August has arrived and that means summer is nearly over. We’ve had an eventful summer. It’s been a bit of a study in making the best of the good and the bad that occurs while you are just living life. We’ve had some really fun “ups” and some really frustrating “downs” and all the in between.
Back in March, I had a terrible plumbing issue happen in our basement. The whole thing flooded, the sump pump died and there was a crushed sewer line that was discovered. This led to the need to dig up half of the front yard to find the sewer line and replace it; which then led to the yard looking like the surface of Mars when the workman who did the digging basically threw all the earth he had moved back in the holes and ran away. It was a mess. After all my work on the yard over this last year, to see it destroyed in such a manner caused me not a little bit of angst. In fact, I experienced a bit of depression over it, if I’m honest. My landlords came through with a solution and even came and planted grass seed once the ground was evened out – it was just up to me to make sure the grass grew. This will not come as a surprise to anyone reading this, but I’ve never grown grass before. I mean I have kept a hanging plant mostly alive all summer, but that is the extent of my horticultural expertise (if you can call randomly watering something when you look out and it appears to have shriveled up and died – expertise). But I dutifully watered the straw-covered seeds and then the Good Lord sent 2 weeks of nearly solid rain, and low and behold, grass grew. It’s a miracle. I grew grass in the middle of summer in the Midwest! So, basically I can leap tall buildings in a single bound these days.
This summer Arden and I joined a local neighborhood pool. We have been thoroughly enjoying our long, slow days there. The very cool thing about having a middle schooler who is a good swimmer AND a pool with lifeguards, is I get a lot of lounge chair/book reading time. Deciding to join the pool may have been the best summer choice I’ve made in all the summers of Arden’s life. We try to go at least twice a week (except for that aforementioned 2 weeks of rain) and Arden really enjoys it. She is so outgoing and has met kids in such a fearless way that I marvel at her bravery. But on the flip side, she really enjoys laying on a chair next to me with her earbuds in, people watching. I’m not sure we will have this luxury next summer, so I’m soaking up every minute left before it closes in September.
From the high of my grass growing (pun intended) and pool going, I plummeted into the depths of car repair drama. A couple of weeks ago, the car started making the most horrific noise and emitting a burning smell that was not a little disturbing. I took it to the repair shop and was told that I had somehow managed to get a hole in the transmission case. The mechanic had never seen anything like it. So if you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly, I guess. I require a new transmission. What a blessing! I was able to find another shop to fix it at a bit lower price, but it is going to take at least 3 weeks. And will still require that I sell one of my internal organs to pay for it – but I’ve borrowed a car to use in the meantime and have a plan to pay for the repair. Watching as it was towed away, I felt waves of despair wash over me. Car problems overwhelm me, and this one was a doozy. I was so frustrated and angry and scared and just basically undone. It felt like just one more thing to overcome after a year of overcoming so many things. I confess to having quite a few pity parties that week. But I’m doing better now and am more hopeful that I can overcome this as well and maybe it will be something I look back on as a good thing. Not sure how it will ever be a good thing, but I suppose anything is possible.
This week marked 1 year that Arden and I have lived in this little yellow house. To say we’ve lived a lot of life within these walls over the last 12 months, is an understatement. We celebrated birthdays and holidays. We cried over the changes and disappointments of our lives. We welcomed guests for dinners and sleepovers and book clubs and play dates. We picked out 2nd hand furniture and a few brand new pieces. We put together each room with our own style and intentions. We did almost an entire year of remote schooling. We learned how to put together things and repair things and ask for help when something was just too much for us to tackle. We braved meeting new neighbors and have found ourselves welcomed by the sweet people who live around us. We figured out a pretty decent division of labor between the two of us – Arden learned to do the laundry and I do everything else. I kid. A little.
We cooked countless meals in our little kitchen. We cranked up the music and danced through the rooms. We walked through the streets of our little village and admired all the different types of homes that have been built here. We have lived some life here. But the thing I’m most proud to say about our year here in the little yellow house, is that we were brave. We did hard things and we were brave. We didn’t want to be and there were days when we did in fact pull the covers back over our heads and chose to be brave tomorrow – but by and large, everyday, we were brave.
So that was our summer. School starts in 22 days. Supplies have already been purchased and I’ve made a pretty good dent on uniform pieces. Middle School means uniforms for Arden, and while I know it is easier once the school year is in full swing, getting it all together from nothing is simply no fun. But we are getting there.
We still have a couple of weeks to soak up more sun and swim some more and sit out on the back porch late at night and sing and dance and stay in pjs all day if we want.
I hope you’ve had a good summer, or at least a summer with a healthy dose of good parts.
See ya soon.