Friday, April 20, 2012

Days of Summer

We are quickly approaching my favorite time of year. In three weeks, I will have completed my last class for the year and summer will be here. I have explained in a previous post how much I despise cold weather. The summer months can sometimes get hotter than I would prefer, but I will take the hot days over cold ones anytime.

The signs of warmer weather are everywhere. Some of the signs, I could do without. When I step outside, I hear the neighbor kids yell for me.

"HI, BRETT"

My response is always the same. I yell, "NO!"  For some reason they start giggling.

Then I check my mail and go back inside or hop in my car and drive off. I don't like small children and I have told them that on many occasions, but they keep insisting on talking to me.

A few times, I have come home to find that they are having a picnic in my front yard. Seriously, six kids on a blanket right in front of my door.

ME: "Why don't you guys do this in your own yard?"

UGLIEST KID: "Because you have the best tree on the street to sit under."

I have saved half the money I need to have the tree cut down.

The eyes are the best part.
Once, they knocked on my door and asked for food for their picnic. I gave them a can of sardines. Unfortunately, they ate them and came back asking for more. Nothing I try with these children seems to work. They keep coming back. They knock on my door at least twice a day.

Despite the annoyances of the kids on my street, I still love this time of year. The sun is out. My schedule is less hectic. There are more opportunities for travel. People have barbecues and fish fries. I love it.

Terry, an old friend I recently reconnected with, has invited me to go camping with his family this summer. He suggested the two of us spend time teaching his youngest son some survival skills. I laughed and told him that my best survival skill is pre-planning to make sure I am always within walking distance of a microwave to cook my dinner.

As much as I love the summertime and going outside to enjoy it, I have never been a fan of camping. When I was a kid, our family vacations usually involved loading up the truck to go sleep in a tent at a campground 20 miles from our house. It wasn't all misery. We did have some good times, but I would have much rather been in a hotel or traveling somewhere new.

Good times
The only times I ever chose to go camping was for a few years right after high school. The group of guys I hung out with would drive our vehicles to this spot a quarter mile back in the woods near a pond and have a campfire. Since this was actually just a way to get drunk away from the eyes of our parents, it really wasn't about the camping. We never even took tents. A few cases of beer, some lawn chairs and wood for the fire was all we needed. We slept in the truck beds or the lawn chairs, if we slept at all.

About a year ago, one of the guys suggested getting the old group back together to go out to the pond for a camping trip like old times. Twenty years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity, but it doesn't sound like much fun today. I suggested we all just meet at Applebees.

Part of what those trips so much fun was that we were doing something we weren't supposed to be doing. Plus, the crazy things that happened while we were out there. One of our favorite activities was to pool our money to convince John to do something he didn't want to do. Once, for eight dollars, he waded across the pond. It was only about waist deep, but it was cold enough that it had a thin layer of ice on the surface. On another occasion for eleven dollars, he climbed to the top of a tree and shimmied out onto a branch until it broke, dropping him into the pond. He would do anything for a little money.

It didn't always involve money. His brother convinced him to climb a tree by telling him he didn't believe he could do it. This was a thin tree with a diameter less than a foot across at the base, but it was over 30 feet tall. John shot up the tree with very little effort. While he was bragging from the top about his climbing abilities, we chopped it down.

I really don't think those sort of things would happen if we went out there now. We would have to take out a loan to offer enough money to convince John to put his body in harm's way these days. We notice the mosquitoes and ticks much more now and one of the guys became a cop. It would be his duty to stop us from the really good stuff.

I doubt I will be doing much camping this summer, but there will be plenty of other things to do. I have a couple of trips planned. I am getting together with some college friends. I will be working a couple of weeks at a youth summer camp (high school, not little kids). There will also be the unexpected activities that pop up. Freedom from classes is just a few weeks away. I love this time of year.

53 comments:

  1. Golf cart at camp again preach?

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  2. I hate camping. If I was a guy I'd love it. But no.
    I love that the kids on your block harass you. They'll be talking about you for the rest of their lives.

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    1. These are small kids too. The oldest is probably eight. They are constantly at my house.

      "Do you have anything to eat?"

      "No! Your house is right there. Go talk to your mother."

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    2. Funny, I thought the same thing as Heather. Forty years from now they are going to tell their kids stories about their sardine eating crazy neighbor that yelled 'NO' for no particular reason.

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    3. I guess that could be a good thing. My name will live FOREVER!!

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  3. Aren't you a little young to already be shaking your fist and yelling at kids to get off your lawn? You could always place hidden bear traps all over your yard, that might thwart them.

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    1. It's a love/hate relationship. They just think I am the coolest, even though I am never nice to them. I really don't get it.

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  4. I loved camping growing up. My girlfriend doesn't want to go anywhere that doesn't have a shower

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  5. I love this time of year, too!

    Every summer, my buddy and I go on a fishing trip to Canada with his dad and uncle. It is such an awesome time to just relax and sit on a beautiful lake and just enjoy the peace and quiet of nature and completely forget the shitty parts of the real world.

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    1. That's close to what my dad always said. He sleeps better and just forgets about work and everything else. I doesn't work for me.

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  6. We couldn't be more different. I prefer cold to heat (I can always add another layer), and I thoroughly enjoy camping. Real camping. Tent camping. As long as it's not raining. Then I'll leave the tent in the trunk and find a motel. But it's so much nicer to be right out IN the location (beach, National Park, Lakeside) that you're headed to.

    I love it.

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    1. I can do camping and even halfway enjoy it, when the conditions are 'just right.' Beautiful night, not too hot or cold, lack of biting bugs. Otherwise, I like air conditioning, cable TV and wi-fi

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    2. Although I don't like the idea of camping (never actually tried it) I think that with the right companion it would definitely be fun.

