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Jul 20 2010

10 Ways to keep from going batsnot crazy these last few weeks of summer

We’re in the home stretch. Four weeks from tomorrow the hellions I spawned boys return to the hallowed halls of learning. I’ve already started purchasing school supplies, the rumored third pod is being installed at the school today (and I believe that will put the entire 4th and 5th grade classes in mobile facilities…school is three years old, have I mentioned that recently?), and I’ve started fantasizing about what I’ll do with my time once they’re someone else’s responsibility six and one half hours a day. Nevermind that I have a job, hobbies, a house to run, a blog to improve, an ass to whip into shape, places to go and things to do…I still fantasize that I’ll suddenly have gobs of time once they’re back in school. Oh hush, don’t pee in my Cheerios, allow me a little fantasy world. It’s delightful there; has a hammock and a cabana boy bringing me margaritas.

So how to make it through those last few weeks of summer? You know the ones; the kids are bored and either whining about it or picking fights for something to do, the pool is packed or a lightning storm has shut it down for the afternoon, you’re about to put the children on FreeCycle (I don’t recommend this; the authorities tend to frown upon this practice). You turn to:

Jen’s 10 Ways To Keep From Going Batsnot Crazy These Last Few Weeks Of Summer!
(Or maybe eight ways. Or however many ways she comes up with until she thinks she has a whole blog post or goes braindead and pours more iced tea.)

  1. Wine. I cannot emphasize this enough. Acceptable substitutes are ice cold Gin & Tonics (leave the gin in the freezer all summer and buy limes from Costco, trust me) and Margaritas (not frozen and yes, I would like salt, thankyousomuchbringmorechipsandsalsa). The adult beverage of your choice at 4:36:30 pm will do wonders for your mood and you won’t give a rat’s patootie that your darling offspring are beating each other with pool noodles in front of your husband’s 40″ big screen tv. As long as you’re making dinner, even if that’s just hauling leftovers out of the fridge, you are permitted to pour yourself a cold one. A double at that.
  2. Friends. If you’re getting a buzz cut next week because you’ve been pulling your hair out over your insanity-inducing children, chances are roughly close to ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY!!! that your friends are in the same boat. Plan something to all do together. I, for example, drank heavily from the YOU ARE GOING TO REGRET THIS potion bottle and am going to host a Tie Dye Party for a crapton of kids and their moms the day before school starts. Because nothing says back to school like temporarily dyed hands. And hair. And faces. And bet your sweet ass there’s gonna be some #1 available for the moms.
  3. Family. If you get along with your parents, in-laws, cousins, distant cousins, friends of your husband’s on his mother’s side before they moved to an ashram…see if you can ship your kids off to them for a week or so. A and J are thisclose to being old enough to fly off to Chicago alone, with my parents picking them up on the other end. Screw the cabana boy fantasy, I think this is my new one. A?Week?With?No?Kids?In?My?Own?House???? Ahhh….I get all tingly thinking about it.
  4. Home improvements. Convince your kids that painting their rooms is the awesomest thing since the time they peed in the school’s playground woodchips that one weekend right before they were grounded for all eternity. Provide boxes for all their crap treasures, and store them in the garage while painting. They get to have sleepovers in each others’ rooms! They get to pick paint colors! They get to believe that manual labor (in the form of washing walls and taping down tarps) is somehow tricking US (Tom Sawyer, I love you…)! THEN! Toss their treasures crap as you move stuff back into their rooms! Ta-Da! Clean rooms right before school starts! Now go have a cocktail.
  5. Gardening. Tell them they can’t help in the garden. If your kids are anything like mine, they will gnash their teeth and rip their clothing and pull their hair and whine and beg and complain. You won’t care, because you’ve already started on #1 (oh, it’s the weekend, you can start on cocktails right after lunch). You will sigh deeply and appear to give in. Give them bags and gardening gloves and tell them you pay a nickel per weed root. Not per weed, for you’ll be counting individual strands of dandelion leaves, but per root. That way you know you have the entire weed…for a few days. Sit back on the covered porch, read, have another drink.
  6. Roller skates. Both boys have skates now, as well as full-body armor. Neither one can move particularly fast, which means that I can sit on the back porch and sip my lightly sweetened iced tea and watch them flail like ostriches with a seizure disorder improve their skills. If I’m feeling industrious, I might take pictures or video; one can never have too much blackmail fodder for the teenaged years. I highly recommend skates for the younger crowd.
  7. Library. Oh library, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…another day. One list post at a time. Oh library, ye of cool air and books and videos of which only one no not two just one each! may leave your hallowed grounds and hushed sounds, you make my summer complete. May I move in? It’s quiet here. May I bring a cocktail? No? Well, then I shall borrow books for myself and my children and we will return to our humble abode to sip and read and relax. Besides, we have beanbag chairs and you don’t. So there. Tttthhhhhppppp…
  8. Trickery. How I wish I could take credit for this one, but alas I cannot. My neighbor and dear friend, Jen, who should have her own blog but is all grownup-y and parenting a gifted toddler-y and responsible-y and graduate school-y and starting a charter school-y and bus-y and won’t, shared this one with me. Hide $4.75 in quarters in the backyard, tell the kids there’s $5 in quarters back there, and enjoy the silence with a frosty adult beverage on the porch. I’m saving this one for that week in August when I stupidly planned nothing.
  9. Field Trips. There are a few things to consider when planning a field trip with kids in the heat of the summer when you’re all sick to death of each other and wouldn’t mind watching your offspring be eaten by an okapi at the zoo. Avoid the zoo is my first piece of advice. Spring? Go. Fall? Lovely. Winter? Only if it’s above 50 and being eaten by an okapi is better than the cabin fever causing you to!see!music! Wherever you go, go early. Get wherever when they open, then you can throw the kids on top of their library books when you get home. Have backup plans B, C, and all the way through Z, because something will inevitably go wrong and if you think the heat of summer is driving you to drink, consider Loopy the Clown being in the poky after his gig the night before as a male stripper and Little Son freaking the hell out because you promised that Loopy the Clown would make him a balloon wiener dog with a big purple leash and you ruined his life and it’s only 9:15 and I’m sorry, throwing a hunk of meat into the crockpot is not dinner preparation and you can’t hit the bottle then.
  10. Water. The MomVan has never been this clean. Neither has my patio furniture. A hose, some sunscreen, and a few soft brushes and there are delighted boys and a quiet home for minutes on end. Minutes I tell you!

