Showing posts from August, 2012

Summer, Day 101

Ben started sneezing and being stuffy yesterday. Today, Lori and I showed the same symptoms.

Damn, I better not be catching a cold to end the summer.

Today seemed busy but unproductive. I went to pick up both teams' soccer uniforms and tried to get a roster mistake fixed, but to no avail. Our email address might have been compromised, and we couldn't get that resolved tonight. The DVR receiver appears to be on the fritz. And I'm doing a fantasy football draft, right now, but every pick we want seems to be going one spot before us.

And, I'm sniffling. We are hoping that something we're all allergic too is simply blooming and being brought inside by the dog. I'm hoping Friday is less frustrating.

Yes, I got a cold.

Summer, days 99-100

My, I'm tired right now as I type this. The summer is wearing even on my summer posting project. I don't want to be quick about this, but I'm ready for bed. Let's see where I go with this ...

First, Tuesday, which was my first day co-oping of the new school year. And it is the first time in which I'm co-oping the entire day instead of splitting the co-op shifts between two days. This was by choice, and in the long run, I'm going to appreciate this more, but I was expecting some adapting to this schedule. By 1 or so, I was dragging a little. Next week, I need to sneak a soda (remember, I don't like coffee) in to drink before the afternoon co-oping. Otherwise, the day went well. I'm going to enjoy helping out in the boys' classes.

We got home and I napped a little. Then, we took Popcorn to Petsmart, where we were enamored with a feisty kitten missing an eye that was up for adoption. Thankfully, we came home with just pet food. I made sliders for dinne…

Summer, days 97-98

Two days of posts. First, Sunday: I worked in the evening. The shift was easy, but I was annoyed when I went to Costa Vida, normally open until 8, to discover it closed at 7. Nothing else is open in the mall that late, so I drove to Wendy's for dinner -- not what I had in mind. I threw the ball to Popcorn in the morning. Did some laundry in the afternoon. Worked in the evening.

Now today, Monday. This was my first full day of both boys at school the whole day. I had made this big list last week of everything I want to accomplish with the hours of extra time I will now get with Ben in school all day. So after not sleeping well last night, I woke up, ate breakfast ... and didn't know what to do next. I couldn't even fall back asleep after my rough slumber. I posted my plight to a stay-at-home-dads forum I read, and someone gave good advice: The list can wait; enjoy the serenity of today. Then another day posted this suggestion: Go to the pool and swim without the kids. The s…

Summer, Day 96

Kind of a boring day today. And I'm not apologizing for it.

The boys went to a birthday party for one of Ben's friends. We had a minor plumbing emergency that we addressed. We watched "Mr. Mom" on Netflix. I took Popcorn for a walk. I'm sitting outside and it's actually cooler tonight. That was our Saturday. Again, no apologies.

Two days of summer on deck.

Summer, Day 95

I got a whole morning to myself, with the boys at school and no need for me to go in. They didn't have a full day -- those start next week, at which point my free time increases. So what did I do with my free morning? Come up with a plan for the extra time while both boys are in school full-time. More working out. More writing. More freelancing. And while summer is winding down, a little more time in the sun.

I picked the boys up and brought them home, and once again, we weren't that driven to do anything. The routine will develop next week. After Lori got home and we ate dinner, we all went to a high school football game, where the local favorite Highland High defeated Cedar City 27-0. The boys had fun (Ben wanted to dance to the cheerleading songs and even belted out of a few lines of "Call Me Maybe") but tired out somewhat quickly. We returned home and I took Popcorn for a walk.

Here's Day 96.

Summer, Day 94

Everything seemed just off-kilter on Thursday. Maybe we were all just tired.

The boys had an OK day at school. I ate lunch with Ben and helped in the classroom for the rest of the shortened day. We were slugs in the afternoon after we got home, but that wasn't surprising considering how busy our previous day was. I tried getting a roster mistake on Michael's soccer team, which I'm not coaching, fixed, but with no luck yet -- and that flustered me for the rest of the afternoon. Lori brought home Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner. I played a little Wii with Michael. I took Popcorn for a three-mile walk in temps that hadn't cooled off even after dark (I have complained about this before -- this August hasn't felt like high desert). I wanted to blog last night, but sat down, watched "History Detectives" and almost dozed off during it. So, I went to bed early.

