Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Summer Break Blues
Jennifer Flaten

Welcome to the 12th annual Summer Games, similar to the “Hunger Games,” but instead of battling strangers to the death, the kids battle each other for the right to play Xbox first. Yes, the summer vacation freight train is rolling into the station.


A break from school is good.

There are many pros to summer vacation; sitting by the pool, not spending my entire day driving in what seems like an endless circle of home, school, store, home and my absolute favorite not getting up early.

Of course, by not getting up early I mean staying in bed for one extra hour. One extra hour is all the cats will let me have. Notice I said cats, not kids. The kids, especially the girls have discovered the joys of sleeping in, but not the cats.

You know what the cats like. They like their breakfast in their bowl by 6 am. If it isn’t they will use any and all ways, necessary, to get me out of bed and in the kitchen to dole out the food. Their tactics include but are not limited to jumping on me, marching around the bedroom meowing as if they are dying and my favorite cat acupuncture.

Oh, you’ve never heard of cat acupuncture, well it is a very ancient form of acupuncture where the cat presses his paw on his human in just the right spot. This causes the human to bolt out of bed screaming, “Okay, okay I will feed you.”


The cons of no school are many.

Well, there’s no school. If there is no school, there is no quiet. I like the quiet, a great deal.

The kids are loud, when there’s no school, even when they are trying to be quiet they are loud. Imagine then when they are screeching at each other. Somehow, through magic or something, three kids sound like thirty or three hundred.

Although, their loudness does have some benefits, it acts like a locating mechanism and it is also is an early warning device. As in, if the noise level decreases I better go check and see what they are doing, because it can’t be good.

Plus, in the summer, the amount of food the kids eat triples. The increased appetite is from all that running around outside and shouting. The same kid that turn his nose up at a peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwich in his brown bag lunch, will now inhale three of them for breakfast.

Why a PB&J sandwich for breakfast you ask? Simple I ran out of cereal because apparently one of the other kids ate the entire box. Well, the entire contents of the cereal box, but not the box, itself.

I am not sure if it was worse when the kids were too little to get their own meals and snacks or now when they get their own. When I did it, I felt like it was always feeding time at the zoo. I would finish cleaning up from breakfast and it would be snack time. After snack comes lunch and so forth.

Now the kids make their own meals, snacks and lunch, but somehow I am still stuck with clean up. Yes, they put the stuff away but they leave crumbs, napkins and random crap out on the counters. In addition, the stickiness, don’t even get me started on the sticky trail they leave. Are they secreting it? Who knows?

You know, what I really liked about when they were little: naptime. I enjoyed naptime more than you can imagine. Probably more than an adult should, but still I loved it. Everyone was quiet. Everyone, including the cats was sleeping. Heaven before, well, you know, I am sure.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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