It’s that time when your kids are working out how to squeeze a summer’s worth of holiday homework into a couple of weeks – or less. The cicadas may be singing their hearts out, but there’s that feeling in the air the end of summer is just around the corner. Which made me stop and think about my top 5 discoveries of the past few months, starting off with….
1. Time travel. If you’re from Chicago, you’re probably ahead of me in this one (no pun intended). The formula for time travel goes like this – sign up son for residential summer course at the University of Michigan; calculate necessary departure time from Chicago, working on basis Ann Arbor is only 240 miles away, a 4 hour drive according to Google Maps; congratulate oneself on safe and timely arrival, despite usual navigational deviations, prompted by pressing need for caffeine and/or restrooms; wonder why reception area is deserted and all participants already seated in meeting room; wonder some more when welcome meeting ends after 5 minutes; and then realise you’ve traveled through time somewhere around Union Pier, Indiana, and you’re now 1 hour older – and son one hour late.
Of course the citizens of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan who pop back and forward between the Central and Eastern time zones on a regular basis don’t even think twice about the time traveling stuff. They’re too focused on getting to work in time, 30 minutes before they’ve left their house – or vice versa. For the rest of us used to only crossing time zones whilst in the air, it’s a real ‘Back to the Future’ moment. Only wish I’d been driving one of the flip-doored DeLoreans like the one I spotted in my street this summer.
2. You can have drinks delivered to your seat at certain movie theatres. My personal ‘Living the American Dream’ moment. First came those great, big, fully reclining Lazy-boy chairs, next the alcoholic drinks you could take into the theatre with you. Then came the stroke of genius, the one thing you don’t have at home, well, not unless you’ve trained the dog well. The key to cinema Nirvana I discovered when I asked a lovely barman if I needed to bring back all our IDs if we wanted another drink mid-movie (because I obviously look under 21). He informed me we could order and pay then for our next round, and they would be brought to our seats whenever we wished. Those seats have never felt so soft, as when, bang on the stroke of nine, the drinks fairies appeared, dispensing happy dust along with their magic gifts. And they didn’t spill a single drop – unlike the dog.
3. Leave teenage boys unattended and your whole house will smell. Yup, you’d have thought I’d have learnt this one by now. This particular incident involved a DIY robot and a bottle of Febreze. The thought process was apparently along the lines of when the army sends a robot into enclosed spaces to defuse particularly dangerous situations, such as poisonous, inflammatory gases. You get the drift. The problem here was that this robot did not defuse, but diffuse. At length. To the extent that we probably needed an actual army robot to come into our house and defuse the cloud of poisonous, inflammatory gas. Plus the dog didn’t smell the same for a long time. But that actually wasn’t a negative.
4. My dishwasher draws the line at lumps of guacamole. I confess I make my dishwasher work for its living – I’m a scraper, not a rinser. And we’ve been getting along fine until we introduced home-made guacamole to taco night this summer. At this point my dishwasher decided to launch what can best be described as a dirty protest – appropriate in more ways than one as, let’s be honest, lumps of old avocado, especially after they’ve been through the dishwasher, do look like poo. Plus post-wash they’re sticky little varmints, the ultimate veggie cling-on. Lesson learned, the guacamole plates get the equivalent of moist toilet wipe now. But only on the condition they don’t tell the others.
5. My last is actually a re-discovery from about this time last year. And the year before that. And the one before that. Chicago is SPECTACULAR in the summer. Lest all you hardened life-long Chicagoans forget, your city is stunning in the summer sunshine. See what I mean?
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