Saturday, June 01, 2013

Epic Summer

The best summer of your life is supposed to take place sometime in your childhood.  You’re off all summer long, going swimming most days, you have a great time at summer camp, and your parents scheduled an amazing 10-day vacation that included going to the beach &/or the mountains &/or an amusement park.  Maybe it’s when you’re six, or perhaps when you’re 13 (right before you’re supposed to make money during the summer), but at whatever age it does occur, it’s unquestionably during your youth.  It isn’t supposed to happen during the summer you turn 45.

But why shouldn’t it?  Kathy’s been a Stay at Home Mom for the past two years and will be going back to work in the Fall.  In the future, the kids are going to want to do their own thing, and Kathy’s time will be limited by work.  I’ve accrued lots of leave over the years, and I can’t imagine a better time to take a chunk of it.  Accordingly, I have dubbed this summer Epic Summer©, and we will be spending it camping, beaching, mountaining, flying, reunioning, amusement parking, music festivaling, swimming and....

How Epic does it look?  In April the parents of one of Emelia’s classmates invited us to join them for any weekend over the summer at their family place on the Jersey Shore.  We had to turn them down because the only weekends we had left are the ones that you need every so often to do things like laundry (Kathy is hoping to go up there with the girls during part of a week when I’m working, but I’m skeptical that she’ll pull it off).  It’s at the point where this weekend and next are the last consecutive weekends we have at home until September.

The Thursday before Memorial Day weekend is when we kicked things off.  On that day, Emelia and I drove to Mt. Catoctin for a school overnight trip, spending quality time and sleeping just the two of us in one of the screen-only cabins (we shared a bunk bed).  We loved being there and with each other -- we made meals together, did activities organized by her teachers, read a book to each other, told a story I had written together at the campfire, and much more.  We overcame the adversity caused by her too-tight water boots irritating her foot enough that she couldn’t walk for a few hours.  The heavy rain was kind enough to come just as we were turning in and leave before we got up.  The cold weather behind that front made the morning chilly, but couldn’t dampen our spirits, particularly with Emelia’s foot feeling ok again.

Emelia Hard at Work Mapping the Goon
We left Catoctin just before Noon on Friday, racing back to Capitol Hill to get Kathy and Hannah, and load up the car to go camping at Cape Henlopen State Park, just north of Rehoboth, in Delaware.  The beach traffic made the trip long, and the strong winds we found upon our arrival made setting up camp more than a little difficult -- we had to enlist Emelia to help set up the tent, because the wind made it more than a two-person job.  Once we got past those two challenges, however, we had a great time.  We were in a group of 30+ campsites set up by a work acquaintance -- mostly families, with plenty of kids Hannah’s and Emelia’s ages.  Common dinners, campfires, and hanging out, but plenty of time for our nuclear family to do things by ourselves.  We went to the beach briefly a couple of times in the unseasonably cool (but very sunny) weather, and did a nature walk as well.  We had a great time, and figure to return next Memorial Day weekend, hopefully even bringing other friends along.

Two Sweet Peas Girls in a Pod Hammock
Things are quiet the next couple of weeks.  I’m going to a concert (The National with The Dirty Projectors opening) this Thursday, and Emelia’s last day of school is the following day, but that’s about it.  After that, however, here are how things are shaping up:

  • June 14-17 -- drive to New York for the Clearwater Festival (June 15 & 16) with friends
  • June 17 -- see Low in concert (Michael Doughty opening) (just me)
  • June 20-26 -- fly to Minnesota for Kathy’s college reunion, plus a couple of days to enjoy Minneapolis
  • July 4 -- drive to Raleigh to visit friends
  • July 6 -- drive to Hilton Head for our annual trip with my side of the family (my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews), at a disgustingly over-the-top amazing house on the beach (thanks Mom and Dad!).
    • July 7 -- My 45th Birthday
    • July 10 -- My sister gets married
  • July 13-14 -- drive back home via Raleigh
  • July 18 -- see Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside in concert (just me)
  • July 23 -- see Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, Wilco & Ryan Bingham with family and friends
  • July 24 - August 11 -- Roadtrip
    • July 24-29 -- Floydfest, camping at a music festival on the Blue Ridge Parkway
    • July 29-August 1 -- Lancaster, PA for Dutch Wonderland and other local activities
    • August 1-3 -- Visit someone TBD as we head North
    • August 3-10 -- Stay with friends at a very rustic cabin in Central Maine
    • August 10-11 -- Head back home
  • August 16-18 -- Campground Brewdown in Central PA.  Likely but not certain.
  • August 19 -- Presumably Hannah’s first day of school
  • August 31-September 2 -- Labor Day weekend camping at Big Meadows with friends
  • September 3 -- The official end of Epic Summer©.  Emelia’s first day of school, Kathy’s first day of work

I hope everyone else’s Summer will be every bit as Epic as ours looks to be!

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