More Stuff About Summer…and Stone in Love

Daycare in the summer. This is something that I appreciate as a parent. It is also something that I would have hated as a kid. If there is one thing that I will forever be grateful for is that fact that Moms still stayed home in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Although with the crazy high taxes and 20% interest on mortgages, I’m not sure how my folks swung it. Thank Christ for Reagan I guess. Anyway, I can’t imagine a summer where I had to actually go somewhere. Because, you can call it whatever you want, but daycare sounds a helluva lot like going to school in the summer. And that’s like telling me the closing scene in Purple Rain when Prince sings “I Would Die 4 You” isn’t awesome. Like trying to convince me DC Cab wasn’t Mr. T’s greatest acting performance of all time. Like telling me Higgins wasn’t really Robin Masters. I mean, I’m just not buying it.

Summer is a great time to be a kid and I kinda miss it. And I don’t want the girls to miss it. I want them to have the same goofy smile I get on my face when I think of those sweet summer days when the only thing you really had to worry about was not missing the Good Humor man when he drove down your street.

Plus Bailey was asking me the other day if I stayed home all day in the summer instead of going to daycare. The answer of course is that, yeah, I got to stay home because my Mom stayed home with my sisters and I. But all our friends’ Moms stayed home. It was like our Saturday morning cartoon microculture was extended to all day, every day, for three months. Oh and listen, if the girls would let me get away with it I’d have a running loop of Schoolhouse Rock, Scooby and the Superfriends on every Saturday morning now. And I’m 42. Of course I kinda do that now away with the NFL Network and the Military Channel.

So, again, I miss being a kid in the summer. Also at Christmas I guess. And on days when I have to deal with bullsh…I mean whining at work. And when I look at what college is going to cost for three kids. And sometimes when I watch Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark

I mean right at the beginning you have my birthday which serves as the pregame tailgate to summer but with presents and cake. Then there’s the last day of school which is the official kickoff to summer vacation. Then, if you were me, you had swimming lessons, basketball camp and the building of scale models of most the Pacific Fleet in World War II. Although, I was never a big fan of swimming lessons. They were usually in the morning and I mean how often do you actually do the butterfly? Its like the one-hit wonder of swim strokes. It’s Eddy Grant’s Electric Avenue in the summer of ’83! Woo! Other one-hit wonders from the summer of ’83: Frank Stallone’s Far From Over, Puttin’ on the Ritz by Taco and Ewok Celebration from the…um…the Ewoks I guess.

Ever notice how there are a few songs that just absolutely point to summer? You want to go back to the summer of ’83? Tough to beat Electric Avenue. Summer of ’82? Tainted Love! Summer of ’81? Point Blank’s Nicole. Summer of ’80? You May be Right and Its Still Rock and Roll to Me from Billy Joel.

I was pointing this out to Riley Monday night on our way home from her summer dance classes that this incessantly catchy bubble gum song from One Direction You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful will be the song that brings back the summer of ’12 for her. Of course the whole concept of nostalgia and bringing something back isn’t apparent to you if you’re 12. You have a small frame of reference. Kinda like all the first time voters who bought what the president was selling back in ’08.

You know what really brings summer back? I mean besides sparklers, the smell of Off! and the sound of a big ol’ moth hitting the bug zapper? Afros and baseball caps. You know it! Garry Maddox flying around 2nd, losing his helmet thereby setting free the awesomeness of the 70’s ‘fro and then taking a head-first slide into 3rd. Oh, and the Cubs light blue pinstriped uni’s. I love light blue. Just got myself a vintage Oilers t-shirt too. Sweet.

Anyway, summer is for a lot of things. One of them is listening to cool songs from your formative years. Another is doing stupid crap in your formative years. Fortunately, these guys were able to do both.

