Summer Solace
June 24, 2008, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

I’m convinced something is trying to kill me, as evidenced by the angry red welts that I’m trying to refrain from scratching, appearing in such odd spots as my navel and other areas I don’t usually discuss with strangers.  At first I thought I’d been bitten as we vigorously hiked the trails at Detweiler Park in Peoria this past weekend, but I’m pretty sure I had new bites this morning that were not there yesterday.  It rather creeps me out to think I’m being attacked in my sleep, but such are the indignities of the season.

Having said that, there are a few redeeming elements that may help to redeem the situation.  One, of course, is air conditioners.  I have one, which is likely to be installed in my window by the next time the temp hits 90.  It is noisy, but then so are the planes flying in and out of Midway, the trains to the South, East and West, and my neighbor’s pool filter and the barking dogs, woof woof, and none of those things cool the premises or keep out mosquitos.  I bought my air conditioner last year when I had an ebay windfall, and that $150 or so was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  Air conditioners may also be found in malls and movie theaters, both of which I am far more likely to visit on unbearably hot days.

The solace of the Solstice is that from here on out I can begin to watch the days grow shorter and look forward to fall.  Also behind me are the labors of cleaning and preparing for my daughter’s birthday party, which directly follows her last week of school and directly precedes my spouse’s birthday and Father’s Day.  Now I have a few things to look forward to, not the least of which is a party at the Compound.  Thanks to school and work schedules, we haven’t seen the Bubs and Mizbubs and their lovely offspring in far too long.  I can’t wait to see the new landscaping and I need more chances to show off my neon green toenails in a setting that involves children, alcohol and pyrotechnics.  Just to clarify, the children do not consume the alcohol but I surely am looking forward to quaffing a cocktail or two.

We’ve also been trying to come up with ideas for an affordable family vacation, which leaves me caught in the middle between one person who is determined to go to back to the Dells and another who will go anywhere but.  We’ve been considering The House on the Rock, which I suppose would be more interesting if I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods first.  Truth be told if we can’t afford Seattle, my first choice would be to go back to the Kalahari Resort in the Dells, squeeze myself into an inner tube, and float down the lazy river with my neon green toenails all up in some poor sod’s kisser.  As much as the joint was overflowing with humanity on Labor Day weekend last year, it was conveniently located and self-contained, with a decent assortment of things to do including free activities for kids.

I fully understand and sympathize with my spouse’s desire not to vacation at Chuck E. Cheese, but the main benefit of a franchised vacation for families with children is that the prepackaged nature of the experience reduces the stress of uncertainty and minimizes juvenile complaining and resistance.  In short, the kind of vacation that interests me is the sort where I still have enough energy left to scrounge up a glass of wine and a swim after my daughter goes to bed without it being too much of a hassle.

Farther down the line, I have a couple of musical events to look forward to.  The first is a free Andrew Bird concert on September 3 at Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavillion at Millennium Park, which sounds like a fine time indeed.  I always take notice when Bird comes up on my shuffle, leading me to believe I should perhaps actually take the time to listen to his albums all the way through.  There aren’t too many artists who can make as good use of a violin, so to see him for free in such a lovely setting is a rare treat.

I also have a ticket to see Nick Cave at the Riviera in September.  This worked out very nicely, because the first show announced was for Monday the 29th.  That one sold out before I could get my ticket, but the Sunday show works out much better for me regardless.  I’ve wanted to see Nick Cave perform ever since I watched his stunning 2003 performance video, God is in the House.  The man knows how to work his persona, and he wears a suit onstage out of respect for the audience and the event.  It took me years to appreciate his music because the Birthday Party was too raucous for me, but the balladry phase provided a safe entry point and now I’m sold.

Other things I’m looking forward to are more uncertain, such as my next trip to Las Vegas and my next Rufus Wainwright show.  I am jonesing achingly for both, but for the moment I shall have to live on hope and faith alone.  Speaking of hope, I hope you are enjoying your summer thus far and that I can post here more often, now that the June school and birthday crunch is over.  Despite my usual complaints, I am taking time to smell the flowers and to walk as much as possible before it gets too hot to flipping move a muscle.  There are few things better than that first iced coffee in the morning, one small consolation for the unreasonable hour at which my daughter’s summer day camp schedule requires me to lurch out of bed and into the bright morning sun.

One final thing that i am looking forward to is the day when I can insert an image into my blog, because it seems WordPress has altered this function and now it is not working for me in either Firefox or Safari.  At first when nothing happened I assumed it was a Firefox 3 problem, but such was not the case.  At least now you know I tried to spruce things up around here, but it’s always something.

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