A routine is imminent. Just not this week.

Here comes Day 95.

Summer, Day 93

Wow, what a long, eventful, great day. Next time you want to make the first day of school memorable, go to an amusement park afterward.

The boys were awake bright and early, eager to start their school day. Lori made them lunches and took pictures of them outside our maple, and we loaded into the Corolla to drive to day one of the 2012-2013 school year. One great thing about the boys' school -- a co-op school where parents help in class -- is that parents aren't shunned from the classroom if it's not their co-op day. No we're not encouraged to be there every day, but on the first day of school, to see how what our kids' new classes were like, we were welcomed.

I spent a good chunk of the morning in Michael's new 2/3 class and helped out a little after a co-oper failed to show. From the first couple hours, I could tell Michael is going to do great. As an older kid in his 1/2 last year, he became a role model and a good friend for the younger kids. On his first d…

Summer, Day 92

(Housekeeping note: I accidentally titled two posts as Day 82. As such, I've been a day behind in the titles of the last 10 days of posts. Rather than try re-titling everything, I'm skipping from Day 90 to Day 92, even though it's only been one day.)

Today was the boys' last day of summer before school began. Quite, honestly, it was mostly a clunker.

I didn't expect we'd do much today, and we lived up to that expectation. It felt like one of those summer days in which no one musters enough energy to get out of the house or to be too productive. Unfortunately, it came on the day before school started. I got a few things done, including some initial organization for the upcoming soccer season (I might be coaching Michael as well as Ben). We made it out to run a few errands. Lori went to a school meeting after work, so the boys and I ate dinner without her -- fish sticks and macaroni and cheese.

The day might have been boring, but the evening was nice. I took the …

Summer, Day 90

Our last full, stay-up-later-than-normal day before school begins did not go as planned.

I'll admit it: The boys and I were slugs this morning. We took Lori to work (our Outback was in the shop -- more on that later), but we got home and collapsed into laziness. I thought of maybe going to Kohl's to get Michael some Levi's and then running a few errands, but finally, I settled on taking the dog on a much-needed hike on the off-leash trail near our house. Yes, it was hot again today, but she's been on hikes in the heat before. This trail intersects and ends at a creek, so she could splash around and get a drink if needed.

As expected, Popcorn was running and playing as soon as we took her off the leash. She made some new dog friends, splashed in the creek, fetched a stick another dog owner was throwing and was sprinting all over the trail. In other words, she was loving the hike. On the way, a bee or wasp stung Michael on his hand. He cried, but the sting wasn't too…

Summer, days 88-89

I've been lamenting about the heat, haze and humidity all week, and the conditions haven't improved, even though rain, fronts and winds have been forecast for a few days now. After seeming to get better this morning, the haze returned to the point I can't see the mountains across the valley. This weather is making it difficult for me not to wish summer to end ...

Saturday, Michael had a birthday party in North Salt Lake, and I got a couple hours to myself. I looked for a primary-ruled composition book that Ben needs for school and got lunch at Jimmy John's. We returned home and relaxed in advance of the Real Salt Lake game we saw that night. We had rain checks we were given for this season that we needed to use, and Michael and I drove to Sandy to get tickets in the morning before his birthday party.

The game was fun, even though RSL lost 2-1 via a goal in the 94th minute. We were given tickets in the Supporters Section, near where the two major fan groups for the team…

Summer, Day 87

I'm working tonight, sitting on the balcony and overlooking a hazy valley. Will I associate haze with August the way I associate cloudy humidity, indifferent baseball and desperate inevitability with this month? At the very least, I'll associate this day with the smoky sky.