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  7. Summer is definitely the best time of year! I like to go camping...up until it's time to sleep in the tent. Not very cozy!

    You sound like a scrooge to those kids! One thing I find helpful when dealing with kids is that I always think to myself "You were a kid once and did the exact same things!" And then I give the kids a break and let them carry on with their business.

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    1. I am a Scrooge to the kids. They are not bad kids, doing anything wrong. I just don't like children. I don't know why. They are more than welcome to be the kids that they are. I just don't know why they feel that they have to do it at my house.

      There are over 20 houses on my street, but they congregate at my house.

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  8. Camping is God's way of promoting the hotel industry.

    (Not sure who to attribute that quote to, but it's become my outdoor mantra.)

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    1. If camping was so great, there would no hotels.

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  9. I used to like camping but now I am responsible for all the cooking and cleaning and scraped knees and sick tummies and before you get to that there is the planning and packing. YUCK... I would much rather go somewhere new and try new food. Not dirt food.

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    1. I can tolerate doing it for maybe one night, but an extended stay is out of the question. Modern conveniences were invented for a reason.

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    2. I have seen you with children of all ages and I am almost inclined to believe that you like Emma like to make a show of not liking kids butt.... you really do. The way you deal with them can be inspiring.

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    3. You're going to blow my cover.

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  10. I'm pretty sure that the only way get any respect as "get off my lawn" guy, you have to wear your pants hoisted up around your nipples. Try that, it should work. If it doesn't, add the socks with sandals thing.

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    1. (Ken, I just about spit hot coffee out my nose!)

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    2. I'm not going to change my wardrobe, so I may be doomed. I have fed them ants and thrown pine cones at them.

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    3. Nothing seems to work. They just keep coming back.

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  11. Didn't your mother ever tell you if you feed the stray animal they won't leave. You fed the rugrats therefore they will never leave. However eventually they will get older and rather than have a picnic on your lawn under your tree they will toilet paper the tree to make up for all the bad things you have done in your own life.

    See the world is righted again.

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    1. I fed them stuff I expected to hate. I really didn't think small kids would eat sardines. I keep sending them home when they ask for food now, but it may be too late.

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  12. Maybe you'll get an interesting story about the kids that will make up for them taking over your yard?

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    1. I have a few I could write, but I try to be careful about who I write about and what I include. This is one of those times when it would pay to be an anonymous blogger.

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  13. Camping? Not even if you paid me a million dollars. But then I suppose I'd be on Survivor.

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    1. I would go on Survivor if given the chance. I wouldn't like it and would probably be the first voted off, but I would do it.

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  14. You and the kids are so cute ;-)... I'm online momentarily so thought I would try and get a few words in. I hate it that all these post and conversations are going on without me! Especially at this blog and Red's.... I mean, hello??? I have a monitoring job to take care of!

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    1. And you are missed. We look forward to your watchful eye and wise words upon your eventual and hopefully quick return.

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    2. Yes, seriously Bozo, your ears should be ringing, because we do talk about you. With love. :)

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    3. I adore you guys!

      (I have a feminist friend who, at this point would correct me and say, "please do not call Red a guy - she is a woman.)

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    4. Dude, "guy" is gender neutral.
      ...so is "dude".

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  15. Wow, with this super sweet animal & kid loving side of you being revealed, I can see why Red is soooo smitten!! ;)

    Kids must be very much like dogs, in that they sense those that dislike them and wish to force their love upon them.

    And I DO NOT camp. For me, "roughing it" is staying in a hotel without room service.

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    1. I have to admit, I don't hate kids as much as I act like I do. They love me, but I have never been able to figure out why. I am not nice to them. I tease them and am mean to them, but they keep coming back for more.

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    2. For the same reason you can't get rid of most people, you see them. Kids spend most of their lives being invisible and you see and talk to them. But you also work hard to get them to like you before you start being mean to them. For example Aly and that little boy Friday night. Not their fault that you spoke to them. I think it is quite sweet and it always makes me smile. Love always.

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  16. For me, summer is still a month away, but I'm mentally already on vacation. It's horrible to say, but burn out is a scary thing... We'll know it's really bad when I start wearing a bikini under tank tops instead of a bra. (Do YOU know why girls do this? I have not figured out this trend at all.)

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    1. I have no idea why girls do that, but I haven't really given it much thought. It would be nice to be prepared to jump in the water wherever you may be.

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  17. When those kids get older maybe you can get them to mow or rake your lawn as long as they want to sit on it.

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    1. That's a good idea. I may try that now.

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  18. I've tried everything to get rid of neighborhood kids, but they think that I am only behaving like an ill-tempered witch as part of my act. The youngest neighborhood child thinks I am a cartoon character that she has imagined. I would like to take them camping, deep into the woods, and leave them there.

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    1. You may have to step up your act. Do the whole green face thing. See if that works.

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  19. Yay! I love summer too. And I hate camping. I need running water and a bed. Plus, I can't eat marshmallows, and I don't drink beer, so what would I do on a camping trip?

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    1. I've been told that staring at the fire can burn up hours.

      Pun intended.

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  20. I have a feeling you really DO like kids! You can make them giggle. You like making them giggle. You aren't going to cut that tree down. We see right through you! :)

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    1. Wow! Everyone is calling me out on this kid thing. I will admit that I exaggerate about how much I despise children, but it is completely true that I will not them touch me when they are sticky.

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    2. This is the total truth. He will run or take the kid and wash them. It is really funny to watch.

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