Friday, May 21, 2010

No More Pencils, No More Books, No More...

Yep, it's that time of year again - school is out. That means summer vacation has arrived! Although my kids love school, they also love summer vacation. When I was a kid, both my parents worked, so my summer vacation was spent at home with my two sisters and nobody else. It seems odd to think there wasn't at least one parent there to monitor us and make sure we didn't burn down the house or something.

Anyway, I don't remember a lot about what we did during summer break, that is when I was in elementary school. But I do remember watching a lot of television and eating grilled cheese sandwiches. We ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. I think we had stock in Velveeta. My sisters watched soap operas and I watched sit-coms like Gilligan's Island and The Munsters. Oh don't judge us, it was the 1970's. There was no Nick Jr. or Cartoon Network. You had what you had, and it came to your house through the magic of "rabbit ears". 

Now, as a parent who is home all the time, I really do treasure those days off during the school year. And by days off I mean the days my kids were in school. I always exercised on those days and played around on the computer. But mostly I enjoyed the peace and solice of an empty and quiet house. Nobody saying "daddy this" or "daddy that". I could turn on the radio and not be called away for some emergency that involved a magic marker.

Even the days my kids were at home were pretty good, because we spent our time doing homework. We had a lot of structure. But now that structure is gone. We now have days and days and days to fill up. So the question becomes, what does one do with two kids in Dallas during summer break? I mean you can only go to Chick-fil-a so many times before even the kids are tired of it.

Last year we spent the summer at the city's swimming pool. I'm sure that will be a player for us this summer again, once it opens up. The trouble is, we're in this flat time between the end of school and the opening of the swimming pool.

So a few days ago, I went with what I knew - tradition. The kids watched TV all day - Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword, to the rescue. They must have watched it 3 times. I can't say that an all day TV marathon was as much fun as I remembered. By the afternoon, we were all lethargic, cranky and easily motivated to disagreement. I'm afraid TV just isn't the answer (as if it ever is). So my wife gave me some suggestions - The Science Center, The Library, The Pet Store, etc. We'll see how it goes for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, nobody goes catatonic or ADHD during this summer lull.

Well, it's time to wrap this up. We're headed to the batting cages and Adventure Land. I'm sure it'll be fun - kind of like Las Vegas for kids. Yep, nothing says summer fun like spending $15 on game tokens and bringing home 10 cent prizes like little parachute men that don't work and whistles that unfortunately do.

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