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Summer’s Here

Last day of school was last last Friday. Doesn’t matter how old I get, “last day of school” is still magic. Like “Christmas Eve” or “Super Bowl XIII” or even “Escape from New York”…maybe that’s just me. Anyway, while I’ve been preaching about how excited I am for summer to get here, Kinsey’s excitement levels have exceeded the capacity of our regular containment systems. Kinsey had her 10th birthday party – a sleepover for 6 of her friends last Friday too. Birthday party sleepover coupled with the last day of school? There hasn’t been a combination this anticipated since Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall teamed up for “Coming to America.” Plus our neighbor came over for most of the evening too. And Mom thought it was a good idea for Rye to have a friend stay over. And then, strangely, another of Rye’s friends just happened to walk over to the house. And don’t forget that Bails lives here too. So, if you’ve been keeping track, that’s 11 girls in the house. I guess you could throw in Mom too. That means I was outnumbered 12-1. Not unlike the 101st Airborne at Bastogne. I’m a Dad with three girls…I’m supposed to be surrounded.

So here’s a somewhat brief summary of the party. The FAA had to institute a temporary No Fly Zone over our house because the decibel levels reached by the girls during Ghost in the Graveyard were creating dangerous in-flight turbulence for planes in the approach patterns.

You can’t really anticipate with any kind accuracy what these girls can consume. They didn’t really lay into the ice cream like we expected and we had enough pizza left over for us to feed ourselves on Saturday. But they just killed the chips, popcorn, pretzels, M&M’s, etc. we purchased. Gone. Like Chad Ochocinco’s relevancy. They even ate those puffy Cheetos that stain your teeth so horribly they make you look like you’ve been smoking for 34 years.

I went down and vacuumed the basement where they all slept about 10 minutes after the last girl was picked up Saturday morning. It sounded like I was walking across broken glass and gravel. And I have this freaking sweet new vacuum. Dyson with Cyclone technology. And yeah, it’s awesome. What can I say? I like clean floors. Anyway, the container for the dust and crap the vacuum sucks up was, and I’m not really joking here, half M&M’s and potato chips. It was like they decided to eat without their hands. And remember that when it comes eating, actually getting the food into their mouths isn’t always the primary objective for 4th graders. I ended up vacuuming twice, then giving the carpet a spot shampoo, scrubbing the stains out of it, then vacuuming again. Took awhile but nobody wants legions of ants in phalanx formations marching across their basement floors.

We had them turn out the lights about 11 in the hope that it would slow them down. It kinda worked as the noise died down about midnight while the last of them conked out about 1 a.m. That’s a win. The next morning, Mom gets up about 7:00 and heads downstairs because one of the girls needed to up and ready before 8:00 for her soccer game. When she gets to the kitchen another of Kinsey’s friends is already up there.

Mom, somewhat surprised to see any of them awake, says, “Hey, are any of the other girls awake down there?”

“Yeah, everybody is.”

Which, upon reflection, isn’t really a surprise. I mean as powerful as the Sandman is when you’re 10 years old and up past midnight, even he can’t overcome the power of sugary caffeinated beverages. Which we allowed because it was Kinsey’s birthday. Although we kinda cheated them a bit and only had regular Root Beer (sugar but no caffeine) and several choices of sugarfree/caffeine free pops.

Otherwise, it was really good weekend. Mom took me to Earl’s Tires and we picked new freaking wheels for my truck. And they are sweet. I’m pretty sure the brand name for the the color I picked is Bad Ass Black. Now I’m not a car guy. Not really even close. But I do like to be cool. And its pretty tough to be anything other than cool with these wheels. Bad Ass Cool. Here’s a pic:

I know right. You want some too now. Bad Assery is contagious.

I also finished 11/23/63 on Saturday. That is an 864 page book in six days. I devoured half of it on Memorial Day. For some of you, this feat is merely shrug-worthy. You knock out 800 page books a couple times a month. For me, this is the equivalent of writing the book myself, except better than Stephen King. Not being a King fan, I was a bit wary of reading starting it. But you convince a great storyteller to write a book about time travel and 20th century American history and you’ve got yourself a damn good book. Except my guy would go back through the rabbit hole into October of ’92 and he’d mug Francisco Cabrera on his way into Fulton County Stadium thereby changing the outcome of Game 7 of the NLCS. But that’s just me…