Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summertime, And The Living Is Crazy

Summertime brings to mind long, lazy days spent idling in the sunshine. So why is I am racing around like a chicken with no head and feel like I have been run over by a bus?

In the past three weeks since school has been out, not a day has gone by that someone did not need to be somewhere. Baseball games are in full swing. We have a bunch of doctor and dental appointments scheduled. We are helping out at a local pet shelter taking care of the cats and worked at our church's vacation bible school all last week. I am training for an 8 kilometer walk later this summer and meet with a training group once a week. To top it all off, I hosted a baby shower for my niece at my house last weekend.

I get out of breath just remembering all of that.

It seemed when I was a child, summer was for nothing but goofing off. Kids went outside in the morning, were called in for lunch and dinner, and basically ran around the neighborhood all day until it got dark. Mothers might be inside for awhile doing housework but always seemed to find time to have long chats with neighbors over the fence or while sitting on the front porch. Dads could be found swinging in a hammock in the evenings.

Now, it seems the only time I see my neighbors is when they are out mowing their lawns. The few kids in my neighborhood are in day care, summer programs or seem to be out of state visiting their non-custodial parent. How has life changed so drastsically in thirty-some years?

It seems that as technology has picked up the pace, our lives have followed suit. I am more likely to chat with someone via email than over the backyard fence. Kids need to be kept busy at all times so they don't fall behind. Summer has lost some of its most important aspect: lazy indulgence.

Now that many of our obligations have been fulfilled and baseball is nearly done, I am determined to allow some laziness into our schedule. I will float in a lounge chair in the pool. I will spend some time in the hammock with a book. I will quit nagging the kids about chores, music practice and workbooks and just let them be kids.

The first thing I will do is indulge in a long, long nap. Soon. But right now, Sean needs to go to baseball practice, Shannon has an orthodontist appointment and the cat just threw up a hairball.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wedding Bells and Falling Tables

My sister Lynn got married last weekend. It was a beautiful day, a lovely ceremony, and an enjoyable wedding reception.

I am concerned about one thing, however. No one broke a table.

You have to go back through our family history of weddings to understand what I am talking about. At my wedding twenty years ago, my brother Kevin and his friend Ron were leaning against one of the tables as the reception was winding down. The legs gave out and the entire table collapsed. Ron and Kevin ended up on their backs, but somehow neither spilled a drop of the beer they were holding.

When my brother Jeff was married three years ago, my siblings and I once again found ourselves at the end of another wedding reception packing away decorations and helping to clean up. My brother and his new wife Tanya were still there, along with Tanya's brother. As all of the chairs were already put away, Tanya's brother decided to take a rest by sitting on one of the tables. As fate would have it, the table collapsed.

We have decided that this has become a family omen that decides the future of the bride and groom: If a table breaks, the marriage will last. The Jewish people break wine glasses at weddings for good luck. The Sorchilla family breaks tables.

Needless to say, we are a bit concerned that no tables came crashing to the ground. However, a few minor incidents may make up for this. When my sister Lynn bent over to pick up our three-year-old nephew, the zipper on her wedding gown split. Fortunately her wedding coordinator was able to run to Joann Fabrics. Her dress was held up for the rest of the evening with elastic and safety pins.

Later on, while my cousin Donna was heading down the hallway toward the restrooms, the glue on the sole of her shoe gave way, and the bottom of her shoe was almost completely off. Luckily she had pair of shoes in her car stashed away for when her feet got tired.

So even though no tables came crashing down, we are hoping that a couple of minor wardrobe malfunctions make up for it.

But, just in case, I am going to make the newlyweds a table out of popsicle sticks and have them smash it on their first anniversary. Why tempt fate.

Best wishes, John and Lynn!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Is In The Air--Along With The Sound of Bickering

School is out as of last Friday, and the summer vacation stretches before us. As I listen to my children argue in the next room, one thing comes to mind:

It's going to be a very, very long summer.

Normally I am working several days a week, which gives me a bit of a break and gives my kids a chance to develop a little bit of independence. As the house has always been standing when I got home and both kids were unscathed, I assume everything went well. I even suspect they get along better when I am not there to play referee.

This summer, however, I am facing the prospect of being home all of the time. It has only been four days since school ended and my patience is already being tested.

But all is not lost. Sean will be attending scout camp and Shannon taking an astronomy class at Michigan Tech University, both during the last week of July. We also have two long weekends planned, one with my family in Pennsylvania to attend my sister's wedding and another at a local campground for Cliff's family reunion.

Sean is also playing on a summer baseball league, and Shannon will likely be attending a weekly cheer camp later in the summer. I am also planning to expand their list of daily chores, which will go a long way in alleviating boredom and will be expanded even further if I get any complaints.

And I am researching inexpensive options to keep them off the sofa and away from the television, computer and video games. For some reason, the more time they spend in front of media, the more cranky they seem to be with each other. Outings to local beaches, free classes put on by a local nature center, trips to the library and free concerts and movies in our local parks should help. Also, we are lucky enough to have a drive-in movie theater, minature golf course, and other cheap forms of entertainment at our disposal.

Hopefully, these strategies will keep some semblance of peace and order in our house. If it doesn't, perhaps I can find a summer camps for mothers about to lose their marbles to send myself to for a week.