Even though I usually crave quiet and solitude in the summer months, it hasn't quite worked out that way. Obviously, the "quiet" aspect of summer is all relative with two kids running/crawling around the house like firecrackers. As for "solitude," I should define that as just time with my family, rather than running around doing things that stress me out. Okay, forget the quiet and solitude. Maybe I just look forward to a slower pace of life, Jason being home and us relishing the time off from working.
But this summer I've been busier than I had anticipated. Between Jason being gone for a week, and then us spending a week in Kauai, and then coming home to a week's festivities of my sister's return from China, and then a garage sale, and then...whew. It just adds up. Of the things that take up time:
Sometimes it's things that we don't think will take that much time, but then do. Like the garage sale. It turned out fine; our take of the profits was a couple hundred dollars and it we had a nice time in the summery weather talking with our friends who co-sponsored the sale with us. But if I were to do it again (big "if") I'd cut the hours way back. Two days, from 9-6, was too long. After long hours of prepping on Thursday, I'd recommend 9-4 on Friday and 9-1 on Saturday. That's long enough. I guess, if all I was doing was hanging around, sitting in the sun, talking, reading, then it wouldn't matter the hours. It was difficult, though, keeping the kids fully entertained and we all got weary of the "Not right now, honey. I'm busy," refrain. Jules kept us on our toes by insisting on putting leaves in her mouth and choking on them, forcing us to stick our finger down her throat. As far as I'm concerned, she can't grow out of this "put every. single. thing. in my mouth" phase fast enough.
Sometimes it's things that we don't really want to do, but then do. Like a favor I'm doing for a friend of mine. A couple times a year, I'm asked to help out with something in my occupational field (vague reference here in case my friend ever decides to start using the Internet and finds my blog). I know all sorts of life-boundary gurus would advise me against volunteering for things I don't like, but it's a valued friend. And a small favor. Sometimes a friend has to do what a friend has to do.
And the best kinds...
Sometimes it's things that we want to do. One upside of the garage sale is that my sister came down with a few boxes to sell. It was fun to hang out with her, telling jokes, ordering dinner from Love Love Teriyaki. Since she's living in Brush Prairie at the Family Farm, then I won't be able to take full advantage of her time at home, but hopefully we'll still get to see each other more often than we did while she was in China (which was, incidentally, every once in awhile via webcam). Her plan is to go off to grad school and then find a job that won't be anywhere close to home, but that's a discussion for another time. She's home for now, and hopefully will stick around for a few months if living with my parents doesn't drive her stark raving mad. (Nothing against my parents, but, you know.)
Another one of the things I wanted to do was to hang out with Devon on Sunday. She introduced me to the world of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (of which I had not ever seen before), and that was a treat. We watched a couple episodes (including the one where they all lose their voices), and I'll probably be back for more. We also chatted about books, teaching, gardening, and then made salsa and headed over to her parents' for a bbq. It was a grand day.
Sometimes it's things that we get to do. Like go to Lincoln City on Monday with Jason and the girls and have a wonderful time. Even though you can count on two hands the number of days it's hot at the beach, we were lucky enough to be there on one of those days. We wandered the outlet stores before heading down to the beach to play in the sand and eat lunch. I didn't take my camera, but the day was full of all sorts of images I want to remember. Sitting on the blanket with Jason, eating roast beef sandwiches and drinking warm root beer, watching Sydney build sandcastles and run screaming delightfully from the waves that splashed at her feet. Seeing her small feet next to Jason's feet as the waves pulled out, Sydney laughing and laughing and grabbing my hand to pull me into the water. My ears taking in the roar of the ocean, the complaining cries of Jules as her feet touched the cold water, the chatter of children playing around. Then we packed up, and drove two sleeping girls home while Jason and I ate salt water taffy as we listened to Jim Dales' amazing voice reading a Harry Potter audiobook.
It's funny. Sometimes the noisiest of days is the most peaceful.
And sometimes quiet is overrated.