I used to love summer. My kids would come home on the last day of school and we would celebrate by emptying their backpacks into the trash, storing them high up on closet shelves where we would forget about them and school and homework and schedules, and any type of brain strengthening activity until the day before school started again. Of course, it put them at a slight disadvantage as the summer reading list was among the things that disappeared into the trashcan, but after a few years of coming home as the losers in the Back To School Summer Reading Jeopardy game, we remembered to remove them before tossing the year’s worth of permission slips and half eaten fruit rollups with pencils stuck to them gleefully into the trash.

Somehow, now that my kids are grown, summer is just not the same. Is it just me or does each summer day seem to last for like, two weeks? I mean, I’m looking out the window at eight o clock at night, which is when I usually go to bed in the winter. It’s still light out and hot AF! In my mind, I’m shrieking GET DARK! IT’S NIGHT TIME! as I count the minutes til' I can get in my pajamas and binge watch Doc Martin. I cannot do this during daylight hours. It makes me feel like I am recovering from some type of surgery, and then I start obsessing about what type of surgery and then I start googling any weird symptoms I may be having and then, well…let’s just say it’s best for all concerned that I not binge watch Netflix while it’s light out. On an upnote, I have found a bright spot to these long summer days: Summer leggings. That’s right. Leggings in the summer. I made this discovery one glorious day when I googled sale capri pants on the Nordstrom Rack website. That huge ugly bruise I have on my calf from continually walking into a dog crate the size of a Humvee parked next to my bed after my 2 am pee? No longer an issue. I got myself three pairs. Thank you Nordstrom Rack for realizing that every season is the perfect season for pull on stretch pants.

Not to mention, this summer has a little added stress for me. Those of you who follow me, (shout out here to mom and dad and Debbie my dental hygienist— love you guys!) know I got a puppy. See previous blog to see how that went down as it is still pretty much the same except now he has gained 20 pounds and can jump up on my bed with his wet soggy bull penises that are supposed to keep him content to be by himself for hours, happily gnawing away in his own bed. Also, I have a dog trainer that comes to the house and she has told me that Reuben and I are “over bonding.” What? We totally don’t agree. We were shocked when she looked at us, where we sat together in our favorite rocker and made this announcement. Reuben looked up at me, his little face peeking out at me from the blankie I had him comfortably wrapped in and as he licked my chin I whispered in his ear,  “Don’t worry, as soon as she teaches you to “STAY” she’s out of here.” Please.  Over bonding. Ridiculous.

As far as the training goes, though Reuben is having a bit of trouble grasping the whole NO  BITE! thing and the OFF! thing and the COME! thing, I have really mastered it. I now walk around with a pouch clipped around my waist, filled with doggie treats. It’s sort of like a fanny pack, which is always a good look, but instead of my license, passport and emergency Immodium pill, it holds various dog treats. These are to be given to Reuben every time he makes a good decision. So, like, when Reuben has dug himself a deep hole under M’s newly planted hibiscus tree, and I am on my knees saying, “Rebuen leave it, leave it leave it, please Reuben,” and he comes out with several pieces of very expensive mulch stuck to his nose, he gets a piece of Pupperoni, because he made an excellent decision. Or, when he is running around with my new Rhianna Fenty slide with the big bow across the toes, (Okay they are last season but just hit Nordstrom Rack) and finally drops it which is an excellent decision, after I have chased him around the kitchen island for what seems like four hours, he gets a piece of dehydrated chicken. See how it works? I am totally getting it.

The other major stressor is my upcoming trip to the New York State Summer Writing Institute in Saratoga Springs. I will be heading there Sunday for eleven days to immerse myself in writing and learning and listening and of course the dreaded critique on my novel. I will be studying under the author Adam Haslett, who wrote the masterpiece, Imagine Me Gone, and I hope I don’t make an ass of myself like I did when I met Johnny Mathis in an elevator in the late 70’s where I spewed out, “I like cheese!” when he asked how my night was going. 

Sounds perfect right? Like a writer’s dream come true right? Slow your roll, did I mention I will be living in a dorm and sharing a bathroom? I mean yes, I went back to college in my fifties but this is sort of pushing it. I don’t share bathrooms well. In fact when M and I went on our cruise to Alaska I made it totally clear to him that when I am using the “facilities” he has to leave. “Do I have to leave the ship or just the cabin?” he asked me. Very funny. Now get out.

So there’s that. Also it’s stressful leaving Reuben for 11 days with M who is sort of like that new dad who plays with a newborn while it’s cooing and then as soon as it starts to cry yells out “Honey! Come get the baby, I’m late for…that thing!”

I know you’re thinking “Why would you get a puppy now if you knew you were going away?” and my answer is I am a quick decision maker. No need for overthinking. I picked out my house in a split second because there are two cement dolphins carved into the side of it. I’ll take this one. DONE. Plus, I figured I would have had the dog for six weeks already, he should be fully trained and a joy to be around by then.

So, I misjudged. People make mistakes, right?

Yes, he is still a handful. And yes, I will admit there are times when I think to myself, “Idiot! You were sleeping until 9 am every day and didn’t have to go outside except to bring in your Amazon Prime packages!” Now I am up at 6:22 am every day and am covered in mosquito bites from our lovely Florida summer walks which I faithfully partake in at least three times per day. Also, a side note, turns out 8 pm is a popular time for dog walking so DO wear a bra and probably some shorts you haven’t had since you carried a Fonzie lunch box.

But then, my Reuben will curl up in my lap and close his eyes and as I stroke his beautiful hair and feel his steady breathing, I feel such peace and contentment that even the fear of someone hearing me pee can’t take away.

It is these times that I realize I made an excellent decision and "Good girl!" I totally deserve a treat.


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