I am not going to hide my light under a bushel during this post. No-sir-ee. I’m going to brag like a teen-aged boy who scored with a 24-year-old hottie. But this isn’t about statutory rape or premarital sex or hormones. This is a post about summer.
And how to ruin it.
If summer is a delicate souffle, then I’m a loud clanging gong-y monster with a pitchfork I use to pierce eggy dishes.
Oh, I ruined it alright. It’s not even over, but I did enough damage during June and July that it will reverberate for the next 6 weeks. Someone please get me an ice pack, I am hurting my shoulder from patting my back so hard for the great job I did zapping joy and squashing fun all summer.
How’d you do it? you might ask. Let me distill this down to a handy list. Really, any three of the following five will work, but when you overachieve like me, you knock ’em all out before August.
How To Ruin A Summer Break
- Read A Scary Book. It’s possible that this alone might have ruined by summer. While all of you were watching the Zimmerman trial and waiting for Kanye’s spawn to be born, I was buried in a book about a school shooting. The book was well written, expertly researched, and riveting, but it was about school shooting, which is a topic that I can’t handle without terror-induced panic attacks. The minute I read the introduction to the book, fear like a virus spread through my body, leaving me tense and headachey. Did I stop reading about Columbine? No, because that might have saved the summer. I read the whole thing and now find myself obsessed with psychopathy and deathly afraid of alienated male youth. I am considering home schooling.
- Publish A Post On A Heated Topic. This one too might have done it alone. I wrote a post for a public website, and when the editor accepted it, she said, “you might get some heat here.” Ever the woman of the world, I was all I can take heat! Bring it! But then the comments came and I crumpled like a paper doll in a hail storm. I read the first one and felt my breakfast inching up from my stomach. I can’t take the heat. Heat scares me. Offending other people terrifies me. Having anonymous strangers lash out at me sends me to the bathroom with GI distress. (You will note I am too chicken to link to any of this here. Maybe next summer.)
- Turn 40 And Concentrate On How Life Is Half Over. Yep, the big four OH. It was a lovely day in my blessed life, but then I started collecting statistics about things that go wrong in the female human body after 40. Now when I get a headache, I am sure that it’s menopause or a hematoma, but either way it’s a sign of my internal decay.
- Decide You Have To Move. This decision should be made in a haze of panic and fear that a long school commute in the fall might shorten the lives of your family members. (You’ve read those studies that commuting adds stress and makes otherwise healthy people lose their hair, right?) Then, whip yourself into some urgency and pick out one neighborhood across town where you’d be willing to live, but where the houses rarely go on sale in your price range. Once one you can afford goes on sale, drag your husband– who’s fresh out of oral surgery– to a showing and put in an offer. Because you know what? Those insurance charts that say moving is one of the “most stressful” things humans undertake should be tested by your family. During the summer.
- Put Yourself On A “Have No Mercy” Budget. I should have been on a budget all along, and I used to adhere to one, but after my second child was born, I fell off my family’s financial grid. And I developed some spendy habits. Like treating myself to something material for accomplishing banal tasks like bathing my children or wearing matching shoes to work. Did I deserve Ann Taylor Loft bauble for completing tasks concerning basic hygiene? No. Did I do it anyway in fits of self-entitlement and delusion? Sometimes. But now I’m on the fiscal straight and narrow, which is great, except it came on the heels of the previous four items so it’s like pouring alcohol on a gaping wound. It hurts.
Ever ruined a perfectly good summer? How’d you do it? I might need tips for next year.