Can you believe summer is over? Portland Public Schools started on August 27th, last Thursday. That seems really early to me. When I was a kid, school started after Labor Day. The weather is also starting to turn cooler now. We had a hotter than usual summer, but I didn’t mind it at all. We spent a ton of time at the pool and enjoyed our summer thoroughly. Of course, the record heat also brought drought and many big wildfires to the Northwest. We had some good rain over the weekend, but it was really windy, too. Hopefully more rain will come soon so the firefighters can get the fires under control.
I never liked “back to school” when I was a kid. Summer is so much freer. I could read fun books, goof off all day, and enjoy being a kid. Of course, once I grew up, summer wasn’t as much fun. Work just took up so much time and we were usually busy catching up on chores on the weekends. Even after I left my full time job 3 years ago, I couldn’t do much because RB40jr was too small. This summer was fantastic, though. At 4 and a half, he was game for almost anything. This was my chance to live The Summer of George!
The Summer of George
Seinfeld was a huge sitcom back in the 90s and it is still on rerun today. I’m sure many people in my age group have fond memories of the show. I still have a hard time passing an episode by when surfing the channels, not that I have watch much TV these days. In “The Summer of George”, George Costanza was fired from the Yankees, but he elated when he found out he got a severance package. (Don’t quit your job until you read this book.) He resolved to have fun and enjoy the summer to the fullest.
George: Severance package…The Yankees are giving me three months full pay for doing nothing.
Jerry: They did it for three years. What’s another few months.
George: I’m really going to do something with these three months.
Jerry: Like what?
George: I’m gonna read a book. From beginning to end. In that order.
Jerry: I’ve always wanted to do that…
George: I’m gonna play frolf.
Jerry: You mean golf?
George: Frolf, frisbee golf Jerry. Golf with a frisbee. This is gonna be my time. Time to taste the fruits and let the juices drip down my chin. I proclaim this: The Summer of George!
Of course, George became incredibly lazy and wasted his summer. He watched TV all day in his pajamas and refuse to visit his friends. He did play a game of frolf so at least he accomplished that.
Our hectic summer
Anyway, back to real life. We have had an incredibly hectic summer. RB40jr went to “preschool camp” every other week so I could have a little time to blog and do some chores. The preschool camp was from 9 am to 1 pm every weekday for $99/week. That’s a great deal. On his off weeks, I’d try to find at least one new adventure for us to do. On the weekend, we’d see if Mrs. RB40 would like to join us on an excursion. She likes to go out and have fun, but she also needs some downtime for herself. Here is the fun stuff we did this summer.
- Bike – I taught RB40jr how to ride a bike. He learned how to ride a bike without the training wheels in 4 days! That’s amazing. He had a balance bike since he was 2 so I’m sure that helped.
- Parades – There were a bunch of parades in the summer, but we just went to the main ones this year. The Starlight parade was held at dusk and the floats and bands were lit up. The Grand Floral Parade was the big parade in Portland. Our condo is only a few blocks away from the route so it was easy to go to these.
- Farm country – We went to a birthday party at a farm on Sauvie Island. Jr picked some strawberries and played with the hay bales. He refused to ride a pony, though. We also got allergy attacks from all the dust. It was fun, but I don’t think we’ll be back for a few years.
- Hiking – We did quite a few hikes this year. We took a trip to Bagby Hot Springs. You hike about 1.5 miles along a river and end at a hot spring. We had a mineral soak and shared our picnic lunch with the chipmunks afterward. We also hiked a few trails in Portland’s Forest Park.
- St. Helens – We hike/climbed the Ape Cave, a 1.5 miles lava tube on Mt. St. Helens, southern flank. The climb wasn’t bad, but RB40jr got a little cold. That was my bad, I forgot to bring gloves for him. We also took another trip to see the crater and visited Johnston Ridge Observatory. The film of the St. Helens eruption made a huge impression and he talked about it for days.
- Swimming lessons – I signed him up for swimming lessons and it was great. He didn’t like water previously and now he loves it. We have a pool in our complex and we went swimming very often this year.
- Concerts – Actually, we didn’t see a lot of concerts this year. I think we went to only about 5 or so. These are all free concerts in the parks nearby. We didn’t make it to the bigger concerts this year. There were just too many things to do.
- Camping – We did our annual camping trip at the beach. This year we went over the border to Long Beach, WA. It was cold and windy, but we had fun anyway. Next year we probably will go camping in the forest. The Oregon coast is always too cold.
- Fireworks – We saw a bunch of firework displays this summer. The Tillikum Crossing bridge completion celebration was very impressive because we haven’t seen a fireworks display launch off a bridge before. The 4th of July fireworks were great as usual.
- Oregon Country Fair – A big hippie festival in Eugene, Oregon. It was fun, but we probably won’t be back in a long while. A whole day of walking around and listening to music is too much for us now. One or two hours is plenty…
- Legoland – We took a side trip to Legoland when we visited Mrs. RB40’s family this summer. It was pretty expensive at $200 for 3 of us, but it was a great experience. The rides were the perfect introduction to roller coasters for RB40jr. He had a huge grin on his face on all the rides. This is great because I’m not a huge fan of roller coasters. Mrs. RB40 and Jr can go to the amusement parks while I do something productive. 🙂
- DIY at the rental – RB40jr tagged along whenever I went to do some DIY at the rental. He’s a bit small to help much, but it’s never too early to start. This was a good way to teach him about rental income too.
We also went to the library, farmer markets, museums, met up with friends, and tried a bunch of new playgrounds. I haven’t had this much fun since I was a kid. All in all, it was a very busy summer and we’re ready to slow down a bit this fall. I declare this Summer of George a success!
I don’t think RB40jr realizes how lucky he is. Most of his friends have working parents and they can’t do much on the weekdays. Some kids are at preschool camp the whole summer. That’s fun too, but I think it’s better to spend more time in the great outdoors. Anyway, in a few years, he’ll be busy with his friends, sports, lessons, and other extracurricular activities. I just hope he remembers some of our time together when he grows up. We are taking a lot of pictures so he can always browse through them.
Did you have a great summer? That’s one reason why I think it would be great to be in academia. You get the summer off! What did you do this summer?
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