Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Goodbye, Summer

I haven't seen a lightening bug in a while, but everywhere I go, I do see school supplies and harried moms with excited kids filling their carts. A big yellow bus drove through the neighborhood yesterday, making a practice run before school starts back next week, which can only mean one thing: it's time to say goodbye to summer time.

I love the laid back atmosphere that lazy summer days bring about; t-shirts, bare feet, messy hair. I love tomato sandwiches, hamburgers and shish kabobs hot off the grill on a Saturday night, eating outside on our deck once the heat of the day has faded, and cutting up a watermelon and sprinkling it with salt for dessert.

Summer is that time of year for sand between your toes, for diving into a pool of cool, clear water, for skiing and boating and days on the lake soaking up the sun. It means longer days, sleeping late, and time spent in a swing or rocking chair in the shade of the front porch.

I'll miss my flip flops, the sweet smell of suntan lotion, and the countdown until vacation. To be completely transparent, I should add that I will decidedly not miss gnats (or mosquitoes for that matter), the humidity, or the having to water my poor plants on a daily basis lest they shrivel and die from heat exhaustion. Still, summer in the South is something special, and I have enjoyed practically every moment.

Yes, all of that has been fantastic in its own right, but that season is almost at a close. Goodbye, summer. Until we meet again.

Scenes from our summer.

And hello, fall. Hello to crisp, cool mornings, falling leaves, and pumpkin spice everything (do not be a pumpkin spice hater...give yourself the joy of PS this year and you will never go back to mundane flavors again). It's time for football season, tailgating, jean and boots and sweater weather. Once again, we can turn on the fire pit and get cozy.

Hello, Halloween decorations! Skulls and bones and skeletons, pumpkins and leaves and acorns. I have to restrain myself from filling multiple carts and clearing out the seasonal decor aisles because I love all of it. ALL of it. Let's watch scary movies and eat candy and wear costumes. It's fall, it's what we do.

Before you know it, it will be soup weather, I can unpack my sweatshirts out of storage, and break out the blankets. Our favorite TV shows will mercifully be returning, and we can trade our Popsicles for s'mores, our beach balls for footballs, and our swimsuits for long sleeves--a blessed occasion if there ever was one.

There will be fall festivals, hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and apple picking. Well, in reality, I don't apple pick. I don't like fruit or manual labor and so that one makes little to no sense for me, but I can appreciate the novelty of the experience (so long as I am not required to partake). But, for the record, I have never met a caramel apple I didn't like, so apple pickers, do your thing.

Before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving and turkey time, and then we will be counting down to Christmas. But I don't want to get ahead of myself; let's just enjoy it all as it comes. And if you're really sad to see summer come to an end, don't worry: here in the South, the temperature will be summertime hot for at least another month or two. We like to take our vacation at the end of the summer, so I've still got one last beach vacation on the calendar, but that will be the bookend to summertime for me. I'll come back ready for corduroy, cinnamon, cider, and scarecrows. Now, pass the candy corn. Let's get ready for fall, y'all!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Joys of Adulthood

"This is our last year in our 30s!," a friend commented on a Facebook photo last week. While she's technically correct, I assured her that I have decided not to get any older. This ripe old age is fine enough for me. Even though I'm technically still considered "young," I am also well into adulthood at this point. And adulthood, as it turns out, is a giant pain in the arse.

Adulthood means I've now reached the point in life where I have the need for both acne and anti-aging creams; a beauty arsenal, if you will. It seems particularly unfair for someone to be blessed simultaneously with breakouts and laugh lines, but this is one of the gifts that adulthood gives.

I'm not alone in these joys of adult life; Clint is now having to watch his sodium intake and monitor his blood pressure, checking it every day and recording the results in a log for his doctor. Do you know what has salt in it? Everything that tastes good. Luckily for him, he enjoys eating healthy things like oatmeal and fruit. I, on the other hand, have resorted to hiding in my laundry room scarfing down handfuls of Chex Mix while no one is looking, enjoying the taste of salt, glorious, salty, salt.

