My Summer of George

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.

my summer of George

  • 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.

summer is gone

  • 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.

summer hiking

  • 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.
  • summer Mt. St. HelenSt. 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.

summer beach

  • 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.

summer fireworks

  • 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.

summer fair

  • 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?

The following two tabs change content below.
Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

Latest posts by retirebyforty (see all)

Get update via email:
Sign up to receive new articles via email
We hate spam just as much as you

26 thoughts on “My Summer of George”

  1. Are you planning to have a 2nd kid? Have you done any investing scenarios for a 2nd or 3rd child?

    I ask because there are many who follow you, who many have multiple children. Just thinking of the impact it has on financial planning

    • No, we don’t plan to have more kids. I’m not sure what we would change if we have more kids. We probably won’t be able to fund higher education as much.

  2. Thanks for sharing your summer w/us! Bagby Hot Springs looks awesome-I’m jealous.
    And you guys have real hippies in your neck of the woods (country). Wow.

  3. Hey dude, fun summer! We had a lot of fun too and still are going… Koya had swimming lessons for a month (mon-thurs everyday) and I’m very happy that she now swims on her own without floaters! Went camping once and will do another one this coming weekend. Biking. Hiking. Swimming. That pretty much sums up the summer.

    • We’ll start swimming lessons again next spring. Great job with Koya. Our guy hangs on to the side of the pool. He can’t stay afloat yet, but he can swim a short distance.

  4. I’m almost in tears reading this. My son is 4 and a half too, and I can clearly see how my lack of time is hurting my relationship with my kid. I have so few vacation days each year that I spend most of them sleeping, just to recover from work. Same for weekends…

    You’ve done lots of fun stuff with your kid and I really hope I’ll get that opportunity soon as well. Still a few more years, I hope he won’t be too old to play with his dad when I finally retire.

    • That’s how I felt when I was working full time. I hope you can figure out a way to get back a little time for yourself and your family. It’s tough when work is so demanding. Good luck on your retirement journey.

  5. We had a blast! As you know, we spent 7 weeks in Mexico bumming around pyramids, ruins, and food carts. 🙂 The weather was awesome, food simply incredible and low prices made it easy to enjoy ourselves without blowing a decade’s worth of our travel budget.

    I didn’t realize we were using up almost our entire summer but when we got back home to Raleigh after that trip, it was school supply shopping time already. Wow, it really hit home. The last few weeks of summer we squeezed in a big birthday party for the now 9 year old, tons of visits to the swimming pool, and catching up with friends and family. Ours are starting their second week of school today so “summer” is almost a distant memory now.

    I love this time of year though. It cools off in the mornings and evenings so it’s actually comfortable to be outside for much of the day.

    Glad you had a great summer, too Joe!

    • Your trip was fantastic. We’d like to do something similar next year. Probably closer to 4-5 weeks, though.
      I don’t like to travel in the summer because there are so much stuff to do locally. We’ll see if we can go in the spring or fall instead.

    • This summer has been a lot busier than usual. I try to pack in as much as I can because we’ll be spending a lot of time indoor once it starts raining. Summer was fun, but we’re ready to relax at home. 🙂

    • A balance bike is really helpful. It will teach him how to balance. If they are getting a new bike, tell them to get the lightest one possible. We got the lightest one and it was still too heavy for him initially. It’s hard to learn to ride when you can’t hold the bike up. Good luck! 🙂

  6. Fun summer you had! As working adults, without kids, I don’t think there is such things as summers unless you take a vacation. We did get in some days on the weekend at the beach and purchased a summer pass to a trio of art festivals. Mrs. Budgets has other plans for next summer as I am planning to leave my professional job (in March 2016) of almost 10 years to pursue a hobby turned side business, making jewelry. Mrs. Budgets really wants a slower pace lifestyle and hopefully we will have a really exciting summer next year!

    Meanwhile, I should look at buying that book..How to Engineer your layout! Good call!

    • Good luck with your business! Summer will be a lot more fun when you an dictate your own time. Yes, check out Sam’s book. It’s very helpful if you have time to put it in action.

  7. You’re a great dad! And don’t worry, while he may not remember specific places you shared, he WILL remember that you shared your time with him!

    • Thanks! I have terrible memory. I don’t remember anything from when I was a young kid. Mrs. RB40 remembers a lot of her childhood, though.

  8. Looks like you went on some awesome (and cost effective) adventures this summer! I was very spoiled this summer – I took 8 weeks off from work and spent that time travelling around Europe and blogging! It was incredible and I’m hoping that it wasn’t a once in a lifetime experience!

    • Wow, that sounds great. I’d love to do that someday. Maybe when Mrs. RB40 retires. We’ll try to take a year off and travel around the world. We’ll have to home school for a year, but I think we can handle it.

  9. It sounds like you had an amazing summer full of memories for RB40 Jr!

    We love doing outdoor trips to parks and festivals as well. We’re holding off on camping until October though, because the humidity and mosquitoes where we live are just too awful in the summer to enjoy it.

    P.S. Do you have any tips for how you taught him to ride his bike? My daughter does amazingly well on her strider bike, but she gets scared on her bigger bike with pedals.

    • Our camping window is very narrow. You can count on rain from September to June. 🙂
      Actually, it took him a while to get comfortable with the pedals too. We tried going straight to no training wheels, but it didn’t work. The bike was too heavy for him and he didn’t know how to pedal. We kept the training wheel on until he was comfortable with the pedals. We went riding with some older kids and that gave him the incentive to learn to ride without the training wheels. Once he made up his mind, it took only 4 days to learn. Good luck!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.