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This is the column every year that’s hardest to write. It’s not hard to write for any emotional reason but rather a real practical one. There’s just absolutely nothing happening here in mid-July. I will say, there is a week post-spring break sometime in April that’s also “content difficult” as there’s only so much I can write about youth baseball without feeling guilty that I’m torturing the readers. But this slow mid-summer week always takes the cake.
This year’s particular mid-July column content is especially elusive as we’re all living through a severe heatwave and have been forced indoors. And it’s not just the heat that forces one indoors. That wild lightning and thunderstorm on Saturday almost took out the whole town at once, and the very next day a copperhead struck at me and my husband while we were walking down the sidewalk on Markette Street! The natural world does not want us humans outside right now, and it is willing to murder us via electricity, baking or poison to get the point across.
Making my particular week indoors especially trying was the fact that I’ve been stuck inside with a teenage boy who is on phone restriction for doing the things that get teenage boys on phone restriction. I honestly had more time to work undisturbed when he was a newborn because newborns can’t incessantly ask things like, “Mama, can I take the car and go drive around?”
I am willing to bet that a roomful of hungry, nap-deprived toddlers is less needy than a teenager without access to their phone. He also wasn’t allowed tv, games or friends. He was stuck with his family, his room full of books he never touched and his dog.
I learned this week that my teenager is very “project oriented.” The projects are just entirely unplanned, coming to mind in a whimsical manner at any given moment’s notice and with none of the tools at hand for the fulfillment of said project.
My restricted teenager cooked numerous quesadillas, he cleaned out and washed my car…twice, he mowed and edged the lawn (his youth making it possible for him to exist safely outdoors,) he talked a lot, he made a Cinnamon Toast Crunch cake, he ate a Cinnamon Toast Crunch cake, he cooked Hamburger Helper, he burned more than one pizza on separate occasions, he insisted I listen to numerous rap songs at alarming decibel levels, he shot BB’s at our trashcan raccoon, he consistently took out the trash like it was his job (which it is), he made a point to personally insult his little brother several times an hour, he watched the Westminster Dog Show because that’s what I was watching, he shot a hundred dollars’ worth of fireworks and caught numerous fish. And he did all this with a casted-up and broken hand. I’m not sure he put on a shirt all week.
Yet he still claimed to be bored. How?! He probably had a more active week than any of us!
I imagine that everyone could stand a week of self-inflicted phone restriction. We could all do a lot worse than getting of the internet to spend a summer week making cereal-themed cake and BB-shooting trashcan raccoons.