How I Spent My Summer Vacation

(Hint: It was a thrill a minute)

(Note: Back when I was on active duty as a Mom, I had a weekly column that ran in several Texas newspapers. Here's something I wrote just after my kids went back to school. I'm thinking that those of you who are in the throes of raising teenagers will probably relate!)

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION

I had such an exciting summer and can't wait to tell you all about some of the things I did: Even though I didn't get to take a trip myself, my husband and kids went lots of neat places. I got to help them pack their bags, and they even let me take them to the airport. Sometimes they would call or write, like the day I got a letter from my son at camp that said, "Dear Mom, The counselor won't let me go to supper until I write home. Love, Jason.”

I also got to unpack their stuff when they got home. One time, after my daughter's trip to the beach, there was a lot of sand in the bottom of her suitcase. I sprinkled some on my bare toes and pretended I'd been to the beach, too! It was so much fun!

This summer I spent time in the kitchen. A LOT of time. Every morning I fixed breakfast for my husband and me. Then I fixed cinnamon toast for the teenagers who slept late. Then leftovers for me at noon. Then two o'clock sandwiches for the kids. Then a snack for me at five. Then supper for my husband and me. Then supper for the kids after a baby-sitting job or a work shift. Then a snack for me at nine. Then nachos at midnight when they came in from a date.

I didn't go swimming too much this summer because my bathing suit shrank.

Because my husband travels, I got to do the yard all by myself. It was a blast! (I never knew that slugs could eat an entire flowerbed of begonias overnight. I guess summer makes everyone hungrier.) The hardest part was figuring out just how often I was supposed to mow. My neighbor on one side has mostly clumps of Johnson grass, and he only mows about once a month. My neighbor on the other side, however, has one of those yards that pro-golfers stop by to practice their putting on. He mows about every half-hour. I finally came up with my own schedule. I would watch the cat walk through the grass, and if I lost sight of him, I mowed. It worked pretty well.

I made lots of new friends over the summer. Let's see, there was Mr. Kennimer, who came to unclog my disposal. And Ed (I never caught his last name), who lifted the foundation of our house with this really neat machine. Of course, he dug up all my shrubs, and sent me a bill for two thousand dollars, but I'm putting him on my Christmas card list anyway.

I got to stay up late lots of times, just waiting for my kids to get home from their dates. In fact, I discovered some cool TV shows that come on after midnight, like "Auto Racing: Under the Hood” and "Gidget Goes Hawaiian”. I also maxed out my credit card buying hair extensions on the Home Shopping Network. (I can't wait to try them out!)

I learned all about heat this summer. For example, did you know that when a car sits in a parking lot all afternoon in 107 degree heat, you can get third degree burns on your palms just by grabbing the steering wheel? Or that when someone leaves a wet gym sock under the floor mat, you have to leave the windows down for four days, just to get rid of the mildew smell? Or that flip flops will change from a solid to a liquid if you leave them on the dashboard in the sun? I know all this stuff now.

Over the summer we had lots of company. Carloads and carloads of teenagers visited us. I never knew they were coming. It was so exciting. They ate a lot, too. Once I spent over a hundred dollars at the grocery store one afternoon and my refrigerator was empty just three hours later. Isn't that amazing?

But I guess my favorite part of summer was laundry. It was so much fun I did it over and over. Lucky for me, my teenagers took lots of showers, and changed clothes at least six times a day. It kept them from getting bored, and gave me something to do.

And that's How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Luckily I remembered to take pictures. After all, I'd hate to forget a summer like this.

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