The queen of summer

‘Cause we keep it together the better the weather,
We love it that way…

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Last summer, when we were in Europe, I realized how much I miss having summers off. Not (just) because of the whole not-working action, but because my family is off in the summer – and I love those guys.

For seventeen years, David and I had summers off together. Most of that time, it was because we were both either students or teachers or one of each. Occasionally, we were between jobs, between states, or between countries. Whatever the reason, we had that time together.

David is different in the summer. During the school year, he is so focused on school – and playing board games to alleviate the stress of school – that he rarely has time to just relax and be himself. In the summer, he is that person… and I really like that person.

Quinland marveled over this repeatedly in Europe. David was so friendly, so chatty with strangers, so energetic, so willing to do hikes and bike rides and sea kayaking, so eager to sightsee and go to museums, so FUN. (We took to calling this aspect of him “Euro Dad.”) But really and truly, I know that David from all the summers we spent together doing all those things. It was so incredible to get to have that experience again after almost 10 years without it.

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So, this year, I decided I was going to get at least a taste of it. We took a vacation – a real vacation – and went on a road trip down through Oregon, Northern California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, stopping at National Parks and State Parks along the way. D and Q went for three weeks; I couldn’t get that much time off, but I went for two full weeks. Camping, driving, visiting friends and relatives, hiking, just hanging out – it was like having a summer again.

Oh, I can’t forget to add this: Crater Lake is beautiful. Why had I never managed to get there before?

Portland to Coast – Decluttering while camping

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Photo by kckellner

We just got back from camping at the Oregon Coast.  I was so unprepared for the shockingly good weather that I didn’t even think to wear sunscreen when I went to the beach to watch Quinland and her friend fly kites and dig holes.  Now I am paying for it with a sunburn that will fade to a lovely farmer’s tan.

The first night, I slept on a camping cot that I’d purchased a couple of years ago at a garage sale.  Almost immediately, the reasons why I had only used the cot once before came rushing back at me. The head would not stay at the same level as the center section.  My choices were either to have my head lower than my body, or to sleep partially upright, which made sleeping on my side impossible.  However, if I tried lying on my back, I’d bang an elbow or a knee on the side rails. I gave up about halfway through that first night, and even my preteen daughter – who couldn’t believe her good luck at getting mom’s cot – gave up after just a few hours. Meanwhile, I learned that my mid-40s body can no longer sleep on the ground, no matter how many times I flipped myself like a rotisserie chicken.  Believe me, any future camping I do will involve an RV or an air mattress!

So what did I do as we were packing the car to come home?  I decided I was not going to keep a cot that no one wanted to sleep on, and – with my new decluttering mission in mind – I wasn’t even going to bring it back into the house.  I carried the cot to the campsite across from us and offered it to the nice family I met there. They seemed a bit baffled by the offer, but they took it and seemed glad to get it.  My camping cot is now on its way to a new home in Nevada.

  • {Clutter} released: One uncomfortable green camping cot.
  • {Perfectionism} released: I debated hauling the cot home to sell on Craigslist or at our upcoming garage sale, but I decided that I had a target “market” right there in the campground. I didn’t make any money back, but I got the job done and didn’t have to worry about it any longer.  What a relief!
  • {Body Fat} released: Walked from the Yaquina Head Lighthouse to the Historic Newport Bayfront instead of driving.  This photo was taken from the path we walked, though not by me.