1. It is late July, and I am regularly reminded of my tendency toward summer doldrums. In summer, I am often found crashed upon the couch with little desire in my heart beyond another sip yet another cold beverage. The heat. The inevitably altered schedule when the boy is on vacation. The diet. The post-vacation comedown. The spinning of the earth around the sun. All of those things.
2. Thankfully, this summer’s slowdown seems to be more physical than mental. I’m tired and often lack focus, but am experiencing little misery and – surprisingly – little reading-related ennui. I am reading semi-fiendishly. Unless I squeak out another book this week, my July tally is 13. My 2014 total is over 90. It feels presumptuous to call the game so early in the year, but barring significant disaster 2014 will be my most impressive reading year to date.
3. I want to brag for a moment and tell you that I finished four of the seven books pictured in this stack. My summer reading list progress is less impressive – I finished Something Real, read one chapter of Brideshead Revisited, and am fifty pages into The Name of the Wind. If this is a proper calender-based list and I have until late September to complete my reading, then I am making good-ish progress I suppose. But when you are the product of twenty full years of schooling and you live with a teacher, it’s difficult to imagine Fall starting any other time than September 1. We will see.
4. Speaking of school year, I run our household budget on a September to September schedule. The family fiscal year, if you will. I’ve been putzing around with our Mint.com account and various Excel spreadsheets in preparation for FY15 and have gathered some baffling and exciting figures. First, I would like to brag about paying off two of the boy’s student loans during this fiscal year, including the dastardly TEN PERCENT INTEREST loan we’ve been chipping away at since 2010. Seriously. What kind of public school teacher ends up with an unforgiveable student loan with 10% interest? Oh, the injustice. We paid off a second loan last week, bringing our total FY14 student loan contribution to just under 14k – a cool 20% of our joint take-home income.
I would also like to take a moment to praise the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and the Income Based Repayment Plan, both of which are provided by the federal government to keep my own grad loans manageable, and without which I would not be able to exist in this city.
5. Would you like an recap of my beach vacation? It was very fun. Exceptionally fun. We stayed in an adorable little house on stilts with comfy couches, a big dining room table, three porches, a grill, and central air. It was about a four minute walk to the beach, but that’s including the time spent lugging a cart full of beach supplies up and down a small sand dune. I got to meet my sister’s new man, our adopted German sister-friend, hang out with my Grandparents, and generally laze about reading books, playing games, and eating snacks with my family. In other words, all of my earthly dreams came true for a short seven days.
6. I’m no longer at the beach, but summer lives on in Boston, Massachusetts. Days long, skies blue. White wine and cold cans of seltzer stuffed with lime wedges. My cat drapes herself upon the wood floors in dramatic positions assumed for the purpose of airing out her white tummy fuzz. It’s not all couch-laying and couch-moping. Yeah, I’m staying up too late and eating out too much. It’s also not snowing. Too much of my day to be seized, I’m afraid. Can’t let any of it slip.