Summer of My Discontent

Lake Michigan Storm
Lake Michigan Storm (Photo credit: Tom Gill (lapstrake))

(My apologies to John Steinbeck whose “The Winter of Our Discontent” was his last novel, published in 1961).

As a child, I hated summers.  Not the season itself – the summers in Michigan are wonderful.  It was the long hours of drudgery – housework, farm chores, gardening, canning and freezing that I hated.  I wanted to spend summers swimming, reading, and playing with friends (which I didn’t have, and we lived out in the country so “playmates” meant siblings and “playing” meant, usually, watching and caring for younger siblings).  As a teenager, I usually worked 5 or 6 days a week in addition to my other “responsibilities”.   I wanted to be one of those cool kids who lived at the lake, sunning, waterskiing, hanging out.  Mostly, though, I missed school.

In a lot of ways, this summer was worse than any of those I spent as a youngster.  The first part was spent trying to stay out of the ER – the last part spent recovering from surgery.  I worked the entire summer, with the exception of a long weekend spent in Michigan over the 4th of July (where I met the lovely Peg-o-Leg), and three weeks of sick leave.

This summer highlighted what can happen to the best laid plans.  I am supposed to be semi-retired.  My summers are supposed to be spent with my kids and grandkids, away from the oppressive heat and humidity.  I am supposed to be getting into shape.  I am supposed to be writing, writing, writing…

Instead, I am working year round, full time (officially) but in reality spending an additional 10-15 hours (unofficially) working on classroom stuff.  It is expected.  I spend an additional 10 hours a week commuting.  I am miles from my beloved kids and grandkids.  The “shape” I am in seems to be perpetually “bent out of”.  My writing has been reduced to sporadic blogging, and by that I mean sporadically commenting on other people’s brilliant blogs.

My mood has spiralled downward – my outlook becoming so bleak that I find myself wishing everyone would shut the hell up (ME!!  The one who loves listening, eavesdropping, peeking into lives, learning the backstory, wisecracking).  I cannot even stand my own company.  I find myself wishing that I would shut the hell up.

Shootings, scandals, politics, and horrendous daytime television (really?  Swamp Brothers? Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Maury?  Gack) all conspire to make me wish I could crawl under a rock and stay there.

This image of Tropical Storm Isaac was capture...

But no, I have to deal with unwanted company, as well.  Both Tropical Storm Isaac (from the South, destined to become a Hurricane before visiting my neighborhood) and the GOP National convention (from the North, destined to become a gaffe-fest, if not a gag-fest) are dropping by.  One swoops into the area and there is a lot of wind.  The other swoops in and there is a lot of wind.  Where are those rocks, again?

Then I remember.  I teach because I love it.  In this slow-recovering economy I am lucky to have a job, one that I love despite its hours and commute.  My kids are great.  My grandkids are beautiful – and healthy.  I can (and do) turn the television off.  I can enjoy writing – if not my own, then that of others.  I have read more books in the last month than I have in the last few years combined.  My health is returning (if not my shape) – and I have insurance to take care of that humongous stack of bills associated with getting it back.  Isaac and the Republicans will all leave at some point.  I am praying that few lives are disrupted insurmountably by either.

I am blessed.  And I am back.  This summer can kiss my flabby butt.


Filed under General Mumblings, humor, Uncategorized

44 responses to “Summer of My Discontent

  1. Recovering from surgery can be depressive enough, but couple that with a Republican convention? That’s a lot to take on. I suggest avoiding all forms of media for the next week to keep the vomiting to a minimum.

  2. I am glad to hear that you are turning a corner!
    I can’t watch the news anymore. It is so spun and depressing. Healing after surgery can take time, so be sure to rest!

    • I think I’ve had too much time on my hands, with too little energy for much of anything. Getting back into my routine has helped – and I am resting.

  3. whoa…………….if it helps at all, this summer in Michigan was awful. Spent most of it holed up in AC. Hey, at least we have AC right?

