Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I Did on Summer Vacation

I want to make the last two weeks seem like a real summer break. At this point, the best way to do that is to make Monday, the first day back at work, seem like the first day back at school. I think middle school was the last time I actually had a written assignment to share my summer vacation with everyone. In that spirit then, here's my first-day-back essay:

"What I Did on Summer Vacation"
by Bill Martin

For my summer vacation, I went... (no, strike that. I didn't go anywhere.) I slept in. The reason I slept in is because I stayed up late. Really late. Like an hour-before-I-usually-get-up late. This began almost immediately, proving that a morning radio personality schedule is an utterly artificial thing to me. After more than two decades, my native body clock has not changed.

Another thing I did on my summer vacation was to make a chore list. I made this list at the beginning, so I'd have a maximum amount of time to work on the projects I identified as needing done. I referred to that chore list several times during the first week (before I lost it) so I could refresh my memory of all the things that needed to be done around the house. Now, I need a new chore list, with the first item reading, "Find chore list." I did, however, think about the chore list several times.

I changed several light bulbs.

The second week of vacation, I got much more productive. I continued to think about my chore list and wrote a poem about it. In fact, I wrote several poems, read several poems, submitted several assignments to an online poetry class, listened to lectures from a Yale University course on modernist poets, won a couple of poetry contests, wrote an essay on the implications of the loss of logocentric assumptions in Western culture, worked on prose style and cumulative syntax, downloaded two online courses on the book of Ezekiel, began a study of that book, outlined a class on How to Be Spiritual in the 21st Century, outlined another series of lectures and began an explication of George Herbert's "Redemption," read William Carlos Williams poems to my two youngest boys, wrote two weeks of daily devotions for the three youngest boys, listened to a series on Mere Christianity, and bought a new book on literature from the Goodwill bookstore.

I dropped off several loads of toys, clothes, and household furnishings to Goodwill. That was my excuse to get into the bookstore.

I mowed my lawn.

(Mostly.) I broke my weedeater.

I played in an old guy vs young guy softball game. The old guys won. I'm not saying which team I was on.

I wasn't sore the next day, unlike most of my teammates.

I cheered for Adam and his AllStar team as they finished third in the county cup. Adam started at third base in every game and finished up strong at the plate, hitting a home run over the center field fence in the last game they played. I got critiqued by my wife for the way I talk about baseball.

I threw batting practice for Grady.

I went to a show that Will's band played. I picked up my daughter, Madison, from her youth camp. I watched shows and movies with Adam, Grady and Payton. I cooked lots of yummy chicken pilau (a family recipe). I never found out what "pilau" means.

I drank tea.

I played Bananagrams. Lots of Bananagrams. Lots.

I finally beat Kimberly. At least that's how I remember it.

I didn't get into arguments with my wife. Except maybe about a word (or two) she (may have) used in Bananagrams that isn't actually in any English language dictionary.

That's pretty much my summer vacation. I'm sure I've left some important stuff out, but after all, it's the first day of school and I don't want to spill it all on the first assignment.

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