Well, I’ll be a…somethin’ or other. A full ten. No one is more surprised than I. Now please excuse, I have an hour of silence to soak up before I have to retrieve my young men from camp. Camp that will considerably more utilized next summer.

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This post was written as part of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog challenge, hosted by the SITS Girls.

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  1. Michelle

    Hilarious!

    My husband is off today and we are enjoying a few Fat Tires, does that count?

    And this Friday, I am pawning my kids off with my mom so I can hit the spa for my birthday. Then, they will get to spend the weekend with their other grandma. I know this will help me from going crazy! And make me a better mom!

  2. missy

    Howling. HOWLING! Love these. “Nothing says back to school like tie dyed hands.” Love it.

  3. JenC

    Hey! I never said I *won’t* blog, just that it has to wait until I’m juggling fewer full-time gigs. I’ll probably cave and drink the blogger Kool-aid next fall when The Boy starts Kindergarten and the school is open.

    And technically my mom gets credit for the hidden quarter trick. She used it on us every summer until we finally caught on!

  4. Margaret

    #8 is genius! Love this list…still have five weeks of summer here. Is 7 am too early for Merlot? Or should I stick with a crisp white before noon?

  5. melissaz

    Thanks for the wonderful gift! And I’m taking it as a not-so-subtle hint that I need to get my rear in gear and start writing again. 🙂 Maybe I’ll try this 31 day thing to see if it will work.

  6. Joan

    #1 is still getting me through the teen-age and kids-home-from-college-for-the-summer years.

    But man, why didn’t I know about #8 when they were little???

    Priceless!

  7. Kim

    Hilarious Post! I concur with needing the wine!
    Kim recently posted…Response cached until Fri 30 @ 15:08 GMT (Refreshes in 60 Minutes)My Profile

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