  4. *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*
    Well done, K8! I particularly liked the bit about others shutting up. (I’m not supposed to say ‘shut up’, so please don’t tell my Mom.) Try as I may to read the blogs, my family calls. Try as I may to write the blogs, my family calls. I love my family. I have a kick-ass family. So – okay, could my beloved and kick-ass family shut up for a minute or 30 while I try to read or write?! Good giggly, wiggly!! Apparently, I’m asking for to much. šŸ™‚

    Being a political weather geek, I’ve got my eyes on the meteorologic and political reporters. We are heading to my boss’ house this afternoon to use her pool. The kid magnet will be in the pool with the kids, and I’ll be inside watching their gargantuan TV – tuned into the weather channel. Your under a hurricane warning right now, aren’t you? Here’s hoping Isaac heads further West, sparing all of you.

    As for the Republicans heading your way… no comment. šŸ™‚

    • I know, I don’t like the “shut up” thing at all…but sometimes I just want to shout it.

      Mother Nature, and Republicans, will provide an interesting backdrop this week, I’m sure. For the record, I am sick of both parties,

      And, yes, warnings are in effect…my employer has already cancelled classes for Monday so I have a 3 day weekend – a good supply of emergency items stockpiled, and a plan in place for resting and writing.

  5. Margie

    Excellent point about remembering the good bits – sometimes the bad parts mask all the things we have to remember to be thankful for.

    • Yes, I think there was too much time available. Usually I am so busy that I have to prioritize what I can spend time and energy thinking about. In that case, I choose to concentrate on the positive.

      I think recovering from surgery has an inherent depressive component, things are out of your control and there are limitations you aren’t used to having. Fortunately, those also pass.

  6. Running from Hell with El

    Aw, feel better! I’m so sorry to hear about your summer and the surgery and all the things that have been making you feel bent out of shape. I’ve never liked the heat, and living in a swamp near icky politicians from both parties doesn’t make it better.

    Soon, the smell of leaves, crisp fall air, and fresh apple pie . . . soon.

  7. I can so relate to all of it, Katy. The heat, the ongoing depressing-as-hell news, the never-ending jibberjabber of everyone. I feel like my head’s gonna explode this summer! And I didn’t have to endure surgery like you did. You sound like you’re running yourself ragged. Too bad you couldn’t get some kind of a break again this fall?? Maybe just a few days off from everything?

    • I have a new grandson coming in a few weeks. I hope to take a long weekend then, and maybe again before it turns cold up north.

      And, Hey, a 3 day weekend thanks to Isaac!!!

      I think jibber-jabber is a good description of the unending noise. I need some peace and quiet, but need to have enough energy to enjoy. Just sitting around has always been a bad idea for me – too much time = too much thinking = equals trouble!!!

  8. Katy you are decidedly on the mend. When you can be humorous and snarky at the same time, you’re back.

    Here’s hoping that Isaac just makes the GOP look as wet as they act, and that you don’t have any real damage. And hopefully, the country won’t either!

  9. I hope that neither the hurricane nor the Republicans do any lasting damage.

  10. I’m with Elyse – if you can be humorous and snarky, you’re definitely on the mend (and WELCOME BACK)! I think most of us can relate, though without the recent surgery, so please don’t be too hard on yourself. Working those hours and recovering from surgery are enough to send anyone on a downward spiral, without all the other stressors you mentioned!

    I hope the ‘weather’ continues to clear (I know it will) – we love having you here in the bloggy world! šŸ™‚

    • Yeah – I’m pretty sure it will be a complete recovery. Being faced with limitations I’m not used to, too much time on my hands, a persistant stream of negative media babbling – not a good recipe.

  11. I’m so sorry this summer has been crappy, Katy. That’s so disappointing, especially when you’ve been feeling lousy.

    I hesitate to say I know what you mean because I haven’t had surgery and I have nothing what-so-ever to complain about. But still I DO know what you mean. It’s a general feeling of …discontent mixed with blah and an unhealthy amount of resentment.