OK, this day wasn't so bad. The boys had fun, and work, despite this being the first prep football night, is bearable. Our plan was to go to the waterpark, maybe for our last morning/afternoon excursion there of the summer (we are planning to go after school a couple times). We got going early (for us this week, at least), loaded into the car, I turned the ignition ... and the car wouldn't start. Eventually, it started and we drove to the waterpark with the thought the battery would be recharged. I turned the car off, then immediately tried turning it on again ... and nothing. I walked the boys into the waterpark, where we found the friends we were meeting, and asked them if they could watch the boy…

Summer, Day 86

I forgot to mention that besides the heat in Salt Lake City, the air is hazy from wildfire smoke. We so need a break from all this.

That said, at least these have been perfect days for the pool. We went back to our friend's neighbor to swim again, and this time brought the dog to play with a puppy lab (about Popcorn's size) she is watching. The dogs had fun, and the boys had fun. I got to relax a little in the sun, but I was still exhausted by the time we got home. I didn't sleep well last night and woke up restless and too early. And again, we weren't out of the house before noon.

Lori and I went to the parent meeting for Michael's new class, which already seems like a good group. School starts in six days. Am I being selfish in wanting it to get here soon?

Ahead to Day 87.

Summer, Day 85

I might not want summer to end, but damn, I'll be happy when it cools off a little.

We've endured the heat all summer -- worse than usual for Utah -- and most days I adjust. Today, the heat simply seemed oppressive. I'm outside after midnight typing this, but the air still feels warm, humid (this is unusual for Utah -- usually, the sun goes down and you get a little break).

Not surprisingly, I felt tired all day. Michael went to a birthday party. I ran a couple errands with Ben. Driving in the Corolla in this heat reminded me of when we moved to Utah and the two August weeks I spent here on my own (Lori had flown back to Madison in 2000 after we initially drove out here). The heat was something else back then, but I didn't mind because everything was new. Today, I did mind.

So what did I do for dinner? Grill in this heat. Thankfully, sliders cook up quickly. I took Popcorn for a walk after the sun went down, but even she was happy to get back in the house. Tomorrow, I&…

Summer, days 83-84

Growing up afraid of water, I dreaded summer despite the fact I also loved summer. To me, summer was primarily swimming, and because I didn't want to go near any body of water, there was always some apprehension caused by the knowledge that my friends and family wanted to swim and I didn't.

I got over my fear (mostly) and looked forward to the swimming.every summer. I was determined that the boys would love the water.

The past two summer days have been all about the water.

Yesterday, we went to a friend's pool where we swam. Today, we went to a friend's pool where we swam.

Monday first: We were so tired the morning after the concert that we didn't do much after waking up. But we needed to clean -- Lori was hosting a small meeting for school, and a member of her committee was bringing her sons. The boys needed to straighten up their room, and they took a long time doing so. Eventually, we got out the door and made it to the apartment complex of one of Ben's clas…

Summer, Day 82

Both of my legs are wobbly tonight and a little sore (there is ice on my knee as I type). My right inner feels a little dazed after a night of loud music. I am still too wired to go to bed, even though it's after midnight.

Totally worth it.

We saw Michael Franti tonight at Red Butte Garden. After Lori and I saw him last year at Red Butte Garden, we agreed to take the boys if he returned to Salt Lake City this summer. He did, and we bought tickets as soon as they went on sale last spring. Ben loves Michael Franti's music, and Michael generally likes concerts, so we were confident we'd have fun.

We had fun. So much fun. This might be the most fun concert I have ever attended.

I was surprised how many lyrics of Franti's songs Ben actually knew. He loved it when his favorite song, "I Got Love for You" was played. He was dancing, cheering while sitting on my shoulders (hence the sore legs) and singing along. Michael was a little more reserved and got a little tire…

Summer, days 81-82

Another two-day recap after working last night. I'll make Friday brief. I ran a few loads of laundry. Ben practiced riding his bike around the block with the uneven training wheels.I worked, late. Ate a Costa Vida salad for dinner. Came home from work and basically went right to bed.

Yawn. Saturday was much better.

