Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Waning Days of Summer by Jenny Gardiner

What happened to summer? Just a few short weeks ago I was lamenting the laundry list of all tasks that my at-home-for-the-summer brood are incapable of performing (and that would include laundry). That was when summer still held the promise of all the exciting things it held in store for us. When the leaves on the trees had just transitioned from that newborn yellow-green to the get-down-to-business green meant to provide comfortable shade and respite from the heat.

Respite we’ve had. My lounge lizard of a youngest child has spent much of the summer supine on the couch, peaceably indulging in book after book, unwilling to venture into the blistering heat that defines summer in the South. My oldest, too, has enjoyed lazy sleep-ins and leisurely breakfasts that last into lunchtime. My middle? Well, she defies the standard and has worked industriously all summer in various odd-jobs, in addition to swimming often 3 hours a day for swim team practice.

Because of grinding schedules of two of them, and the frequently not-at-home third, it seems as if a fog of lethargy settled down upon us, meaning nothing got done except making sure that things were undone.

And so, in no particular order, here’s what didn’t happen this summer:

•replacing empty toilet paper rolls (or tossing cardboard rolls out when empty)
•flushing toilets on a regular basis
•rinsing dishes
•carrying dishes to sink
•washing dishes
•squeezing excess water from kitchen sponge
•putting rank-odored, mildewed, sopping wet kitchen sponge into laundry hamper
•wiping counters
•putting shoes away
•moving shoes from where they were taken off (not kicking those left in middle of the floor as if they are soccer balls)
•turning off lights
•feeding the pets
•filling the car’s tank with gas
•picking up wet towels from floor
•answering the phones
•hanging up phone, which is left to wedge beneath the sofa cushions, lost, sound muffled so as to be un-findable
•responding to requests for duties to be done
•finding food for selves in fridge (if not in front of face it doesn't exist, much like a newborn)
•finding food for selves in food pantry (see above)

As much as these transgressions plucked my last nerve one month ago, now I can do nothing but wring my hands in anticipation of what will be in less than three weeks: none of this. Instead we will have an oldest child who is off to college, no longer around very often to make the messes he doesn’t clean up. A middle who will not only mourn the loss of her cherished older brother, but also her summer love, also heading off to college. And a youngest who reluctantly ventures into the brave new world of high school, leaving her friends behind at another school, to her deep chagrin.

In a few weeks we will face great transition in our household. There will be much disequilibrium. It will be quieter. It will be cleaner, more organized. It will be heartbreaking.

6 comments:

Kalynne Pudner said...

My summer not-happenings are strikingly similar to yours. But try as I might, I cannot make any kind of logical progression from "cleaner and quieter" to "heartbreaking." Maybe that's because I can't conceive of "cleaner and quieter" in the first place.

HRH said...

We live in the same house except no one did a bunch of reading or working. Just replace that with video games and napping.

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

hi guys! i tried to comment earlier but had issues, shall we say. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this summer disastrous mess!

devilish southern belle said...

I hear ya! We've had a lot of summer not-happenings, too. And I know too well how it will be heartbreaking. I have one going to high school, and while that's nothing like having one move to college, it's still a bit of a transition, and makes me a bit nostalgic and melancholy!

Anonymous said...

Your "Summer not Happening Things" made me laugh as they are my "Everyday Not Happening Things" I Love your Blog! and look forward to reading it more!

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Thanks DSB & Anonymous! so glad you're enjoying it!