Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer 2015: Day 8

In September 2008, Michael played his first organized soccer game. He took to the sport quickly and had so much fun that first season. He scored plenty of goals (it helped he was the biggest kid out there) and was a joy to coach.

Today, we might have witnessed Michael's last organized soccer game. He's been lukewarm to playing since the fall. Part of it was the team was disorganized then, and part of it was he just is preferring basketball. I didn't coach his team this year, instead scaling back and let others more qualified than me guide his development. For the spring season (in this rec league, you sign up and get fall and spring in a package deal), his team got a new coach and Michael's enthusiasm perked up a little. However, it was not enough to keep playing, and he asked not play come next fall.

It's been a good run. Michael became a good goalkeeper this season -- no easy task considering nobody on his current team plays defense. I think he likes playing midfielder better, but his fall coach wasn't giving him that chance and it frustrated him. The new coach saw his value as an attacker but still needed him in goal because he was the best keeper. But what disappointed Michael this spring was the chance to play more basketball on Saturdays than he did. He was still on one team but had teammates who played on two. I hate to have him specialize in one sport (and he's still doing swim team), but if a second sport is preventing him from playing the first sport that he loves more, we shouldn't force him to play the second sport. He's done with baseball as well, and he had a good run there, too. Maybe he will change his mind, but I won't be disappointed if he doesn't.

Still, I can be sad that the soccer era is coming to an end. I remember his first game. I was nervous as it was my first time coaching soccer. But it was just fun back then: 4-on-4, small fields, little goals -- and Michael could kick the ball far. I'll still be coaching Ben's team next year, and I do love watching Michael playing basketball so. Yet, after seven years of soccer, my melancholy is understandable.

Yes, Ben had a game today, too, and his team played really well against the best team in the league. Michael had a basketball game -- his team lost 31-28, but he played well, 4 points and 10 rebounds. We hustled over to the soccer game for the second half, and he made a great save in the first minute.

Today was also our first trip to the pool for the summer. The boys had fun. I made my annual jump of the diving board to remind myself I can swim in deep water -- that first one always makes me nervous. We came home and barbecued and ate outside, and I took the dog for a hike before it got dark. All in all, a great summer Saturday, even it did represent an ending.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer 2015, Day 7

This glorious day would have been more glorious if work hadn't pummeled me. I had my agenda set on what I needed to get done in a reasonable time frame, but it turned I out, I accomplished very little of that agenda. Things kept coming up. We had to talk a writer off a ledge from quitting. Three Zoom meetings. Unexpected fires to attend to. I know it was just a four-day week, but hurray for the weekend!

Ben had a baseball game, which his team won 14-7 (it wasn't even that close). He struck out twice and now hasn't got a hit in a month ... but at least he has hits this season. He's still so enthusiastic. I took him to Costa Vida for dinner, where he ate an entire burrito. I got the dog out for a nice long walk tonight. Saturday is going to be busy, and I do have some work to do, but at least this week is over.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer 2015, days 4-6

Days 4 and 5 of this summer were much like the whole month: rainy. And it was finally taking its toll. Another baseball game rained out. Another day I couldn't work on the porch (where I work best and am less tempted to keep grazing in the kitchen). Another gloomy reminder that May has sucked.

OK, it hasn't sucked. But this is my favorite month because it prefaces summer. Everything is green, but it has been gray as well. Although I like thunderstorms like the one that passed through last night, I prefer them to be one-day events sandwiched between days of sun, not a break from just normal showers.

A glorious thing happened today, Day 6: The sun stayed out all day. I had to actually water the EZ Seed on the front lawn. I worked on the front porch. I took the dog on a long walk without worrying if we would be caught by a sudden storm. I kept the windows rolled down on the Corolla while it was in the driveway. I held soccer practice for the first time in four weeks -- the previous three Thursdays having been canceled because of downpours and lightning. I enjoyed the greenery and the long dusk that is a sure sign that summer has arrived.

With the flooding in Texas, I shouldn't complain about the rain here so much, but I'm glad it finally broke. Temperatures are climbing into the 80s over the weekend, and the 10-day forecast has no rain in sight. I need to clear vegetation around the outside AC unit, because we may need to turn the air on soon.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer 2015, Day 3

We got to drive the car a long time again today! Michael had a basketball game in South Jordan this morning -- a good 15-mile jaunt each way. His team lost (they looked so out of sorts this morning; Michael finished with 1 point and two vicious picks that put defenders on the ground), and after, I had to remember what car to look out for. We hit Subway on the way home.

The yard got plenty of attention today. Michael pulled weeds, I mowed and weeded the back lawn, the boys and Lori planted vegetable seedlings in the garden, I put down EZ seed on the front lawn. We got to drive again, to Home Depot, to get the plants and two bags of wood chips.

I grilled, and after dinner, we drove up to the H Rock for a little hike and the great view of the valley. The day was still partly cloudy, and we were too early for the sunset, but the boys appreciated the exercise, and Popcorn was super excited to run around. And we got to drive the new car again! I have a good feeling that this summer is going to be a lot of fun.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Summer 2015, Day 2

The shock period after the new car yesterday definitely meandered into today. We all drove to the JCC so Ben could do a turn/dive clinic for swim team, Lori could work out, Michael could shoot hoops and I could work, and the short trip felt great just because we got to drive there. Later in the day, we went to Costco -- Lori drove while I set the presets on the radio. Yes, we are definitely enjoying this.

What we aren't enjoying is the continued rain. I wanted to take the dog for a long walk tonight, but after several clear hours, the showers resumed. The best I could get was a walk around the block.

