As it is no secret that summer is not my favorite time of year -- actually it's becoming increasingly clear that there are only about two weeks annually that I enjoy at all (kidding! sorta) -- I thought we might make the most of my foul mood in countdown mode. Hence, a new post category: Countdown To First Day Of School.
Which James Bond movie was it that had the countdown with a heavily accented male voice: "____ seconds, and coun-ting." Moonraker, I suppose. One of the ghastly Roger Moore ones, though at the time I thought it was da bomb. What can I say, I was 12. I totally wanted one of those watches that shoots darts if you flick your wrist just right, though I suspect my powers would have been used for evil even then.
Anyway, it is that countdown voice I am conjuring to amuse myself through these godforsaken, I mean carefree, days of summer.
Yesterday (T - 72 days and coun-ting), we decided to visit our neighborhood pond. (It's a lake. I don't know why Cape Cod folks call them ponds. Where I grew up, a pond is a shallow dark thing, probably with lily pads. Our "pond" is 60 feet deep, crystal clear, and gorgeous.) This seems like it should be a simple thing... get yer swimsuits on and go, right? Noooooo. We called the girls inside. We had them strip down and use the bathroom. We coated them with sunscreen. We put on their bathing suits. We untwisted their straps and put on their coverups. We gathered towels and toys and chairs and an umbrella. We made sandwiches and filled water bottles. We loaded everything in the car and drove the half mile to the pond. Lake. Whatever.
We unloaded everything and trooped down to the beach, signed in, chose a spot and settled down. Mr. S. put the towels over the back of the chairs, which immediately tipped over so that the towels were full of sand. So at least that part of the beach experience was taken care of right away, obviating any need for the usual pointless hope of grit-free drying.
The girls and Mr. S. headed to the water immediately. I decided to stay put and glower at my sandy towels and hideous pale legs. After ten or fifteen minutes I was done fuming, and got up to try the water. The girls were frolicking; Bean edging hand over hand along the dock to "deeper" (read, waist-deep to a five year-old) water, Peanut "swimming" (read, hoovering dirt and plant matter into her bathing suit) along the shore. I got my feet wet, then walked out onto the dock... best to just dive in all at once than inch in a bit at a time, I think. Unless of course you really care about your contact lenses. What to do, what to do. I am mulling this over, letting myself look forward to a little swim one way or another, when the Bean comes tearing by me. There is NO RUNNING ON THE DOCK, mind you, and of course she slips and goes down, scraping up her knee.
And proceeds to scream loud enough to raise the dead.
We stand her up and walk her off the dock back to the chair. She's bleeding just a bit, but it's combined with the lake water dripping off her leg, so she thinks it's A LOT OF BLOOD. She won't. stop. screaming. The good people of the neighborhood are covering their ears in self-defense. She won't stop. None of my usual tricks... talking to her in a low calm voice so she has to quiet down to hear me... encouraging deep breaths... repeating "you're OK, you're OK..." are working. She won't stop screaming. I am a hair away from losing it myself. She is screaming for a BandAid... which, of course, we don't have. Why would we have a Band-Aid? That would've been fucking USEFUL! We have sunscreen, hairbrush, baby powder, wipes, but no goddamn Band-Aid. The beach attendant doesn't have one either. She's still screaming. The Bean, not the beach attendant. Mr. S. eventually picks her up and goes back to the car. I get the sand off the Peanut's feet (baby powder is AWESOME for this; the sand just falls right off), gather what I can carry of our belongings, and we head to the parking lot. The Bean is still at it; Mr. S. can't get her to stop either. I leave the Peanut with them and head back for the stuff I couldn't carry the first time.
The beach attendant, a friendly person I know from the gym I used to belong to (her routine: work out, sunbathe, repeat -- not a bad life if you dig that sort of thing), suggests that I should go to the gym to get some time away from the kids. I tell her I hate the gym even more than I hate the beach. Why am I such an asshole? I could spit nails, but it isn't her fault. It's just not a good time to say nice things to me. And I wonder why I have no friends.
Back at the car, the Bean is still screaming. Mr. S. has decided not to leave until she can quiet down. Good luck with that, I say, and walk home.
On the walk, I get the idea that counting days might be helpful. I hate the thought of wishing life away -- I know, I know that we are all just an accident, a diagnosis, a surprise catastrophe away from losing everything dear to us. I know about living mindfully, and being present. But still. Sometimes "this, too, shall pass" is a better mantra than "live in the moment." T minus 72 days was definitely one of those times.