    Hope your 3 day weekend avoiding death-by-weather improves everything!

    • ps I just took a good look at your title and laughed out loud. I have a blog draft in the works all about my recent discontent. Now I’ll either have to scratch it or look like a big copycat!

      I guess it shows that great minds bitch alike.

      • Oh, go ahead and use it…When I looked at the “suggested” posts that I might want to include in mine, I couldn’t believe how many “discontent” posts there were.

    • Avoiding death by weather!!! That’s an interesting take on what I was thinking of as “windy, rainy super togetherness without electricity”…

  12. If you have to work, what better “work” than teaching. Glad to hear you are recovering from the surgery.

  13. **I am blessed. And I am back. This summer can kiss my flabby butt.**
    Love your sassy attitude.
    What do you teach? i didn’t know you taught! XXx

  14. You’ve got a lot on your plate, but it sounds like “someone” may actually like it that way. šŸ™‚

    Heal quickly and may all your storms subside.

    • You know, you’re right. If given all day to think about stuff, I will. I like it when energy levels match expectations, though. And it is very hard for me to remember (or admit, I guess) that I have limitations.

  15. LOVE the image of your shape–“being bent out of.” Too funny. And summer can kiss my flabby ass, as well. Brilliant, Katy!

  16. Tell the summer, the RNC and Isaac to blow you. (Literally, in one case.) You’re back. What was, was, and can’t be changed, but there’s much ahead to look forward to!

    • Indeed, there is – and of course, all things pass, including lousy summers, conventions, and storms. I hate when I feel like I’m not in control (even though I fully realize there is vey little that I do, actually, control).

  17. Think, one wind may cause the other wind to be silent! Another blessing?

    Recovery is always hard, I think we spiral a bit just trying to get to where we feel as if we own our bodies again. It will be there though and you know other than ‘healthy’ don’t worry about the rest. Bent can be a shape all its own, You know, like my waist bends in my hips bend out.

    • The loss of my daily routine was the beginning of the downward spiral and I had to admit that I was lost without it – I think I’ve been kind of sleepwalking throught life here lately – keeping busy enough to not have to think too deeply or examine things too closely. As my body heals I am slowly regaining my sense of being in control and ownership of things.

  18. I need to shut up ALL. THE. TIME. Sounds like you’ve had a rough season, but kudos to you for seeing some good in that.

    • It was kind of startling for me to realize that the noise that was making me the craziest was coming from my own head, the words that made me hostile were coming from my own mouth…

  19. Glad you’re back. Stay safe.

  20. Peace is underrated in our modern times, but turning off the TV, the pads and the pods and just “resting” can be downright delicious. Get well soon! (Just think what blog fodder you’re acruing šŸ™‚ )

  21. Glad you have turned the corner on this difficult summer for you.
    Hoping you are recovering from the surgery so that you’re not in pain.
    It’s back to work for this gal. Summer is over. Sigh…

  22. Oh, Katie, I’m happy to wave goodbye to this summer, too, but not for the reasons you list (and your list beats mine by far). I have not major complaints except this was one long, hot, humid summer and it doesn’t want to give up. This may seem like such a minor thing, but I don’t sweat, so the heat builds in me with no place to go. SInce all my symptoms are exacerbated by imflamation, heating from the inside is not a good thing.

    As a result I’ve felt pretty crappy. But I have to focus on all the good things in my life—and there’s nothing like writing about all the crap I went through in my life to remind me that life is pretty darned good (weather notwithstanding) for me right now.

    I hope you’re feeling better, my friend!

  23. Silence! It is healing, to both body and soul.
    Take some time away from everything, even if it means locking yourself in the bathroom for an hour. Your brain seems to have been working overtime, with everything piling up, no wonder you are so overwhelmed. Hope your healing is going well, and good luck with another fall… summer is sure to be better!

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