The boys competed in their first kids' triathlon this morning up in Park City. Before the race started, I adjusted Ben's training wheels so he wouldn't have as much balance issues. We originally signed him up for an older division, knowing he could easily handle a longer swim and run, but on a suggestion from one of the race organizers, dropped him back into his own age group. Wise decision -- Ben rocked the 25-yard swim, but was slow with the training wheels on the quarter-mile bike ride. He eventually finished the bike portion of the race, parked it in his transition area, then ran 200 yards, quickly enough that he didn't come in last. I don't thin…

Summer, days 79-80

Two days to recap here. Wednesday I worked, and as much as I want to cram as much into these last days of summer, I didn't want to tire myself out for my shift. I ran some errands with the boys, then pruned the out-of-control wisteria in the back yard. Work was a little busy with the Olympics, but not too stressful.

This morning, we went for a hike in Millcreek Canyon with the school group we hiked with last month. This time, we probably hiked about three miles. We took Popcorn along, and she loved it, of course. My knee felt great. Two girls who were neighbors of one of the other moms came along with their nanny, and one of the girls, age 6, spent half the hike talking with Ben, age 6. I'm so used to girls fawning over Michael that it was cute to see one holding a long conversation with Ben, who wanted to invite her over for a playdate to see his rock collection and watch the movie version of "Scooby-Doo."

We were lazy after returning home, until the evening when w…

Olympic dreams

I was only 5 years old when Montreal hosted the Olympics in 1976. I don't remember watching much of it, missing Bruce Jenner and Nadia Comaneci.

In 1980, I was fully vested in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid (I wrote about this back in February). But that summer, the United States boycotted the Olympics in Moscow. Another four years would pass before I would fully get the Summer Games experience.

When those Games, in 1984 in Los Angeles, arrived, they were an experience. In the days before the Internet and the proliferation of cable TV, the only Olympics to be seen were on ABC. Granted the network aired something all day (except for an abbreviated half-hour "All My Children" -- which I was also watching), and I watched as much as I could. I won't lie: Near the end of the Games, I was suffering a little Olympic fatigue. But near the end of the two weeks, we had gone to Wisconsin for a far-flung, small family reunion, then went to our neighbor's cottage in Wauco…

Summer, Day 78

Another busy summer day. We are not going quietly into that last day before school starts.

I got a call this morning from the dad of one of Michael's friends, saying they were taking another friend to the waterpark today. Also going was another friend of Michael's and her mom. I had been resisting going to the waterpark this week -- with the sore knee and the endless sucking in of the stomach after eating my way through Chicago -- but remembered my goal to get the most out of these summer days. So we hurried and left the house for Seven Peaks.

The boys and their friends had fun. My knee felt better, though I didn't attempt the tube slides after the wipeout from last time. The park wasn't as crowded as usual, either. We stayed for a few hours, wore ourselves out, and went home to eat lunch.

In the evening, we went to the Skechers outlet to get new shoes for the boys, then went to Smashburger for dinner. Michael and Ben rode their bikes while we walked the dog to get fro…

Summer, days 77-78

Sunday, our first day back from vacation, after a late flight back to Salt Lake City, went exactly as I had expected -- we recovered. I did make it to Shopko to buy an SD card reader, and Michael did go for two bike rides with his best friend. I unpacked. We watched a lot of Olympics, and I did get Popcorn out for about a 1-mile walk. And I slept -- not late after Michael and the dog woke me up, but I napped mid-morning. Recovery complete.

Today was the first of 16 days before school starts. My goal is to cram as much as we can into these 16 days. Today, the boys enjoyed a five-hour playgroup at the house of one of Ben's classmates (thanks, Tricia, for hosting!). I didn't stay for the whole time, going home for a couple hours kid-free. I had filled up the kiddie pool and sat out with my feet in the water (but not my whole self in the water for too long -- the sun hadn't warmed it up too much) and relaxed with a magazine. I eventually drove back to pick the boys up, chatted…

Summer, Day 76; Vacation, Day 12

I'm writing this a day later because we got home so late last night. Our last day of vacation -- the return day -- was similar to most return days. We spent time getting ready to depart. We said goodbyes. We took it easy, even with most of the day still in Chicago. We were thankful.

