Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer 2017: Day 45

Hot.

Ben got back into the morning swim practice routine after taking yesterday off. Michael had a swim meet down in Sandy. We went to Wing Nutz for dinner. And, it was hot.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer 2017: Day 44

Hot.

Today was a recovery day. Poor Lori -- they didn't get enough help to clean up the park, so she was out the door at 6 a.m. She enlisted Michael to help a couple hours later, and finally, the temp workers arrived to help as well. They were exhausted after it was over.

Michael had basketball practice in the evening. First day back at work after a four-day weekend is always a bit of an adjustment, but today wasn't so bad. Just hot.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer 2017: Day 43

Today was the Fourth of July, and it was exhausting ...

Lori was helping organize the Sugar House Park fireworks and other activities in the community, It required a lot of work ... and some volunteers. We were up at 7 a.m. helping move garbage cans around the park. The city simply dropped 300 cans in a couple locations, and they needed to be put in certain spots. That took a couple hours and some trips uphill dragging cans, but with several people helping, we got the job done and headed home.

Ben and I participated in the neighborhood Fourth of July parade while Lori and Michael prepared for the rest of their day. The temperature began climbing. After a few hot dogs, we left the parade, and I took Ben and one of his friends to another Fourth of July gathering, this time in the backyard of some good friends of ours. The pool was perfect as the temperature passed 100.

We made it home by 7 p.m., and our family walked to Sugar House Park in advance of the fireworks. The organizers had a little VIP area cordoned off next to the fallout zone, and we grilled some Italians and hot dogs and waited for the fireworks to begin.

Then the chaos began. The organizers had rented a golf cart, and I took the boys in it for one lap around the park. It was crowded. People seemed a little cranky -- they had been waiting in the heat all day, and they were ready for night to fall and the fireworks to begin. Then, people started launching their own fireworks, even though that was illegal. One landed on the other side of the fence, on the dry grass next to the expressway, and started a blaze about 400 yards away from us. This was a mini inferno, and almost at the same time, the fireworks began ...

Turns out, we were in the fallout zone. The fire marshal moved us, but about a minute later, something landed on the other side of the expressway again, and another blaze started. We moved away from it and were about 150 yards away. Michael got some great video of a tree just exploding into flame. But the fire burned itself out quickly.

The fireworks were OK. There were a lot of drunk morons in the park. We usually aren't in the park itself for the fireworks, so we miss most of the obnoxiousness. The long day of heat didn't help. The fireworks ended, and we couldn't get out of the park soon enough. The walk home felt long, but we finally made it, only to hear more fireworks set off well past 11 p.m. Thus ended a Fourth of July we won't forget.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Summer 2017, days 28-42

Another two-week break. I gotta get better at this ...

OK, 14 days passed, and I'm going to try to recap. I did write on the solstice. There's been a lot of basketball and heat and swim meets and cooling off in that time. Tonight is July 3. Here's what happened the past two weeks:

-- Michael's basketball team took second place its division in two basketball tournaments here in town.
-- Ben had a long swim meet at Kearns Aquatic Center and did all right.
-- Michael had a swim meet, too, at SportsMall, and did all right too.
-- We went to Cowabunga Bay on a night sponsored by the boys' orthodontist.
-- Ben and I hiked to Peak 10420 today. It was short but steep, and definitely worth the view.
-- Lori's friend Tina and her family visited us from Denmark (well, not just us; they are visiting the entire Western U.S. and swung through SLC for a couple days).
-- Ben and I swam at Murray Pool yesterday.

Those were the highlights. This is why I need to blog every day ...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A very fast year to get to another solstice sunset

I forgot to bring the iPod with. The sun might set behind a cloudy front that is moving in. But I still see orange to the west, and it undeniably feels like summer today. It's the solstice, and once again, I'm back on the hillside at Donner Park, reflecting on the year that just passed.

And oh my, did it fly by.

A year ago, I was coming off a big transition with work, the death of my friend Tom, and trying to make sense of the new direction I was headed in. But the year went fast. So fast. Too fast. As a writer, I try avoid using the word "very" because it's a useless modifier, but here it's applying: very fast.

This past year has been the craziest blur of my life. Not crazy bad, not even just crazy busy or unique. Just instantaneous -- more so than I can ever remember. Senior year of high school? Didn't go this fast. The first year out of college? Not this fast. The last couple years in Madison? Nope. The year after Michael was born. Not quite. 2011-2012, the time I generally am going to look back to when I think about the boys' childhoods. No.

The sun is dipping below the clouds; I'm going to get a good sunset after all. There have been 364 sunsets since the last one, and they all went by in the aforementioned blur. I don't know why it went so fast. I wasn't looking forward to anything ending or beginning. It just flew by.

