Here's the Scoop: July 31, 2013

Getting a jump
It was inevitable. Once the early July heat wave broke, things have cooled off considerably. Air conditioner sales have chilled. Folks are again out “doing things.”
Suddenly, temperatures are struggling to escape the 70s during the daytime and are downright cool at night.
“You know, I hate to say it,” my wife commented, “but it feels like fall.”
“No, I don’t feel like going to the mall,” I responded immediately.
She began to repeat her statement, but quickly realized I was using a defense mechanism to ward off her comment.
July, after all, is my favorite month. It’s my birthday month. There are lots of fireworks — fireflies, too. And, no matter what, the month is smack in the middle of summer — safely buffered from spring and fall. These seasons cannot threaten in July.

Buying some time
But, here we were in the midst of series of fall-like days. I thought I had until Thursday to start worrying about such things.
Now, my wife’s innocent comment (even though she apologized for it several times) had set my mind spinning. I mentally listed all of the things I haven’t done this summer:
• I have ridden my bike only a handful of times, although that was a conscious effort due to higher priorities on the gardening front.
• Firewood cutting has been less than minimal, despite my pledge to get ahead of the game (for once) with that task. With an ample pile of wood remaining from last year, I was sure this would the year that I got a long-lasting lead in this game. Or not.

Life of non-leisure
As disturbing as those first two points are to me, gazing out the window and seeing the empty hammock really starting gnawing at my gut. I think I stretched out in the hammock one time this season. Maybe. Or, perhaps I merely just took a relaxing glance at that ultimate resting spot when I was mowing around around this piece of lawn furniture.
Sure, I stopped to smell the roses (again, while mowing) a few times during the summer, but failing to lazily hang out in the hammock for long periods is, in my book, a failure in the relaxation department. Making matters worse is that I used to be so good at relaxing. It was practically an art form for me.
Ironically, the idea that I have not taken much time to relax this summer really started to stress me out! Mulling this problem made the issue worse. I had to figure out a way to do less and lie around more. I started tossing and turning during sleepless nights trying to develop a “relaxation plan.” Not getting enough sleep during designated periods was exhausting. But, the “chores” on my to-do list are ample. The opportunities for hammock time continue to dwindle.
Well, I still have a solid month of summer ahead and I’m vowing to take a few naps in the hammock, Summer Shandy (see Baseball Network for commercials) by my side and a light breeze keeping me cool (if it ever gets warm again). As long as I place the pillow facing away from the smallish firewood pile, it should be easy.
— Brian Sweeney