I'll have a Sad Meal and a Diet Coke, please.

Lately, we've spent our weekends doing fun things like shopping for laptop computers and a new couch. This, apparently, is what adults do. I have to suppress a sob when we leave our house for Best Buy, easily among my top five least favorite places on earth, and I hear the splashes and shouts of carefree kids at the neighborhood pool across the street. Enjoy it now, kiddos, because adulthood is coming for you and you, too, will need a computer and a place to sit. Your Labor Day weekends will be sullied by things like mattress sales, or closeout deals on appliances. New Year's Eve will become a great time for new car shopping, because adulting is exciting that way.

It's probably best for my Saturdays to be regaled to the glow of big box store florescent lighting, since sitting out in the sun now requires that I use a hat and a full coating of zinc oxide or I get something called melasma. In layman's terms, it means my skin turns dark brown from even the tiniest amount of sun and I look like I have Raggedy Ann cheeks and a mustache. I'm not exactly fashion forward enough to pull that look off, so I slather myself with sunscreen until I resemble a white-faced geisha and pull a hat down until my vision is nearly completely blocked. Then: ah, free to fully enjoy the great outdoors.

Life as an adult means we've also developed unexplained aches and pains that I never experienced in my youth. Every week, one of us has a hurt back/elbow/knee that goes away as mysteriously as it appeared. Our bones let us know when it's going to rain (thanks, broken ankle, for the forecast) and we don't travel without a freezer bag full of medicine to cure whatever could possibly ail us. When I was a kid,my brother and I used to cruelly point out my mother's varicose veins and call them gross. What I should have called them is hereditary, because lo and behold, I've got them now, too.

I find myself at a weird age where I have subscriptions to both Southern Living and US Weekly, because I'm expected to do things like "create stunning front porch planters" and enjoy "creative cooking with Swiss chard," but I still need to know where Britney Spears took her last vacation and what really happened inside the Brad and Angelina split. I alternate pinning healthy eating ideas on Pinterest with cheesy, fried, delicious appetizers I will save for those most glorious "cheat days." (By the by, we tried Swiss chard Sunday night for dinner--it was earthy, with the texture of wet rope. If you're looking for a good recipe: start with a heaping tablespoon of DON'T EAT THAT).

We find ourselves saying things like, "Oh, I can't drink Chardonnay; it's too heavy and gives me a headache." Weddings or open bar events are a roll of the dice: will they have Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio? Or will we be forced to nurse a lukewarm glass of Head Pounder all night? Whichever the case, the odds are high that we'd rather be home watching Dateline.

You know you're a real adult when you are excited about things like a new flavor of sparkling water (no calories and watermelon flavor!) or overnight oats--things which,as a child, you would have gone on a hunger strike to avoid. You have fully reached adult status when you eagerly look forward to your dessert after dinner each night...and by dessert, I mean gummy vitamins. We've actually discussed if it's possible to overdose on VitaGummies and if it's okay to indulge in more than the recommended daily allowance. We haven't gotten bold enough to risk it yet, but some day, when we are particularly rebellious....

I suppose if there's any good news at all in this, I can look forward to reaching senior adulthood, when you basically get to become a kid all over again. Birthdays once again become a really big deal, you are encouraged to take naps and play games (bingo, anyone?), and Clint and I have made a pact that once he reaches 80 years of age and I'm 79, we are going to throw diets out the window and eat anything we want (dentures permitting, I'm sure).

In the meantime, adulthood is calling my name. Luckily for us, we found a reasonably priced, reliable laptop computer and also ordered a new couch. That frees up our to-do list so that this weekend, Clint can work on a storage addition to our garage and I can buy groceries and do laundry. Nothing says young, wild and free quite like that, now does it?

Someone pour a glass of not Chardonnay; we've got a wild weekend ahead.