And just when we were ready to go, we were delayed. A big thunderstorm rolled through Chicago, delaying our flight for two hours. With our scheduled departure at 6:35, the delay meant it was going to be a late night.

The boys accompanied my dad and his dog to the park one last time on the trip. We took Dad and his girlfriend to lunch, and they bought let the boys pick out a book at Barnes and Noble for the flight home. At about 3:15 and back at my father's house, I looked at my watch and kind of wanted to the next hour and a half to go quickly, not because I wanted to leave, but because I wanted to get the return over with. Then, I got the email from Delta notifying us of the delay.

So, we relaxed.…

Summer, Day 75; Vacation, Day 11

We needed to return the rental car at 3 p.m. today, so I knew the day would be intersected. We would do something in the morning, bring the car back, and then welcome my friend John for a visit in the evening. The boys, after their crabby day yesterday, got some play time when we visited my friend Marc, who has three boys and lives next door to his in-laws with a pool. The activity made them less jumpy and me less annoyed. It was good to see Marc, one of several friends I wish I could see every year but end up seeing once every two or three. We gassed up the car and got it back to the rental agency in time.

It was good to see John, too, who stopped by the house after he was done with work. My dad got us Giordano's pizza for dinner, thus satisfying my last Chicago craving -- stuffed pizza. After letting the boys stay up late to watch the Olympics, I finally got them to bed. I'm going to pack in the morning.

The last night on vacation is always a little sad. I'm going to mis…

Summer, Day 74; Vacation, Day 10

The boys drove me crazy today. Whining, arguing, disobeying. I'm not sure if they were tired, were missing their Mom, or just bored, but they were on my nerves all day.

Today was low-key, and maybe that's what we needed, because any more activity might have pushed me over the edge. We took a walk on a nature trail at Peterson Park with my dad. Both boys enjoyed the walk, with Ben insisting about taking in the view from every bench he saw and Michael taking pictures. The highlight was seeing a mother deer with a fawn (which you can barely see in the picture, but it's there).After playing at the nearby park, we went for ice cream.

We always seem to have one day such as this near the end of vacation. We get back from Wisconsin, we have nothing concrete planned, and the day doesn't seem wasted, but rather, simply there. After dinner, the boys took a bath and settled down. While my sister watched the boys, I dropped my other siblings off at the pool they work at, then took …


August is cloudy heat. A good chunk of my childhood August memories are humid and cloudy. And rainy. The endless of sun of July gives way to more instability. Sure, the gorgeous days are still there. But so are the storms, and the drab.

Desperation is August. The summer is winding down, and there is only so much time to cram in everything you wanted to do during the last two months. Or to do one last time before September. One last day to the waterpark. One last ball game. One last walk to get a snow cone or frozen yogurt. One last trip out town.  One last summer adventure.

August is earlier nights, later mornings. August is indifference, especially as a Cubs fan -- by this time in most years, my team is already out of it. August is bittersweet.

August is anticipation, sometimes good, sometimes bad. You anticipate the cooler weather, but you know the cooler weather will eventually give way to cold weather. You anticipate football season, again knowing that football season will end in …

Summer, Day 73; Vacation, Day 9

The picture above says it all: We went to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play today. Three generations of Gillespie men: my father, my sons and myself. I took the Lori and the boys to a game last year, so this wasn't their first time to Wrigley. Still, they were excited to see a game, just as I was when I was a kid and now as an adult.My stepfather managed to secure us some good upper deck tickets (my knee handled all the ramps), and the weather was gorgeous.

Unfortunately, the Cubs didn't live up to our excitement for the day. After Starlin Castro hit a home run on the Cubs' second at-bat, the offense shut down. The Pirates only led 2-1 going into the eighth inning before their first seven runners got on base. Leading 7-1 during what was already a long game (so many full counts and throws to first), we decided to get out before the everyone else. We walked across the street to the official Cubs store, then another Cubs merchant selling discount shirts. I wanted to get a C…