Sunday, July 1, 2018

On the Homefront: Where Does the Time Go?

Today is June 30 (well, the day I'm finishing this is June 30. I started working on it about 2 weeks ago. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed.) and it is also the halfway point of the reading goal I set for myself this year. The goal was 52 books, or a book a week. By the end of the weekend, to be on pace, I would have had to have finished 26 books. Unfortunately, I am in the first third of only book 23.
There are a plethora of reasons for having fallen behind.

First, let's talk about Western New York's green season. It lasts for approximately four months during a good year, and during that time the outside of a person's house devours all the attention.
Whether one is a gardener or just has a yard to maintain, there is always something to do outside. Mowing, mulching, weeding, and if you have deck or other wooden yard items, staining as needed.
The side effect to all this outside work is quite simple: nothing gets done inside.
This weekend, for instance, while most of our area is under a severe heat advisory, I have focused on trying to accomplish something inside. Laundry has piled up, and it needs to be tackled with a relentless force. Our family also decided that the 55-inch paperweight of a TV needed to finally be replaced, so we did that, too, with a minor size upgrade, but in doing so needed to upgrade the TV stand. At the moment, the den/family room area is in a bit of a state of flux and also needs attention.
And once the heat does its job and properly dries out the wood I pressure washed yesterday on the back deck, I'll be back outside working on staining that to match the front deck that I completed over a month's time last summer.
Oh, and all of this is being done as time allows since all three kids are taking swimming lessons daily, two are getting music lessons weekly, and one needs to be shuttled to and from Medina's excellent parks and rec program in the morning and in the afternoon.
All of these tasks take time, and that time adds up. It has left me with little time to contribute to this site, let alone maintain my reading pace. However, I am sure that the pace I set earlier this year I can regain in the next month or so. And once autumn falls upon us, I hope to have a bit more time to myself thanks to all three kids being in school (the youngest will only be in pre-k, but that's half a day 5 days a week, which is almost 20 hours of kid-free housecleaning/errand running!).
The biggest task yet to complete this summer is the aforementioned back deck. Like its front counterpart, it will be stained with two different colors (a dark brown and a light, sandy brown). These colors match the gutters and trim on our house, and they look great together on the front deck, even if I do say so myself. The biggest glut of time that will be spent on the deck will be the vertical slats, as they must be done by hand, and I'll need a ladder to do the outer parts of each one. Still, I'm sure the finished product will be worth it.
Like I said, though: I plan to obliterate my 52-book goal once the deck is done. At one point, I was on pace to do just that, but as you can see, that early cushion has gone poof. I am confident I will catch back up and exceed my goal once that last major hurdle (the deck) is overcome.
The scary thing is that the time I thought I had has gone by so quickly. I am shocked at how quickly the past 6 weeks have gone by with me doing one thing or another that has taken me away from some of the things I want to do. Truth be told, I have managed to fit in TV time for certain shows, and as a Yankee fan, I've ended many evenings watching the Bronx Bombers emerge victorious.
Of course, the best laid plans oft go astray, right? According to the dates I'd aimed for, the mulch was done two weeks later than I wanted, and I wanted to have the deck done by this weekend. Now I'll be lucky if I'm done by the end of July instead of the original end date -which was my birthday weekend (next weekend if you must know).
Now the past month and a half has had plenty of enjoyable family moments, too. Two May weekends in a row were used to celebrate the close-on-the-calendar birthdays of our daughters. The 6th graders at Clifford Wise Middle School in Medina went on their annual Boston Whale Watch trip, and my son was among them. I was fortunate enough to be a chaperone, so that was special, too.
I guess in the end, it is one of life's true cruel ironies that as the days grow longer in the summer, the hours always seem to pass quicker. It's almost comical.
You know what, though? Tomorrow is "just" the start of July. There is plenty of time to make ice cream (and if I can find the stuff, root beer, too!), hit up the drive-in for a family movie night, and have a watergun fight or three. Summer may bring a ton of work with it. But if you plan things just right, it can bring rewards that create memories that last a lifetime.

Howie Balaban plans to fill a bucket with water balloons when he has his watergun fight with his kids in another week or so. And he has no plans to share! MWAHAHA!