Summer Idyll/Idle

July 4

Neighborhood parade and picnic. The 6-9 year-old foot-race countdown goes wrong, and Q misses the start and the day is almost ruined. It’s hard to explain how much these ten seconds affect the whole year. The year he was four, he didn’t race. He was listening and they never called for four-year-olds. They called for “Five and under” and we couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t go up then. And we didn’t understand until it was too late. I heard about it all year.  Stupid Fourth of July picnic and its stupid races with stupid prizes no one wanted anyway.

We watch the Fireworks on the golf course. Not as magical as last year. Too loud. Too bright. I get a migraine. Q gets a headache and says he’d rather watch them from the house next year. Lexi loves it, the dark, the racing through the night with glow necklaces, the sitting in my lap. She says the big ones “make mine heart bump out of my body”.  And here, on the quilt my grandma made, with my little family, watching those bright lights, it’s worth a headache or two.

July 5

Drop the kitten off to be spayed. Spent the last couple months explaining to the five-year old why this is okay to do. (“But what if Sherbert wants to have babies??”) Feel only a little icky about this forced sterilization we are having done. Good to go. But, of course, I was focused on the wrong child. We go to pick up Sherbie afterwards, and I had forgotten to prep the kids that she would have some of her leg and her belly shaved. And the eight-year-old has a complete breakdown. Because if he were the cat, he wouldn’t have been able to say no to this and what we did is awful. (And I think he’s talking just about the shaving her fur, and not even the spaying, but even so…)


July 6

Lex is upset with me because I didn’t tell her that people would be able to see her if she played T-ball. I don’t know how that slipped my mind. So glad I signed her up. Sorry MSCR for repeatedly signing kids up for things and never attending. Think of it as donations. I do. The things she does want to do, like Storybook Ballet, I thought I signed her up for, but actually didn’t. And don’t remind her that she wanted to play soccer, which I also thought I signed her up for, but actually did the T-ball thing, (what was I doing this May?!?) and, well, here we are.

I have injured my knee. It is a pain I remember from Cross Country and Track. It’s the pain that stuck around after the bone bruising was healed. It’s a heat behind the knee-cap. Accompanied by a loud click every time I straighten up. It’s from overuse and too much work without a good base. And weakness in the quads and glutes apparently. I need to do my squats and clam shells. And ab work and back work so I don’t throw out my back again. And push ups to keep my shoulder happy. I haven’t been doing any of it. Once healed, I need to keep up strength and conditioning work to keep it from happening again, and work on getting a higher cadence in running and biking.

Listen to me. Like I’m an athlete. Like I know what I’m talking about.

We haven’t had internet all day and it is filling me with a hot rage. There are downed branches and trees all over from the storm last night, but this doesn’t make me feel any sympathy toward Charter at all. I can’t even report an outage. I tried from my mobile. And I got this automated system that supposedly understands voice commands. Except she did not understand me saying “You guys are the WORST!!! I just want to tell you there’s an outage. NO. It is NOT the electricity. IT’S YOUR SERVICE. OF WHICH I HAVE NONE RIGHT NOW.”

I, after months of thinking about it, am suddenly determined to email my neurologist and ask his opinion on yogurt and collagen. Because I want to put the collagen in my tea so my knee stops clicking. And because I want to eat the yogurt. AND I CAN NOT PULL UP THE ARTICLE OR EMAIL BECAUSE MY INTERNET SERVICE IS DOWN.

No 4 mile run this morning. Letting the knee rest. “Tapering” we could call it since the race is next Saturday. No bike. That’s when the knee started hurting—in the middle of an 18 mile bike Friday, and all through a 20 mile Sunday. So, so crabby. Combed out Lexi’s hair today for the first time in, hmm, two weeks. Two weeks of ocean, wind, pool, lake, wind, pool. It was awful. And with no internet, I dug out an old DVD of Max and Ruby to distract her with while I wet, conditioned, and combed for an hour straight. Her and I, crabbing together.

Days like this always bring to mind “Station Eleven.” If you haven’t read it, go read it now. Or, maybe, don’t. It’s post-apocalypse. Or post-virus, rather. And there’s no internet. And it’s grim.

Two days ago, I decided to sign up for a half-marathon in October. Following a 27-mile Bike The Barns, and second sprint triathlon in September. Benchmarks. One week at a time. Things to fill the calendar with. Totally fine that I’m sporting knee pain that once made me vow to never run competitively again. We all make ultimatums when we’re 17 that don’t make sense 20 years later, right? Busy is better, I tell that 17-year-old.

So. Want to volunteer at Ironman WI with me? Train for something with me? Find a race for November? December? I’ll fly out to do it with you, I promise.

My Rose & Thorn from tonight (where we each talk about the good and the bad from our day), was ugly, so I went out to swim. Ah, the swim. I can swim no further than I could back in January. I feel slower each time I get in the pool. The only sign that I’ve made any progress is that I don’t need to sleep for two days after splashing through 400 meters. Lake Mendota, the one I take open water swim lessons in, is beautiful and completely disgusting. Agriculture feeds us all…and it has ruined this beautiful lake. Sure, you can boat on it. Even water ski, or kayak, but swimming is miserable. Close to shore the weeds are filmy, wet gobs of tissue-paper that reach out to you, imploring you to succumb to them. Further out, the weeds get hardier, with woody stems, like an underwater pine forest where kelpies and snatchers live. And then there’s the algae blooms, which the hard rain last night will probably spawn. Years ago, in my college days, I went skinny dipping in good old Mendota and inhaled a mouthful of lake water. I ended up with a lung infection that took three different antibiotics to take care of. Between the thought of getting the water in my mouth and the sight of the weeds just below the surface, I just can not bring myself to swim more than a few strokes. Makes for a terrible swim.

Anyway, I go to the pool, except stop to quick wax my bikini-line first, which is normally in all its natural glory because tri-shorts are the best thing ever….but wanted to wear a normal suit for once. Get to the pool and it’s a Masters’ Swim time. Which I don’t know how to join, and the lanes are already crowded, which makes me feel rushed and tired, and I think about it and suck it up, go to take a shower but my wax job is now angry and bleeding and fire-crotch seems even less public-swim friendly than dark spider legs of hair creeping out onto pale Irish legs…so I drive back home.

So no run, no bike, no swim. No yogurt. No ice cream. No Facebook. Even if I had internet service, WHICH I DON’T.

I’ve been planning family vacations to Door County for the race, and later this summer, to the Museum of the Rockies and Yellowstone. The planning alone makes me so happy. Did you know Montana has a bunch of the World’s Largest roadside attractions?!? Booming Prairie Chicken (although, that might be Minnesota,) Holstein Cow, Buffalo, and Purple Spoon! Wyoming has The World’s Largest Jackalope and The Even Bigger Jackalope! What a world! I’d give you the full list, but it’s on my roadtrippers account, which is on the internet, which, you know, I don’t have.

Le sigh.

I have to go find a cafe with strong enough WiFi that it reaches the parking lot so I can upload this. Watch me.

Fine. I’ll just stay here and read a book by candlelight like Laura Ingalls.


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