Punch list

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I am off work next week and will be holidaying right here in the Pays de Bama. You read the last entry, right? So you understand that it is swim season. The swimmer and I got a little tribal in CVS yesterday and we bought various shades of green nail polish for game day and some for her swim team Big Sister. We will need a steady supply of green candy and gift items for swim season. This will give me a clearer sense of purpose next time I find myself faffing about in Target.

That and my punch list for the week. I will not be just hangin’ poolside. I have work to do.

1. Assemble trampoline. You think you will only have to build a trampoline once, but we moved house this winter and the damn thing is lying out in the enclosed yard we never use — a giant dismantled beast of aluminum bones, a taut plastic hide and big springs that dance to the 2, 4, 8, 10 sequence or whatever exact order you need to attach them to ensure proper tension.

2. Find auto glass repair place. Little tiny pock mark in windscreen. How??

3. Dismantle very tall skinny bookcase standing in garage exactly where movers left it and either reassemble it somewhere or stack pieces. These are the nicer shelves from Habitat so feel they deserve better than current placement. And I need to be able to park.

4. Clear weeds where thicket of tomatoes are outgrowing pots.

5. Take swimmer to practice, take eldest to summer classes, drive, drive, drive.

6. Photograph the local Waffle House at twilight. Why this week? Because I find it tragic and anachronistic and especially poignant at dusk when the sky is the color of blueberries punctuated by red taillights and its bright yellow 60s signage shines out for whom exactly? Who goes to Waffle House at night? Who goes to this Waffle House ever? With so many options — boneless wings, applewood smoked bacon burgers and steak fonduta — has the humble grilled cheese sandwich been forgotten? Do people still appreciate cheese grits or scattered & smothered hash browns? One of these days it will become an Olive Garden and I will need something to remember it by.

How much is the time that we have to relax the result of careful planning? How much do we defeat the purpose of free time with the desire to structure and assign meaning? To what extent does planning give form and meaning to free time? If structured activities allow us to relax then rather than just maintain the cycle of activity and inactivity, work and weekend/yard work, what must we do to develop and grow?

I think I had this cracked in high school/early college. I had a range of summer jobs and internships and then long expanses of beach time during which I worked my way through my friend’s summer reading list — my more progressive school never had them; together we read The Yellow Wallpaper and The Old Man and the Sea; for years we could crack each other up with the line about going 80 days without taking a fish — or my own: Kurt Vonnegut, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John O’Hara, Grace Paley and stacks of books from the library in the Village Hall. While the boys tended to their wooden life guard chair we cracked open diet sodas and read or I drew in my journal and noted the funny things parents said to their kids or that the kids said to each other. The boys went from break to shift and we went from sleep to beach to job to dock.

These are things to consider and transcend as I drive around town and punch my way through the list.

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