Summer is officially here! Spring was practically nonexistent, making it seem like we went from March directly into June. I’ve been feeling a little behind like I lost a month or two. And God knows . So instead of feeling behind, busy, stressed and frazzled, I’m determined to slow down and soak up summer while I can. Summer’s here and I’ll be sporting my shades, enjoying the sounds, scents and the scenes of summertime.

When I think of summer, I think of cruisin’down the street with my windows down, jammin’to some Van Halen or DJ Jazzy Jeff. The warm breeze on my face and the smell of sunscreen, sweat and bug spray in the air. I think of families out for walks, kids riding their bikes while talking on their cellphones and people cutting grass. I think of wishing I knew someone who had a boat to take us out on the water and wanting to get invited to a barbecue since we don’t have a grill. Cleaning my Foreman grill is trouble enough for me. I don’t need to be scraping and scrubbing grill and grill accessories, too. I don’t actually want a boat or a grill. I just want to know someone who does. We’ll bring hot dog buns and potato salad. Ahhh, summer.

I loved summer as a kid. School was out and we could romp around and play outside all day long. My brother and I would play pickle in the street during the day and flashlight tag at night. My family would always take a vacation up north to Mackinaw and stay at the Chippewa Motor Lodge. I loved that place. On one of the trips, I must’ve been in seventh or eighth grade, because I remember really being into the Spin Doctors at the time. I think this was also my “artistic” period because I was not only cutting weird shapes in the lawn, but suntanning weird shapes on my skin. I applied a big globby spiral of sunscreen on my belly. Yep, I was that kid lying on the beach with a mullet, wearing headphones and a spiral on my belly. What a sight. Shortly after we got home, I had my annual physical. My doctor didn’t seem to find the humor in what I had done and gasped when I lifted up my shirt.

DS_2011_06_25b_editBut somehow over the years, I’ve become a little less enthusiastic about summer. I’m a total fall guy. I like wearing long sleeves and pants with socks and shoes. Summer means wearing shorts and sandals. I hate sandals and don’t like wearing shorts. I also hate it when it gets too hot. I like opening up the windows and getting a nice breeze. But as soon as the humidity starts to kick in, eh, I get really whiny. It was an awfully long winter, though, and I’m trying to embrace everything summer and not whine so easily.

I’m even challenging myself to wear shorts and sandals so I’m not the sweaty guy wearing jeans and a black T-shirt all summer long. Why would I not want to show off these pasty white chicken legs? I think I’m weird about it because my feet are abnormally white. I even tried sunning my feet, but they’re so white they reflect the sun. When I wear sandals, I’m paranoid that people are gawking at my feet. If not that, it’s probably because I walk funny while wearing them. I don’t like that “flip-flop” sound, so I try to walk in a way that prevents it. It never works.

DS_2011_06_25c_editBefore I leave the house, I have an internal debate. Do I debut my sandals today? Is it hot enough? Will I be the only one? Maybe I should wait for a hotter day. A day when people will be too delirious with the heat they won’t even notice the glare coming from my feet.

One thing I love doing in the summer, though, is porch sittin’. Not porch sitting, porch sittin’. Whether alone in the morning with a coffee, or at night with my wife or some friends pondering life over a brew, I love porch sittin’. I have a daytime porch sittin’buddy now. Ellie and I usually spend at least a little time on the porch each morning. I drink my coffee and she barks at the dogs, and the birds or anything else that moves. I just need to get her her own little rocking chair now.

Today is a special porch sittin’occasion. It is the , and we are having the family over to watch them from the front porch. Fireworks on the porch—now that’s summer.

It’s not a big deal or a big party. We usually just have some chips and a few beverages and chill back and watch. We always invite my neighbor Joe and he always comes out after the show ends and says, “Oh, I missed them already!?” Every year! You’d thinkhe’d hear the loud explosions from inside his house. But it works out because on our street the real show doesn’t start until the fireworks end. The part when everybody makes the mad dash to their cars to avoid the unavoidable traffic jam throughout the neighborhood. This is when my other neighbor Greg comes out. He lives for this part.

Instead of “oohing” and “ahing” over the fireworks, we “ooh” and “ah” when the cars almost clip someone’s side mirror off. “Oh man, did you see that? That was close!” Parking on both sides of the street, plus two-way traffic, plus a dead-end street, equals two hours of fun for us. Last year a car stalled and we had to push it off to the side. That was exciting.

Nothing says Happy Fourth of July like watching agitated people sit in a neighborhood traffic jam while you comfortably sit on your porch sipping coffee and eating Doritos. Summer’s here! Happy fireworks, Happy Fourth of July and Happy Porch Sittin’!DS_2011_06_25d_edit

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