Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Summer of Tasks ... and Critters

And so it begins.

A new school year is imminent. It's coming. Depending on your geographic spot on Third Rock, some of you have already embarked upon this annual ritual (and yes, others of you homeschool your minions so "education never sleeps" and we know your kids are smarter and better adjusted than ours and they don't cuss or play Call of Duty or make snarky comments about that one kid in the back of the class who eats paste and boogers YES I KNOW). With this restart of institutionalized sanity for the Mom Class comes the inevitable questions:

How was your summer? Did you go anywhere?

I hate these questions. I really do. I hate it when my kids come home and talk about their classmates who spent a month in the French Riviera studying local flora and fauna or a month traveling all over the country in a Winnebago to better understand their heritage or a week in Mexico diving with venomous sea creatures to build an artificial reef or two weeks saving orphaned alpacas in the Peruvian mountains or a week building shelters for neglected hyenas. YES. FINE. You left your house during these last 74 days. Here's your medal. Go ahead. Polish it. I'll stand here and wait. You can use the salty tears of my neglected children -- I have a vial here. Hang on while I dig it out of my Walmart sack ...

We left the house to venture as far as the grocery store, the bookstore, the coffee shop, the local pool (twice!), the ice creamery, the park, the golf course, the movie theatre, the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver's answer to a "zoo," and the Vancouver Aquarium/Stanley Park. (Evidence below.) 

Mountain lion. Puma concolor. Greater Vancouver Zoo. She was pacing, watching the caretaker, waiting for lunch.

Jellies. No peanut butter anywhere.

Two-toed sloth, climbing around the sprinklers in the Amazon exhibit. VERY cute. And slow.
ELFIN! He's beautiful. Read more about Elfin here:

Pretty jellyfish. Quite little. Maybe the size of a small lemon?

Pissing match ongoing. Apparently, these two sea lions had just been moved into the same enclosure a few hours prior, so they were howling at each other (sounds like a really long belch) about who was boss. Pretty funny. Until it became annoying.
Penguins! Quite warm for the little fellas this day.


HUG ME. (Giant Pacific octopus)

I ask my kids, "Am I a terrible mother because I didn't take you windsurfing in the Columbia River Gorge or to sweat alongside 1.3 million other angry people at Disneyland?" Their answers, thankfully, have been, "No, Mommy, we love you. You're pretty and your voice chimes like the bells of Notre Dame. Can we get Slurpees?" Which means my kids are awesome. Not entitled little shits. Before you polish those medals I handed out earlier, ask yourself if your kids are awesome. If they are, polish away. If they're not awesome, then you might want to melt down that medal and pawn it to pay for a behavioral interventionist.

But the point here is not how awesome my kids are, or how unawesome other people's kids are. Instead, it's a wrap-up of What I DID and Did NOT Do on My Summer "Vacation*," those things I set out to do, some achievements unlocked while others not, before we face the Big Dark that will lock us indoors and under protective shelters along soccer sidelines until the sun revisits in nine months' time. 

(*By the way, vacation implies that there were days off. Maybe I should call it the Summer of Tasks, because I do not usually take days off. Except today. Although I should be working. I'm way more awesome than you, aren't I? Sitting here telling you how fantastic I am because I don't take days off ... mwuahhh ha ha ha. Slacker. Certain former members of my life would say, "Oh, please, let us erect a plaster statue of you in the garden." To them, I say, GET THEE SOME PLASTER AND STOP FLAPPING YOUR WINE-STAINED LIPS.)


1. I did not lose 15 lb. Instead, I gained 5. 

2. I did finish writing another book. Under a pen name. Stay tuned.

3. I did not teach my children the fundamentals of grammar as planned. #fail

4. I did edit eight projects for clients, including one that is floating around the NYT bestseller list. Congratulations, Samantha Young!

5. I did not exchange the wrong math book for the right one. Hence, no math was done.

6. I did take a thousand more pictures of my cat. DUH.

Pretty Nuit.
I believe I can flyyyyyyy ...
7. I did not plant flowers in the bed of death at the front of the house. Nor did I waste water trying to keep my lawn alive. Unlike my neighbors. Seriously? LET IT DIE. It will be green the other nine months of the year. Oh, and the dandelion forest looks so pretty in the early-morning sun.

8. I did begin exhaustive research from a completely scientific/historical standpoint about Jesus and the Romans. It's for a new book. And wow. Who knew human beings have been douchey to each other forEVER? Let's hug. ((HUG))

9. I did not watch Welcome to the Punch every single night. Although I wanted to.

10. I did take the kids to see The Croods, Despicable Me 2, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Husband worked on this one--built the sets for Camp Half-Blood and Polyphemus's cave (photos here)).

My Brennie, meeting his heroes on the set of Percy Jackson, Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario, June 2012.

11. I did not write Mark Strong any weird, obsessed fan letters or emails. Although, I was so excited about his new AMC series Low Winter Sun that I may have tweeted/Google+'d about it, and my girlfriend sent me this after she Googled Mark Strong (she didn't know who he was--horrors!). This came up. Third entry down, that is MY GOOGLE+ comment, you guys. BEFORE Wikipedia. I'm actually kind of embarrassed that I'm so weird. Okay, not really. It will allllll make sense once this rewrite is finished, I PROMISE.

Low Winter Sun publicity still. Adorable.

12.  I did make sure my soccer star made his way into two awesome soccer camps so that I wouldn't be labeled a complete failure. (This counts as one of my accomplishments, right? I'm running out of "dids" here, friends. Way more "did nots." Shit.)

13. I did not read a single book for pleasure. Okay, that's not true. I finished a Sophie Kinsella back in July because it was fun. 

14. I did, however, buy a stack of new books because I am addicted and YES the first step in treating an addiction is recognizing you have a problem and promptly returning to the bookstore for more books. Cheaper than therapy, baby.

Saw this on one of the shelves in the YA section. Funny.

15. And another did, because this was a good one: I did get to see my oldest boy, who I don't see much because he's growed up and lives in Washington, and he went fishing in Squamish and caught us fresh salmon (called "pinks" or "humpies"). Delish.

Blakey caught 'em. We ate 'em. Thank you, Blakey.

SOOOO ... with the remaining days of this Summer of Tasks, I will continue forth with more research, take a nap, do laundry, get the kids' school supplies (yes, we've waited till the very last minute because I want to SAVOR the office supply store), drink a beer, maybe two, and probably walk around my chair trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to finish this book. 

Rarely do we get comments here, but please, share what you did this summer so I can live vicariously through your adventures. The grander, the better. Or, if like me you stayed home to work and tend the home fires, share that too. 

Fall is coming. And then winter. Although, Winter Is Coming but not until spring 2014. Curse you, HBO! #gameofthrones

Xs and Os, lovelies ...