Goodbye, flip flops, shorts and t-shirts. Adios, Matt Lauer mornings and Andy Griffith lunches. Afternoon naps, I’ll see you next Sunday, and beloved lounge chair, save my spot for next summer.
It’s time for me to go back to work.
Today is MY last official day of summer, and I’m throwing myself a pity party.
As a school administrator, I have an eleven-month contract, which means I usually take off the entire month of July in an attempt to regain a little of the sanity lost in the previous year. I know I’m lucky to be able to do this, and most people with full-time jobs and week-long vacations would love to be in my flip-flops. I also know I shouldn’t be such a whiner; I enjoyed my time off this summer–I didn’t do anything that spectacular, but I tackled a few long-neglected chores, and I’m going back to work refreshed and relaxed and tan.
But what you don’t understand is that I LOVE summer, and I mean with a passion that most women normally reserve for chocolate and most men normally reserve for beer. I love summer and everything about it.
I love the luxury of not having to set an alarm and being able to roll out of bed whenever I feel like it. But that doesn’t mean I lie in bed all day–in fact, only twice during my time off did I “sleep in,” jumping out of bed at a shocking 6:30 a.m. when the sun was already up and the dogs and cats were fighting for position on the deck, vying to be first in line when Food Mama came through the door. Every other morning I was out of bed by 5:30, sipping on my DDP, munching on my daily fix of chocolate, watching my first round of the daily news, and compiling my list of things to do.
And I love the luxury of knowing that almost every July day is mine to do with as I wish. Sometimes I knock off every item on my “to do” list, and sometimes I save the entire list for another day. Sometimes I stay in my pajamas all day–who will know or care? (Okay, the poor UPS man knows and probably cares a great deal–he’s been witness to my PJs and “bed head” hair a couple times now–but surely he’s seen much worse!) Sometimes (not too often) I watch TV all day, sometimes I take a morning nap, sometimes I take an afternoon nap, and sometimes (more often than not) I spend the entire day reading a really good book. I might pull a few weeds out of my flower beds–if I feel like it. I might even clean out my car–but probably not. And there’s a very good chance that I’ll lunch on popcorn and snack on strawberries just because I can. Freedom of choice is a glorious thing.
I love grilling hamburgers and hot dogs for an easy summer supper, and I love serving them up with a side of fresh veggies from somebody else’s garden. And I love being able to watch a Cardinals’ baseball game almost every night after supper.
I love the greenness of summer, too. I love the flowers in bloom on my deck and on my porch and in my backyard. I love the sunset glinting off the lake, and I don’t care that the lake water now feels like tepid bath water. In fact, I don’t even mind the recent 95 degree temps with 105 degree heat indexes; that just means I drink a few more liquids and walk a little faster on my way from the car to the house–or if I decide to sit outside to read and soak up the sunshine, I just plug in the box fan next to my lounge chair. I’ll take sweaty heat over bone-chilling cold any day.
I’m pretty sure I am addicted to sunshine, and the Vitamin D it produces is my “feel good” drug of choice (even more than caffeine). Sure, as I get older, I worry about skin cancer, and I use a little sunscreen now and then. But I also know that recent research reveals that for many people the health benefits of sunshine outweigh the potential risks–and that exposure to sunshine just might make you live longer (I’m not kidding–Google it!). It is yet to be determined if that summer sun will add any years to my life, but it has already been proven that said sun definitely improves my mood (thereby enhancing the lives of everyone around me!).
Oh well. The sun is still shining, but for me the party’s over. It’s time to “suck it up” and iron my clothes for work. For those colleagues unfortunate enough to cross my grumpy, whiny path tomorrow–good luck! I’ll try to get over it by Tuesday.