I'm back. For both of you who are wondering where my blog has been, I decided to take the summer off.
Ever since I graduated from college, I've always wanted to "summer" somewhere, but unfortunately gainful employment, lack of independent wealth and having mortgages never made that feasible.
But I still dreamed to be like the well-to-do who lived in the cities of the Northeast before the invention of air conditioning. During the oppressive heat and humidity of June, July and August they would take refuge in places like the Catskills, the Hamptons or on Mackinac Island where they would wile away the days with leisurely activities.
They summered. I wanted to summer too.
I even perfected a passable clenched-jaw Thurston Howell the Third impression that would be appropriate when telling people that "I summered in the Hamptons. And Lovey, could you bring me another Manhattan?"
Unfortunately, the reality of my attempt at summering did not live up to my fantasy. The closest I came to The Hamptons was driving under Hampton Avenue near the St. Louis Zoo during a day-trip a few months ago.
While I intended to start writing a blog after my summer of summering, I did not. And I blame it mainly on a fortune cookie.
You see late last May, I ate at the China Palace on Broadway and got a fortune cookie containing the following advice:
A good time to finish up old tasks.
I'm not sure if this bit of wisdom originated with Confucius, but I thought it was a good, personal recommendation and taped it to my laptop so I would look at it everyday as motivation. It's still there as a reminder as well as advising me that 37, 19, 22, 54, 16 and 30 are lucky numbers.
With that advice in mind -- the phrase, not the numbers -- that is what I've been doing rather than writing blogs in the evening or on the weekends since June. And while I had hoped to polish off a satisfying amount of old tasks by the end of the summer, I didn't. So summer turned into fall and I kept plowing through the list of things at home that needed done.
I prepped, primed and painted three rooms. I installed both a new front door and a storm door. I restored and installed two old French doors. I put in new ceiling fans and track lighting. I hung 200 linear feet of crown molding and laid 600 square feet of laminate flooring. I also planted about 80 boxwoods and 70 hostas in a formal English-style garden, refinished several pieces of furniture, and handled the various regular maintenance required around the three properties that my wife and I own. I've stayed pretty busy.
But as of 11:30 pm, Central Standard Time on December 21, fall is finished. It is now winter.
I still have tasks at home that need my attention, but I have gotten a lot done over the last 7 months. I think I can make time to sit in my big leather chair with our insanely furry, white cat napping in my lap while I peck out a semi-regular blog on my MacBook.
And if I get thirsty and our cat won't budge, perhaps my lovely wife might even bring me a Manhattan.