Tag Archives: Best Laid Plans

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