Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer 2014, days 71-85: A time of acceptance

That grand plan I had to squeeze as much out of the last weeks of summer as possible? Yeah, it didn't get too far.

I've been so swamped with freelance work that I was apprehensive to set off on any amazing adventures. Hurray for being swamped, but it comes with a a more restrained schedule. For example, I have probably put in at least 15 hours of work these past three weekend days. That's good in that I got much done, but it's indicative that I have to be a little more cautious of how I'm budgeting my time.

I don't think the boys have minded too much. They have been playing with friends -- those last days of desperate summer fun before school begins. We had some ornery weather over the past two weeks -- Utah's monsoon season in which we get a rain and some thunderstorms. Still, the last two weeks had their moments:

-- Ben finally learned how to ride his bike, on Aug. 4 (Day 72). After he struggled to get any balance every time we tried, on this day -- a couple months since he last tried -- it all clicked. Two days later, he tried Michael's old bike and could ride that. Three days after that, he rode in a short bicycle race. He needed a little help at the start, and it was only about 100 yards or so (this was a fun event before a Tour of Utah stage began at Rice-Eccles Stadium), but he rode it nonetheless just a week after not being able to ride a bike, period. He was very excited.

-- We spent a whole long afternoon at the waterpark this last Thursday (Day 82). Michael was with a friend, and they pretty much did their own thing all day. We met one of Ben's friends there, and they were somewhat independent, too. We hadn't gone to the waterpark much this summer, so our day was a blast. The clouds threatened rain for a few minutes early, but then cleared for perfect hot conditions.

-- Ben is doing postseason swim practices. Michael did six days of basketball boot camp followed by two intense days of get-back-into-shape camp.

-- Visits to the dentist. Enough said.

-- The Corolla needed a new starter. Hurray, the Corolla now starts all the time (it was dicey for about a week there).

-- I wrote three prep football previews for The Tribune. I was having a hell of a time reaching coaches -- I don't ever remember being so frustrated about not getting interviews (I'm sure I have been; it's just been a long time).

-- Running? No. BodyPump? No. Some long walks with the dog? Yes, including a couple short hikes. Chunkier than I'd like to be? Oddly, yes -- my current weight, a little heavier than expected, doesn't jibe with how I actually look in the mirror. A lot of sucking in the stomach at the pool? Oh yes.

-- My sister and her family came through town for a day. They had been traveling for weeks straight, so they were content to just relax. My nephews love the toys we have in our basement, and Popcorn liked having another dog in the house (the cat, not so much).

-- Writing? If it's not for work, sadly, no. As I've said on numerous occasions, if I have time with my laptop, I feel guilty if I'm not working on the freelance stuff. Three stickies are on my desktop One has the posts I'd like to write for this blog. Another has the posts for the GenX blog I've been wanting to start for years now. The third has my to-do list, including freelancing.and home projects. The third is the only one seeing any movement. I think my busy task lists will seem less daunting once school starts. I hate to wish for summer to end, but I can see the schedule coming into focus once the boys are back in school.

And those were the highlights of the past two weeks. One other eureka moment is that once summer ends, I'm not going to look ahead to next summer. Instead, I'm going to be thankful for each day, for each week. The time will pass quickly enough, so savoring the present should help my focus as well. The stickies will be be in a state of flux, but they don't need to be finished, just updated over and over. Acceptance is something I'm going to work hard to accept.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer 2014, day 70

The boys slept late today after their impressive yet tiring season-ending swim meet Friday. Around 10:30, Lori suggested we go to the Farmer's Market in downtown SLC. We loaded into the car (even the dog) and headed to the market. The trip was enjoyable. Ben got to try a trapeze swing, we ate lunch, and Popcorn did well amid the crowd. Spending a few hours at the market on our anniversary was the highlight of our day.

The day wasn't too eventful after that. The boys were still tired and were content to stay inside the rest of the afternoon. Lori and I felt the same way. We watched "Wayne's World' during dinner, then the boys and I howled at the silliness of "Sharknado 2."

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer 2014, day 69

The boys swam their final meet of the season tonight. Neither was going to the conference meet next week, so this was their last chance to turn in some good times this summer. Their team tracks "pops" -- personal bests over the course of the season. Ben had seven coming in and Michael had four. They lost some of their fitness over vacation but had managed to get themselves back into shape over the past few days. This meet was for kids not swimming at conference, and because both Ben and Michael just missed being included for next week, we felt they could do really well tonight.

They did great! Each kid swam five events, and Ben finished with pops in all five and Michael in three. I was quite proud.

Michael's summer has been weird -- he swam great the first meet, then leveled off once basketball really kicked in. This happened last summer when he played All-Stars for baseball, and he recovered once we got back from vacation. That was much the same this year, as he looked great in his 50 freestyle, 50 breaststroke and IM. He could have won the 50 backstroke but misjudged the turn and bonked his head on the wall.

This was such an incredible season for Ben. He improved so much and his confidence soared. But the 7-8 boys age group on his team is so good that we had a hunch that he wouldn't make conference. At one point, Ben was ranked in the top 30 in the conference in the 25 freestyle in his age group ... but had only the 12th-best time on his own team. Going into this meet, he had the best backstroke and breaststroke times of all the competitors, so I thought he had a chance to win those races, but I wasn't sure after he missed two weeks of training after vacation. Something must have clicked with him and his confidence, because he won the 25 breast and went crazy in winning the 25 back and breaking his best time by almost two seconds. He took third in the 25 and 50 freestyles and fourth in the 25 butterfly. This meet gave out an award to the top point-getter in each division, and when Ben realized this (we didn't tell him about it), I think he realized he had a chance at it. However, another teammate who won three events took the honor (the pair really dominated the meet). Ben looked sad and happy at the same time, and he got a hug from one of his coaches who knew how hard he worked.

We went to Smashburger for dinner. The heat returned, and I waited until later to walk the dog. Another sports season complete. Soccer is up next ...