Once again, I'm taking a page out of Jessi's book and ripping off her Friday Five list. This week it's the summer edition: 5 loves, 5 hates (or at least, dislikes). Since I recently did a similar list, I think I'll try and think of some new things this time.
5 Things I Love About Summer:
Yeah, okay, so this is a repeat, but I wanted an excuse to post that picture. We have swimming lessons every morning except Fridays for six weeks in a row, and I love it. The teachers are great and the kids just LOVE it, even when the water is a little chilly, which it can be in the morning. We have a whole routine of biking there (parking is difficult, so biking is worth the trouble, plus it's good exercise for me) and going to our lessons (Daniel is by himself with a teacher and I'm in the parent/tot class with Anya, though I think she's about ready for the next level), then playing in the wading pool while the locker room clears out, then having our mini-showers and changing into dry clothes, and finally sitting in the warm sun and eating a picnic lunch in the concession area. This whole process for a 25-minute lesson takes at least two hours when you count all the time it takes to get there and get changed and eat afterwards, but that's one thing I like about it. This gives us routine, helps fill the long hours I'm with the kids during the day. The best part is what they're learning. On Wednesday, Daniel swam all by himself for the first time!
2. Not Wearing Socks. I like my feet aired out, yo. Barefoot, sandals, flip-flops, however my feet are shod, I like them sockless. Ditto the kids. We're all just more comfortable that way. Also, I hate laundering jillions of tiny socks.
3. The Clothesline. Except for cloth diapers, which take too long to dry and get too stiff, I hang all our laundry out on the clothesline all summer long. Also, if it rains too many days in a row, I have to make an exception and use the dryer because in our house, the dirty clothes pile up pretty fast. I love the smell and feel of line-dried clothes. I even like the process; there's something meditative about the act of hanging everything up one at a time and reaching for each clothespin out of the bag tied around my waist (it's extremely fashionable, too, as you might imagine.) The energy saved is a bonus (plus our dryer totally sucks and I don't like to use it.)
4. Daylight. Madison is the farthest north I've ever lived (except for the summer I spent in Interlochen, Michigan), and there is such a dramatic contrast between hours of daylight in winter and summer. Now, just coming off the solstice, the sun is up around 5:00am (and so the kids are sometimes awake, if not out of bed) and goes down around 9:00pm. I went on a 4-mile run in broad daylight at 6:00 this morning. I biked home from teaching a piano lesson without a functioning light at 8:45 last night and felt perfectly safe. We can go to the park in the evening after supper, or even the pool if it's warm and muggy enough.
5. Special Events. Madison is such a nice place to visit in the summer, partly because the weather is generally mild (though it can certainly get unpleasantly humid), and partly because there is just so much going on in this city. There are free concerts on the Capitol Square every Wednesday evening by the WCO; I might try and take Daniel to one this year. Every July is the Madison Early Music Festival, which is fabulous, if a little geeky, and something I enthusiastically participated in before I had kids. Most neighborhoods do big fireworks displays every 4th of July, and the city sponsors a big live concert with fireworks over Lake Mendota called Rhythm and Booms. There's also Opera in the Park, which is close enough for us to walk to. Boy, this list is pretty much all music events, isn't it? Well, fine. Let's not forget Art Fair on the Square, the weekly farmers' markets..and whatever else is going on.
5 Things I Do Not Love About Summer:
1. Bugs. Now, I'm fairly tolerant of bugs, and I appreciate their right to be on this earth. Mostly. I make strong exceptions for the ants in my kitchen, the fruit flies hovering above the sink even when it is immaculately clean, the mosquitos everywhere, whatever's eating my zinnias out in the front garden, and Lyme disease-bearing ticks that are prevalent in many parts of Wisconsin.
2. Lack of preschool. Daniel so loves preschool, but it's out for the summer. He misses his friends, and even though we have made a good effort to make playdates with some of his classmates, it's just not the same as being with the whole group. It's hard on me, too, to have both kids with me all day, every day, and find enough for us to do. Even with swimming lessons, we run out of ways to entertain ourselves and get cranky with each other by the afternoon.
3. Lack of sitters. This is a big problem for me right now. Our regular sitters are unavailable for the summer (one just had a baby, so she is unavailable always from now on!) and I can't seem to find anyone else on a regular basis. It's just as well, because my teaching and playing schedule gets all spastic in the summer, what with students leaving for vacation and whatnot, which is probably why all the sitters I've tried are already too busy with other work. What, they're not all just sitting around waiting for me to call with random 2-hr babysitting jobs?
4. Poison ivy. I am, in fact, immune (as far as I know), but poor Daniel has fallen victim to the dreaded P.I. twice since April. He picked up the first round in North Carolina when we were there visiting Stuart's brother. As for the second case, we unfortunately have no idea where it came from. I wish we did, so we knew where to avoid going. He's had an itchy rash for two weeks that occasionally wakes him up yelling at night. Steroid cream helps a bit, but mostly we have to wait it out.
5. Ennui. Warm weather and all the time spent outside tends to sap the creative energy I usually have for things like knitting and sewing. Not that I've quit all of that entirely, but the usual inspiration is not there.