mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Another wasted summer..

(note - post title is from an obscure Mighty Mighty Bosstones album cut).

So every summer, as certain as warmer, longer days and women in shorter shorts and halter tops, is the emergence of ants in my kitchen. I'm not sure where they come from, but they come in moving lines, with their eyes on my Lucky Charms and whatever else they can grab with their little black arms. This year was different, though - at the first sign of ant invasion, I Swiffered the shit out of my kitchen floor and loaded every cat-inaccessible crevice with Tarro ant bait, a mix of sweet corn syrup and deadly, deadly borax. That kept the ants at bay - at least until today. Which is ironic, since today is Labor Day, traditionally viewed as the end of the summer season. Especially by people like me, who work in higher ed and tend to mark time by semester rather than month or year - this was the weekend that 3800 or so college students descend on our campus, looking to fill their heads with knowledge and their stomaches with popular-priced domestic beer.

Every summer starts off optimistically - when you work on a college campus, it's an easier time, where you don't have to fight for parking spots with the mix of expensive SUV's and battered subcompacts driven by students. As someone who isn't a big fan of cold, it's a time I don't have to worry about chapped skin, or scraping ice off my windshield, or putting on layers of fleece before leaving the gym.

And because of the warm, sunny optimism that warm, sunny days inspire, I always have high hopes for the summer. Every summer I start with big dreams - I'm going to find love, lose weight, build muscle, make piles of money in my side business on ebay and at flea markets, tackle a stack of home improvement project, help out the parents, take a vacation, advance my career, write the great novel, and achieve world peace.

And every summer ends with disappointment, and not just because I haven't cranked out the next Great Gatsby. I didn't spend a whole lot of time with the family. I didn't get rich selling on eBay - I had a few awesome finds, but also a few major losses from poor decisions and a lot of times I came back empty handed from auctions or yard sales - or with mostly full truck bed after not selling as much as i hoped at an electronics swap meet. I could not bring myself to invest the time or money in taking a vacation, or into fencing my yard or the other things I hoped to do. I pretty much look and weigh the same as I did 4 months ago, and I still go to bed alone every night wondering if there is someone out there for me.

Part of this is that I set my expectations too high - there is no way I can do all the things I want to do in a summer, especially when many of those things conflict with each other - I can't save money, spend it on a vacation, and spend it on home improvements. I can't advance my career if I'm on vacation or taking days off to go on inventory buying trips for the side biz.

When it comes to what things get done, I think part of it relates to what Tyler Cowan has saidabout how errands are often what we get done on our to do list. From a daily household management perspective, I'm not sure it's as bad as he makes it seem - often we do need to do errands, and often we accomplish them because they have hard deadlines we need to meet- if I want to buy something at Target, I need to do it before they close at 10pm. If I want to get in a 2 hour workout at the gym on a summer Saturday, I need to get there by 1:45 so I'm done with enough time to change into a dry shirt before they lock the doors at 4pm. So going to the gym is something I kept up with pretty well (even if I got there later than I would have liked a lot of days) , but doing the things that don't have hard deadlines - cleaning the basement or calling a fencing contractor - get put off indefinitely, because there is no time limit when they need to be done.

And some of the things I tend to associate with summer are for no real reason, or for a desire for things I have no control of to fit my schedule. I'm always more optimistic about dating in the summer - maybe because every women looks better in a sundress, or maybe because I'm convinced I look better when I'm not wearing a bubblegoose. In reality, dating sites typically have fewer members in the summer and more in the cold days around that of St. Valentine (or as I like to think of it, single awareness week). It's easier for me to duck out for a few hours to go to an auction in the summer, when work is slower, and parking easier - but it's typically bankruptcy court judges, not the weather, that determines when many of the auctions I attend are scheduled.

And in reality, it wasn't a totally wasted summer - I've got more money in the bank than I did in May, some of my work projects have gone well, I've had a couple decent day trips, eaten a lot of ice cream, and still fit into my pants. And I may not have become an internet Romeo or champion marathoner, but at least I kept the ants out of my cereal.

And I'm also realizing I probably need to stop putting summer on a pedestal, to realize that there are more positives to fall and winter than the temporary reappearance of pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas at Starbucks, and that there may be opportunities for love and profit even when it's cold out.

There just won't be parking spaces at work. Or ants in my kitchen.


At 11:14 PM, Blogger tralatrala said...

Peppermint mocha's are not a temporary thing my friend. You can get them year round at most Starbucks including the one on campus. This bit of info made my lifetime...


Post a Comment

<< Home