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As I sit down to type, summer is within days of completion, which has no bearing on me personally. The weather forecast is decidedly summer-like, and school has already started, the start of fall is merely a footnote on a calendar or the answer to a trivia question. I was planning on writing a reflective post of my summer, fall provided me with a nice introduction.
Let’s check the rear view mirror.
This past summer was devoid of the hallmarks of the season, but it was my best yet. I didn’t swim in the ocean, or hike in the mountains. There were no parties hosted at my residence, and I didn’t sleep under the stars, I barely even looked at them, unless you count the eclipse.
The streets around my house were repaved, allowing for hours of excitement for my 2-year-old, as dump trucks and steam rollers beeped repeatedly. After they finished we were left with smooth roads and the sweet smell of burnt tar tickling our nostrils as we tried to sleep each night. A branch fell on my house, damaging the roof and costing me over $4,500 to have the remainder safety cut down and removed ($5,500 for sawdust?). My back yard went from a shady oasis, to a sun backed oven; most of my grass died (Mow your own grass).
My central air conditioner is terribly inefficient, costing a fortune to operate; I refuse to use it. My wife was pregnant through all of June and July, it was hot. Not good!
I had to replace a heating unit, repair leaky toilets, and complete minor electrical work at my rental properties (Leaky Toilets and Noise complaints, Why I invest in Real Estate). Necessary repairs have a way of forcing one to learn new skills, I added several to my repertoire.
And yet this summer was my best yet. On August 3rd, my wife gave birth to a healthy baby, which seals the deal all on its own. But I once didn’t have kids either, so I realize this could be hard for some to understand. Why would anyone be excited to bring home something that interrupts sleep, projectile vomits semi-regularly, and poops as if frequency is the main goal? Babies are the best, and they grow to be even better. In addition to being healthy, the baby is also a boy, matching the gender of my first son exactly. I don’t understand why more parents don’t keep their kids to the same gender, simply recycling clothing will save a small fortune, not to mention numerous headaches on my part, as I now have many of his outfits memorized. (Dressing your kids, Thoughts from a color-blind Dad)
Amazingly, this past summer was great even before the baby arrived. My other son and I went to the pool frequently, opening a summer pastime to me that I hadn’t enjoyed since childhood. Community pools are off limits to single adult males, even as a father I was regarded with suspicion whenever my wife wasn’t along. I had invaded some type of female / child sanctum, I would need to work to gain acceptance. Luckily, my son showed no fear of the water and was quickly jumping off the side, holding his breath, and swimming short distances. His little smile broke them, and I became part of the flock.
In the past, a productive summer day was one in which I managed to exercise, and complete one other thing, any other thing really. At the age of 35, I finally developed some time management skills and had a productive summer. I painted and prepped the former guest bedroom, turning it into my older son’s new room. I built a brick patio which for the previous 11 months had been an excavated hole, a brick pile, and a figment of my imagination. I refinished a dresser, and organized the garage, again (Would you share with me?). I cleaned more messes then I created, receiving my first ever positive HAR (husband against replacement) score.
I didn’t earn any side income, but I did enjoy lots of time with my family. As a teacher, I already have the summer off, and with the baby on the way, my wife decided not to work starting in July, allowing us lots of time together both before and after the baby came. It was a great little peak into the future as our financial preparations are allowing her to take off work from July through Nov (she works part time and has no benefits, maternity or otherwise). Our savings not only have allowed her this time to be home with the baby (her choice), but they also allowed us to withstand some of the major expenses that occurred without losing any sleep, and turned what could have been a rocky summer, into the best one yet!