Summer Samba

It took me a while to come to terms with the realization that generally, I don’t enjoy summer. The cultural framing is “yay! no school! beach! cookouts! fun fun fun!” Yeah, OK, but ‘no school’ doesn’t apply to a 9-5 working man, I don’t like being in the sun, we’re not allowed to barbecue in the shared central garden, and… well, of course there is fun to be had if you look for it, and I do like the ability to get dressed in about 30 seconds with just 3 pieces of clothing. But the heat and humidity just lays me out, I hate it. Good thing that the major apartment-organization stuff is done, because every time I roam around the apartment thinking, ‘oh, maybe I can tackle the shelves in the maid’s room today’ or ‘let’s condense the cabinets in the butler’s pantry so all those ceramic dishes annoying me from the dining room table where they’re not supposed to be, but there’s nowhere to put them yet’, bottom line is, ‘no, ick, it’s too hot and humid’.

(actually at this very moment, it’s nice and pleasant. and I’m enjoying that)

We (well, I now) have portable air conditioners that spend the summer in the bedroom and office, and a big honking always-installed window unit in the dining room that cools the bulk of the front half of the apartment, but usually only gets used for parties and such. (it was a godsend for our wedding week) So yes, I can make it tolerable. My years of working for the EPA trained me to not put on air conditioning until I need it, so I’ve had more than one night of tossing and turning until 3:00 with just the ceiling fan up on high, then saying fuck it and turning on the AC for the rest of the night.

This is just whining, I know. Bitch bitch moan. But it’s hard to get motivated to move and exercise and get stuff accomplished when you feel poached. And I feel fat and logy. Bleah. But summer is finite. AS ARE WE ALL. (whoa, dark turn there)

Last weekend, I got out of town for the first time since… the thing. I went down to Susan’s South Jersey house. She is really close to being done there, there wasn’t a lot to help her with, this was mostly about both of us spending time together and away from our individual ‘estate’ projects. We had a great time! I went down on Friday afternoon via train, and we went to a farm fair. It was ‘hot as balls’ (her words), but we saw cows and pigs and various booths and I had an ear of corn to snack on and she had a root beer float and I had a milkshake later and it was really fun. Back to the house, then out to dinner. We ended up in Mt. Holly at a restaurant she hadn’t tried before, had big-ass sandwiches with fries. Then out for ice cream, delightful.

Saturday we ran ‘errands’ which were mostly fun. To a farmer’s market, where we had iced coffee and vegan apple bread (and later, some breakfast empanadas) and explored more booths of stuff. Then to a shopping mall and a JoAnn’s. (I’d forgotten to bring knitting, so bought some needles and yarn to make coasters.) Also did a little poking around to find nice pens for journaling and looked at journals too, except I realized I had about ten blank journals at home. I also raided the tchotchke shelves at TJ Maxx and bought a nice coffee mug that says “Queen”.

Then off to the shops at Rancocas Woods. They were having a craft fair, which we looked at, though didn’t get anything except some giant lemonades (very hot). Looked in various antique shops. Got tacos at the Mexican place. Finally looked at the secondhand book shop at the end of the row, which turned out to be a treasure trove. I bought the hardback combined version of Ian Bradley’s Annotated Gilbert & Sullivan. (I’ve had the two-volume paperbacks for forever, and have actually met Dr. Bradley at the Festival.) And the Kubler-Ross book on death and dying (that’s cheery) and a big gorgeous coffee-table book of pictures of barns, only about 8 bucks, a bargain.

Back to the house again, then out for dinner at the Riverview in Burlington, very pleasant. And I also introduced Susan to RuPaul’s Drag Race, she got a big kick out of it. It’s certainly been doing some heavy lifting keeping me sane and not-too-down over the last few weeks.

Sunday, we didn’t do much of anything – I worked on planning my Cape Cod trip and did some knitting while Susan did house stuff and closed it up in prep for coming up to NYC for a while. And we drove home. Really great to get away.

Yeah, Cap Cod trip! A week in September, including my birthday. Have made quite a bit of progress on that. I knew that I wanted to end up in Provincetown, that I wanted to see both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and on the mainland, explore the bike trails. I’d vaguely thought I’d rent a car and then ferry over to MV and Nantucket – turns out they really don’t want you to do that. Ferrying a car to Nantucket is like $400. So then I thought, ok, I’ll start in Nantucket (without a car), then go to MV, then get a car when I go to the mainland. And then it turns out that I couldn’t get a place to stay in Nantucket (mostly, I think, because they want you to rent for several nights, not just one). So I’ll be flying to MV to start, using Oak Bluffs as a base of operations for a few days, and doing a day trip to Nantucket. Then ferrying to Falmouth and picking up a car.

As far as the biking, I think I can stay somewhere central (Dennis, perhaps) and pick off most of the bike trails and sightseeing I want to do from there. For the rail trail, which is 25 miles long, I’ll do the lower half of it from Dennis, then spend a night in Wellfleet and do the upper half of the trail from there. And then go to Ptown. (am consulting with good friend Martin, who just got back from Bear Week, for Ptown advice before booking my lodging and finishing up these plans) I’m excited!

In other news, I’ve been touching base with friends and loved ones. My dad had to put down his aging boy kitty, a shame – but then went and got a new kitty almost immediately. I’m delighted. My brother bought a teardrop camper, camping seems to be his thing right now. I’ll be seeing my brother-in-law’s family in a couple of weekends, and my friends in Rhinebeck at the end of August.

Some logjams have broken on the estate stuff. C’s organization had been sitting on their part of the life insurance, despite my repeated phone calls. Meanwhile, C’s gay bestie from work sent me an email just to touch base, very sweet. I told him what was going on with HR, and he gave me some good advice. The next day, HR reached out to me – awesome – so I assumed he’d put a flea in someone’s ear. No, turns out he’d said nothing, they just finally got their act together. So let’s see how that shakes out.

My job is getting busier, which is fine, and I’ll definitely be hitting the ground running come fall. I already know I’ll be back playing with my orchestra (so will have to get the horn out a couple of weeks before rehearsals start to get the chops back). And I’m putting my name in for two different shows – if I get either or both of them, I’ll have to start prep right away. Luckily, one of them is a show I’ve conducted before, and the other is a show I know like the back of my hand. We shall see what happens there.

I feel guilty feeling good about stuff, you know? But I feel like I’d been stalled and stuck, and now I have forward motion and even momentum. And that feels good.

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