Yes, I'm off until after Labor Day. It's the first time I'm pausing the fact parade since the metro column began in late February.
Truth is, there's no fishing hole, no sandy beach, no bright green digestif overlooking a cypress grove. I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying home, working around the house and attending to things left undone for the past half year.
Oh, and I'm wondering how to pay for two college tuitions, starting the end of the month. The good thing is it's only money, as my friend Joe used to say.
(Joe grew up in Mamaronek, NY, and his dad was circulation manager of the New York Daily News, so presumably he was in a position to devalue money. Me, we'll be completely broke and in debt when this is all over. Let us eat Ramen.)
We've got quite the punch list around here: fill in holes in the blacktop, bushwhack the back 40, remove heavy limbs torn down by storms, pick up leaves ignored last fall, fix that classic 1950s toilet whose innards I spent $600 bucks to replace recently (because it doesn't stop running, and everynight I stumble through the dark to rattle the handle into silence.)
And then there's packing. Two boys headed for college, two directions at once. One of their schools has produced a helpful list of items.
There's all sorts of crap that I don't remember taking, although my dad has memories of a family station wagon pointing west 33 years ago -- so stuffed he had to use unleaded gas or else he'd scrape the muffler. Ba-dum!
One item on the list gives me pause. An ironing board.
"You get a receipt for that?" I asked my wife when I realized she'd picked up not one but two mini ironing boards. She had. She's a pro.
I cannot imagine the boys ironing anything while they are in college. I have no memory of ever ironing anything -- even when we had these bizarre rushing-the-season rituals called "formals" where we'd dress up in suits and escort young ladies to giant Chicago hotel ballrooms where 11-piece band murdered Earth Wind and Fire tunes. Maybe I rented a shirt. Maybe I bought a new one. No memory.
I have to say I had a second thought when I saw them:
They'd make cool little bars.