Aside from our excursions, it was a mostly lazy Sunday of recovery. Both boys were exhausted from Friday/Saturday, and though they did collaborate to mow the front lawn, they were content to just hang out.

Summer 2015, Day 1

Tonight, I begin my annual journaling of summer, my favorite time of the year. By my count, May 23 to Sept. 9 (the day before the first NFL game) equals 110 days. That's plenty of time to blog this summer and all it brings.

It can't come soon enough.

The last three weeks or so have been continually rainy. I can't remember the last fully sunny day we have had here in Salt Lake City. May is usually a pleasant month, with a few rainy days but nothing like this. Temperatures have been cool -- I feel like we suddenly moved to Seattle. I usually start this summer blogging a week earlier or so, but the weather hasn't put me in much of a summery mood. And the next week isn't looking better. But, it's Memorial Day weekend, so now is the time to start

Today, this first day of my defined summer, was occasionally rainy and cool, just like the last two weeks. But it was eventful.

Michael was at Teton Science School for his fifth-grade class trip since Wednesday, and he returned today. Ben had a sleepover for his birthday party last night, and he and his friends woke up at 6 a.m. this morning. And amid all, we got a new car today.

We needed to replace our 2002 Outback for some time now -- it needs a lot of repairs and creaks  every time we turn. Plus, as the boys are getting taller, we need something with a little more room, as well as a car that we can take on trips. After a few weeks, we got a good deal on a RAV4 for our first brand new car in 18 years (almost to the weekend) since we bought our Corolla -- which we still own.

The process took all afternoon, but it timed out well -- Michael's bus arrived just about at the same time we finished the purchase. We came home but had to take the new car for a spin, so we drove to the West Jordan Nike Outlet to buy Michael a new pair of basketball shoes. Afterward, we went to the suburban location of Simply Sushi -- an all-you-can-eat sushi place, where we ate a lot. We took the long way home and gazed at the valley from the east belt route.

The rain may be hanging around, but the first day of summer was still great.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Vacation 1984: The trip home

What can I say about our journey home to complete our Florida/Georgia vacation of April 1984? We left Atlanta early, got home at about 8 p.m., went to sleep, woke up the next morning and went to school. The end.

We must have stopped to eat someplace along the way, but I don't remember where. We stopped at a gas station in which I saw a Turtles tape; when I mentioned it to the family, they said I should have alerted them and we could have bought it (we had seen the Turtles the summer before at ChicagoFest). It was a pure driving day, and my dad pushed to get us home. The end.

From all these posts I've written, it might seem I didn't have fun on this vacation. That's absolutely not true. The trip was great, a vacation we desperately needed, and one of the last real family adventures we had before my parents separated two years later. It just wasn't quite as wondrous as the first Florida trip two years earlier, and as an adult, it's not evoking the deeper memories as the other vacation. I have some theories why:

  • I said this in a previous post: The 1984 trip was more planned, more structured, and less seat-of-our-pants, let's-see-where-this-car-takes-us-next adventurous than 1982. There's something to be said for spontaneity, and with this trip, there was just a little less surprise.
  • I was a teenager, so naturally, I was less attuned with the wonder. I was already so sullen during my last few months of eighth grade that it was natural for it to spread to vacation. Thus, the memories aren't as intense because I didn't relish the experience quite as much.
  • Our 1984 trip wasn't new. The 1982 vacation was our first real vacation. See the above thought on lack of surprise. 
  • I was 13 and, well, maybe vacations with your family are just less fun at this age (I hope not, otherwise, we just have a few good ones left before Michael hits his teen years).
We were lucky that we took vacation when we did (again, my dad as a policeman was assigned whole weeks off and didn't get to choose as freely as other jobs do), because we got back on Palm Sunday, had 3 1/2 days of school, and were back on vacation for Easter break -- we just didn't go anywhere for that.

School resumed on April 30, and May whizzed by and I was no longer a grade schooler. This might have been the last hurrah of my true kid years; that summer flew past (and was a good summer), but then high school and life was so much different. So much changed. And other than a little three-day trip we took in summer 1985 (I sense another vacation post!), I wouldn't have another real vacation of more than a hundred miles away until college.

With that in mind, the 1984 vacation was important. And memorable. And great.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tired, sleepy, fatigued

I'm 16 weeks into the new job, and I think this week, I was more tired than any of the previous 15.

I usually wake up during my sleep cycle around 5:30 to use the restroom. In the past, I merely went back to sleep, dozing off pretty quickly. Lately, I'm not falling back asleep so easily. I start thinking about my workday and what I need to do ... and I can't turn my brain back off. Yes, I'll doze for a little while, but even this week, that seemed impossible.

I should just get up and start working and nap later -- a perk of working from home. I should keep my phone out of my room, and I have been good at not looking at it every time I wake up, but I like listening to podcasts or ESPN radio on it while falling asleep, so it's in the room on the front end. Instead, I've just been lying in bed, trying to fall back asleep, the opposite of when I worked nights and couldn't fall asleep in the first place.

The solution would seem to be going to bed earlier, but I'm not quite designed for that. If I'm getting any personal writing done, it's late, after walking the dog. Make no mistake, I'm happy to be full-time again, I just am becoming keenly aware that 9-to-5, so easy for most people, is a massive adjustment for me after 25 years working nights (and the five I worked early, early mornings in Madison). I need to figure out a way how to not start thinking about work until I sit down in front of my Mac.

On the bright side, at least I wrote tonight. Time for bed ...