Thursday, September 4, 2008

E-August 2008

I am sure to the kids the summer of 2008 seemed to go on forever, full of new experiences. Hopefully they will have little fragments of these memories stay with them when they are grown up. For me however, the summer has flown by and is a stark reminder of how tightly wound up my life’s clock currently is, relentlessly racing time forward.

The kids wake up each morning with nothing to do but enjoy the day. Although they don’t have much freedom to impose their own will, they are free to just take each moment as it comes. No need to plan, or worry about what comes next. They aren’t even old enough yet to dread the end of summer… fact they seem almost without need of knowing what time even is. As a result, they happily go from one activity to another in a sort of ignorant bliss while time slowly passes.

I hope they remember the ice cream on warm summer afternoons, slip and sliding in the yard, learning to ride bikes, endless hours playing together with little parental supervision (other than to break up the occasional un-resolvable squabble), playing in the sand at the beach, reading on the couch, playing with the riding toys, dinner at their grandparents watching the sun set, sitting as a family on the trampoline, festivals in the park.

With a tinge of regret, I note how differently my summer flies along. Yes, I have gotten to join the kids in many of these activities and I am really thankful for that. However, even though I am there physically, I am so often in a different place mentally from them. I tell myself it is out of necessity but I am not totally sure if that’s true. Alternating between my working days/nights and my time off, I feel equally busy during both periods. I feel far too fortunate and happy with my lot in life to complain but can’t help but notice how different my responsibility-filled adult life is to the carefree existence of youth where summers lazily slide along ignorant of home improvement projects or the impending arrival of Labour day.

We had a great trip to Kelowna to see Brady and Lisa Ibbetson in late July. Mostly sunny weather in the low 30’s made for great days spent lounging at their home and at the beach. Gyro beach, with soft sand that goes out a kilometer into some really warm water, was one of the nicest freshwater beaches I have ever seen. Brady and I played football in the shallow water for a long time before we gave into the kids whimpering and fed them some Little Caesars pizza. At the crack of dawn one morning, Brady took me for what was supposed to be a mountain bike ride but turned into more of a mountain bike walk when my lack of experience riding on cliff edges showed its face. One night we had dinner and ice cream in the park while we watched one of the outdoor concert series events. It was a great trip getting to catch up with our long time friends and finally see their home.

Since that time we have spent most of the summer in Point Roberts. Les has been enjoying her NetFlix subscription that ensures she always has at least two new movies at our place. Finding the time to watch them however has been a challenge lately. On top of the usual responsibilities with the kids, she is now working more hours at both paid and unpaid work. Her writing is going really well but demands a few days of her uninterrupted attention each week. Inspired by the great work Brady and Lisa did on their house, and having finally reached a different stage in our lives, Les has taken the bull by the horns on kicking the 1970’s out of our cottage. Although it may take years to fully rid ourselves of this tacky decade, painting over the wood panel and completely replacing the downtrodden carpet is a great start. Altogether it doesn’t make for all carefree easy-living days, but you’ll rarely hear Les complain……even when foregoing sleep is the only way she manages to fit it all in.

We have had lots of little outings as a family and I have had a few on my own. Each time I bike to work, it is a bit of an adventure as I pick a different path on the 33kilometre route. However I have developed one routine of stopping for blueberries at a local farm and loading my backpack full of berries. I went with our neighbour Bill to the F440 Go-Karts one day and managed to beat all the drunk guys from the stag parties but didn’t manage to best Bill’s time. It made me feel better knowing he routinely drives his motor bike over 250 km/hr. Perhaps the most surreal moment of the summer though…..the type that if you could have seen as a young kid you wouldn’t have believed…..took place at Dairy Queen. Each year Dairy Queen donates all the profits from Blizzards sold to Children’s Hospital and firefighters do the serving. Flying around the cramped space behind the counter I couldn't help but bump into the other dozen or so people frantically trying to keep pace with the Blizzard demand. I made some good treats but also managed to fling ice cream all over another fire fighter's uniform and to make 5 cookie dough blizzards instead of the 5 Oreo ones that were ordered. At the end of the night I made the biggest imaginable strawberry cheesecake Blizzard that was packed with stuff.

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