areas in a non-powerboat sounds great. So I’ll gladly concede there are people who do it right and use them well, but I think they’re the minority – for many boat owners, the reality falls way short of the dream (it helps when a purchase decision is as informed as yours was). Because this family has used their boat <10 times in three years, the cost per use is well over $10,000, which is borderline insane.

      Outdoor activities do offer a lot that video games can't, but I think it's all about balance. The days where we combine outdoor stuff (soccer is our thing) with some of the more collaborative / creative / thinking games like Minecraft seem to be the best.

      And a shout-out to the old Wii Fishing Resort game 🙂 - we really liked it and although it was a niche / less popular game, some of its most glowing reviews were from real life anglers!

      Thanks for the note and the reminder that boats aren't all bad.

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