Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gratituesday: The Summer List

Pretty much every summer that I can remember, my parents have sat in the backyard and put together their Summer List.  It's a generally unattainable list of everything that needs to get done during the summer.  The List is usually double-columned and takes up every line of a legal pad.  It has included such gems like "re-do bathroom: pick out tiles, gut bathroom, install new bathroom,"* "build deck," "clean out garage - again.  rent dumpster," "fix hot tub - again," and "plant vegetable garden and flowers."  It also usually includes the more fun parts of summer, like our annual 4th of July Barbecue and swimming in the pool, but gives them a decidedly work-a-day twist: "set up tent on deck with lights. clean grill and deck furniture. invite friends" and "buy chlorine. open pool."

I'm making this sound incredibly boring, but actually, it's quite nice to sit with them in the morning before it gets hot, drinking coffee and planning out the next few months.  My father retired a few years ago, and generally has a running list of things he'd like to accomplish, but he doesn't keep a "honey-do" list or anything, and the Summer List is a bit like my mother's holiday shopping list - we don't keep it around after the season ends, even if not everything is crossed off, but it acts as a guide while it's here, and it has created an indelible memory in my mind.

My general idea of a Summer List is a little different.  My list isn't usually written down, and it generally looks more like: "wear hats and capris - lots of white" and "use the canoe" and "light sparklers" and "go to the beach - a lot."  Despite my very real hate for the hot weather, I really enjoy the season, and most summer memories have a hazy outline that makes them look like a hipster wedding photograph.  In a good way.

But this year, I decided to take a page from my parents' book, and try to be a little productive.  The hats and canoes (or surfboards, as it were, now that I live on an island) are all still my hopes and dreams for the summer, but I'm also going to try to get some concrete missions going too.  My Summer List is a lot shorter than theirs, and the most important parts of it aren't to improve the apartment, but more to take control of my career and money and to get a head start on the fall.  I'd like to accomplish all of it, but if there's one thing I'd like to inherit from my parents, it's their ability to take things in stride.  I don't know if they've ever once finished their whole Summer List, and I don't think they really care.  So, in addition to doing everything on my List, I'd also like to be a little calm if it doesn't all get done.

What are you guys hoping to do this summer?  Any big plans?

And, if anyone thinks they could help or offer any advice, I'd be so glad for it!

*That's on this year's list for them, to accomplish by July 4th.  They're ambitious people.  And as you can tell, since I'm not there, I actually have no idea what's on B-level bullet points.  I've never re-done a bathroom.  I can hardly paint our bedroom without having a breakdown.  Let's be real here.


  1. I like the idea of a summer list. Yours seems doable. No advice, just cheerleading you on.

    1. Thanks for the cheerleading! Sometimes that's just as helpful. I think I'll be able to get through it. We'll see!