It's official! This summer blows. I blame the Republicans and Democrats.
Just two years after having an entire summer off and making the most of it, I find myself captured by the yang of summertime yin.
For the last couple of months, it's seemed my summer was booked before it even started. AirVenture at Oshkosh, long the highlight of my summer, automatically gets a week on the calendar. But I'm also supposed to go out to Denver the last week of August to cover the Democrats, and then turn around and spend the next week covering the Republicans in St. Paul.
It's hard to relax and enjoy the summer when you have the Republicans and Democrats on your schedule as the big finale, sucking every last bit of air out of what used to be the carefree time of year.
Chances are, though, if I weren't covering the national conventions, I wouldn't be doing anything anyway. Life has become a pattern of work, home, TV, bed, work. You know, one of those patterns. It's off kilter and I can't seem to get it back on track.
My wife and I are still young, but health concerns now set the agenda for both of us. Getaways are canceled for whatever malady is in play and the little free time afforded by an economy that requires us to work until we drop, is frittered away. No trip East, no time on the beach, the bikes are gathering dust in the garage and the cost of gasoline is making things problematic. Throw in the occasional kid in need of attention here and there and it's enough to make one look forward to winter.
The deck project that's been going on for four years is still mocking me. I'm running out of time to do something -- anything -- on it this year. The famous "bench," scene of afternoon happy hours where we can relax and separate the work day from our lives, has been used this year exactly once.
There's nobody to blame for this but ourselves, of course. But I'm pretty sure this is a rut shared more and more by Americans in this current economy.
What to do? Regroup. I've decided not to go to Oshkosh this year. I'm getting tired of doing it solo, and this year it's more expensive to get there and many of the acquaintances I have aren't going either. Besides, I've seen it before. I'll probably spend the week working on the deck instead.
And maybe a little work.
6 months ago