Maybe it's the perception that as the boys get older, each day becomes more important because they are more finite. I just want it to slow down a little. I don't want them growing up so fast. I don't want to be on this hillside a year from now and wonder where the previous year went. I want to be here and think, "That took a long time -- good!"

But life doesn't work that way. Parenting sure doesn't work that way. As I queue up "Sister Golden Hair" on my phone and watch the sun creep toward Antelope Island, I remember that this song is 42 years old. And for my parents, that summer when I was 4 and Julie turned 3, I'm sure they don't think it was that long ago.

I don't think it's a matter of not appreciating every day, but rather getting caught up in whatever's next. Whatever now is what matters. Next will just follow as it always does. Now slows things down; next just has you looking to the subsequent next.

This is my 12th trip to this hillside to write on the solstice. The journey continues. Hurray for that journey. Boo that it's seemingly speeding up. At least this sunset will never change.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer 2017: Day 27

Sitting on the porch tonight, and damn it's humid for Utah. Some clouds rolled in but there is no breeze at all, and it hasn't cooled off from this afternoon. We'll be leaving the AC on tonight ...

My Monday was productive. Got a lot of work done all day but also managed to do this 30-minute workout I've been sweating through lately and get the dog for a walk. I took Michael to his basketball practice and had pizza for dinner. Ben felt a little dizzy today, so he missed Scouts, but he should be OK for swim practice in the morning. It wasn't a perfect Monday, but it wasn't a bad one either.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Summer 2017: Days 4-26

I'm a little disappointed. That was a long stretch without recording summer, and I feel like I'm giving up to easy. And in the meantime, two weeks have passed since school ended for the boys.

Out of the gate, the adjustment to summer is tricky, and I've just been tired most nights to want to write. We've been busy, but not that busy.

So here I am, Father's Day, June 18, my 26th day of summer, and I need to try recapping the last three weeks. Here goes nothing ... and everything:

  • Ben and I went to a Real Salt Lake game on Day 4. We hadn't seen a game since maybe 2013, and I don't think we've seen a game in which RSL scored until 2011. And they won! 1-0. We filled up on barbecue before the game (it was a team event for the boys' swim teams), and got out quickly after finding a good parking spot before game time.
  • We went to the JCC pool for the first time this summer on Day 5.
  • Memorial Day was Day 6. Actually worked some of it. Michael and I also cleared out the patio.
  • Chaperoned the upper grades on a field trip to Crystal Hot Springs on Day 8. Fun, old school water slides, and I got to soak.
  • Day 9 was the last soccer practice of the season, the parent-kid game that is always fun. Ben played his last baseball game of the season.
  • Day 10 was the last day of school. Egad, I now have an eighth-grader and a sixth-grader.
  • Michael played in a basketball tournament days 10-11, and his team went 2-2. He played really well but got beat up a bit (as he usually does as the tallest kid on the court).
  • Day 11 was the last soccer game of the season for Ben's team, and we had the end-of-season party at our friends' backyard pool. The kids loved it, and I got pushed in by my players. Brought three extra pizzas home; they were gone by morning.
  • Day 12 was a Sunday in which we worked on the backyard, pruning bushes and clearing vegetation.
  • Day 13 was Ben's first early swim practice of the summer. He also had his first official Boy Scout meeting.
  • Day 14 was a swim meet for Michael. He swam all right; his fly looks better than ever.
  • On Day 16, we spent the afternoon at Maureen's pool again, and each kid got to bring a friend. I was busy with work and never even jumped in.
  • Day 18 was a Saturday without any sports. Lori, Ben and I hit some garage sales, and then the boys and I went to Ben's end-of-season league baseball party. He won a water bottle. We pulled stuff to the curb for the bulk pickup.
  • I took Popcorn to the H Rock to watch the sunset on Day 19.
  • The boys had basketball camp days 20-23. I worked at some new coffee shops this week and tried some new teas.
  • The weather turned cold and rainy on Day 20, but we needed it.
  • The skies cleared enough for another swim meet for Michael on Day 21
  • On Day 22, I played pickup basketball with Michael, his swim coach, and a couple other swim dads. Damn, Michael is getting good ...
  • Ben had a swim meet days 23-25. It was a tough meet for him; he struggled in this same pool last year. After his last evening session, we went for handmade ice cream sandwiches at a new shop in Fashion Place Mall.
  • Today was Day 26, Father's Day. We all hiked to Bloods Lake near Guardsman's Pass. I lounged in the sun in the backyard, went to Smith's with Michael, then grilled burgers for dinner. We watched "Beauty and the Beast" and Skyped with my dad.
There was more. I promise, I'll make it a priority tomorrow night ...