A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Last Gasp of Summer

This past weekend it was in the mid to upper 80s. And humid. It was glorious-- the seven year olds on the soccer team I coach were panting during the game. Great fun. A small token to carry us through the long, cold, snowy months ahead.

Fall is my favorite season in Wisconsin. The glorious display of color that the maples and other trees put on in October is one of the things I most missed while living in California. Fall, like Spring, is capricious-- we had a high of about 58 just a week before the 80s rolled in-- but unlike Spring things don't get all wet, sloppy and grimy in the Fall because there isn't any snow to melt and make life soggy. And the crisp days when there is just a hint of winter coming but the sun still feels warm on your face make it fun to just... be. Just soak it all in.

Fall is also a time to reflect as the year winds down. So-- here is my report on My Summer Vacation.

I spent quite a bit of time with the family this summer, which is excellent. We went to Door County twice, I coached my son's baseball team and practiced with both kids on baseball, soccer and capturing fireflies. We went to Noah's Ark water park and also camping-- a rather soggy affair, but still fun. My wife and I went on a long weekend getaway while the kids banged around with the grandparents.

I saw two concerts-- a modest amount by many standards, but an absolute plethora of music by my norms. One concert every three years was probably about my average before 2007. Rush was good, not great, but Roger Waters was absolutely superb. Probably the best concert I have seen, though Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon and Eric Clapton were all in the running. Yes, I am turning into an old fart-- but this old fart can still rock! Waters was also during Summerfest, so I returned to the Big Gig for the first time in... well, over a decade.

Though they eventually blew it, it was great fun following the Brewers during the summer and a refreshing change of pace to actual care what happens in August and September baseball games. I should also note that I will sorely miss Bob Uecker when he finally retires as the Brewers radio announcer. He is quite simply the best announcer in baseball right now, and probably the best active sports announcer period. During the stretch run of the season I listened to a few Cubs games and the two donkeys they have calling the Chicago games were HORRIBLE. So bad I could only listen to them in short doses-- maybe two innings at a time, max.

We installed one of the blue vinyl pools in our backyard-- more work than I expected since the entirety of my yard slopes and I had to dig out a flat spot for the thing. Though not as deep as I would like-- only 3 foot-- the kids loved it and it is big enough that Jenn and I could jump in with them from time to time as well. The raspberry bushes I planted two years ago finally seemed to really take hold this year and the three little twigs I started with are now a pretty good little hedge of raspberry stalks that should bear quite a few berries next year.

On the negative side-- my grandma died, which was sad but not unexpected. She lived a good life and once you get to 90 (she died at 95) its pretty much a crap shoot. We almost burned our garage down, but thanks to a good samaritan and the prompt response of our fire department the damage was minimal. The MESS left behind was another matter. Soot gets on everything and is extremely difficult to get rid of. Jenn and I had to laugh the other night when a fire inspector was at a fire scene in a pristine white outfit. She looked around, determined the source and cause of the fire and walked out without getting a single smudge of soot on her lovely outfit. Laughable. Plus side, the insurance settlement was very good and Jenn was able to buy a Harley-- one of her longtime desires. So now I'm married to a biker chick-- which works for me. And I didn't get golfing as much as I wanted-- only four times all summer. But that's pretty minor.

Overall, I'd have to say that my 39th summer on this little ole planet of ours was a pretty good one. Still went by way too quickly. That's something that hasn't changed that much since childhood-- the lazy days of summer seem to slip through your fingers far too easily.

But now Fall is here and I'm okay with that. Fall is a good time of the year and soon pumpkins will be appearing on doorstops all around town.

Breathe in that air, my friends. It is the sweet smell of life.

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