THE GREATEST SUMMER OF OUR LIVES!!

 I wish I had taken a better selfie that encapsulates the great summer we had than this one of me enjoying a delicious S'More...but here we are.

I wish I had taken a better selfie that encapsulates the great summer we had than this one of me enjoying a delicious S'More...but here we are.

(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 36)

I think it's important to start off here by telling you we are not a very adventurous family.

So this post, though it may sound braggy, is not that at all.

It's just so out of the norm from what we have done with the past few summers that it is worth writing about.

And now, a full week and a half into the autumn routine, seems like a good time to write about it.

We had fun, and I'm proud of what we did, because we had a genuinely great summer.

Some might say it was THE GREATEST SUMMER OF OUR LIVES!

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I had some good summers when I was a kid. We did a Cape Cod trip, we did a Lake George trip...those are a couple that I remember. We spent a bunch of summers in Montauk...but the big family trips weren't summer-exclusive: We did Disney twice, once in the winter and once in the spring, I think.

As far as summers that Kathy and I have had it's been the same - we've done most of our big traveling over spring break or maybe here and there in the summer - a 2010 half-week in Seattle together in July was a good one. (Notable because that was a post-kids/but-not-with-the-kids trip.)

But since we've had three kids? (That's since 2011, if you're counting at home...) We haven't done much in the summer in terms of vacation.

But this year was different. I've already told you, in a very clever alphabetical post, about our trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my friends in celebration of our 40th birthdays. I mentioned that was the week we kind of built our summer around because it was in the planning works for a long time. That was in mid-July. (And upon returning, Kathy and I realized that since we moved to our home in Framingham it was the longest stretch of time we had been away from that home.)

When I think about our summer I go back to Memorial Day, the 'unofficial start of summer.' That weekend we attended a wedding - one of Kathy's cousins got married. Then, in late August, another of her cousins got married. They were both such joyous occasions and provided perfect bookends to our summer...

...except for the fact that our week in Chicago came after that second wedding. Kathy and I had both separately been to Chicago in the past couple of years, and when she had some work there we figured we would take the kids and see how it went. She had the great idea to take an Amtrak to Milwaukee for a Brewers game, and we went to Wrigley Field as a family too. I had one full day with the kids while she was working and we spent most of it at Millennium Park and that was a great way to spend a morning. We ate way too much food while we were in Chicago and it was also the girls' first flight - they loved the plane, they loved the train - so that bodes well for future travel. (Possibly to many more ballparks, because they liked visiting the ballparks too.)

Speaking of ballparks, I never really told you about my birthday. Kathy got a group of 30 friends and family together and we sat in center field at the Mets game and it was perfect. (Brandon Nimmo even threw a baseball into our crowd and my oldest daughter got it. Actually, a few members of our party took home baseballs from Nimmo and other players in the bullpen.) I had such a great birthday even though that morning when I was shaving I said to myself, "Today would be a bad day to cut yourself shaving," and then I cut myself shaving so bad that I still have the scar. So what did I get for my birthday? A wonderful day at the ballgame and a permanent scar on my face. (Oh, my favorite quote from my birthday is this: The Mets lost to the Rays, 3-0. I didn't mind because it was such a fun day. But I was saying how perfect everything was, and the only thing that would have made the day better was if I had taken a picture with Mr. Met. A friend of mine said, "Well, the Mets could have also maybe scored a run." He wasn't wrong. But the way the season has gone, my expectations of the team were low.)

Of course, the end of July was Framingham Comedy Weekend, which was definitely a highlight. (You can read about that here in this less clever, non-alphabetical post.) I also mentioned the day we spent at the batting cages and driving range - that was a fun day not just because I remembered how much I enjoy golf, but the girls really enjoyed hitting some golf balls as well.

Even when things went wrong this summer they turned out OK. We planned on stopping in Baltimore for two nights on the way back from North Carolina - we were going to watch the Red Sox play the Orioles. Turned out the weather was threatening, so we cut that trip short...which worked out great because that's when I found out we needed to change comedy venues and I had to get back home. (And it turned out the Red Sox-Orioles game we were going to go to was, in fact, delayed a bit by weather.)

We did stop at Mount Vernon between North Carolina and Baltimore, and that was a neat historical trip - there's something amazing about seeing George Washington's final resting place - and that's something we've always thought about doing but never did until now.

It was just that kind of summer - the idea of "Let's do it" instead of "Maybe we'll do that another time."

The only bad thing about the whole summer experience is we're going to have to temper the girls' expectations for future summers...because every summer can't be THE GREATEST SUMMER OF OUR LIVES. Can it?

Writing

*There's nothing real glamorous happening in the writing department. I did OK with working this summer, but I'm back to the regular school-year work routine, and that's a good thing.

Comedy

*I took August off from comedy - the end of July and the Comedy Weekend was pretty intense and I don't regret taking some time for myself. But when the calendar turned to September I got back to it. I've done a couple of open mics, I got out to check out the new Comedy Studio, and I performed on Wednesday night to shake off the rust. And I was rusty. For the first time in a long while I tripped up my words on stage - meaning, I FORGOT the words. To my own joke. That I wrote. I can't explain it - even when I've been out of practice before this hasn't happened. But I drew a blank and then tried a couple of words to get me going and they didn't really work in terms of jogging my memory. I struggled through and eventually got the train back on the tracks but yikes. It was not pretty. But at least that's out of the way. This week I'll not trip over my words (hopefully) in New Hampshire on Wednesday night. Dates and times are at the 'Comedy Shows' link above.

What I Recommend

*In case you missed it - my brother released a couple of new songs this week. I like everything he does, so I know I'm biased. But maybe you'll be convinced reading someone else's super-kind words about Matt and his music. If you didn't already do the Spotify thing when I posted about the music on Thursday, here's the link to the new music on Spotify. And you can always keep tabs on what Matt has going on - show dates, more new music later this fall - by checking out his website: www.mattsucich.com

Notes

*I mentioned the new Comedy Studio above - it's in Bow Market in Somerville now and it looked cool when I saw it last week before it was open. It's open now, with a grand opening towards the end of the month. I'll be performing there a few times over the next few months, and I'm hoping to hang out there much more between now and those dates...so maybe I'll see you there.

*It's football season. I still get excited about it. We'll see how long that lasts. The Jets are Monday night, and it's a 7pm start, which is right in my "I can stay up for the whole game" wheelhouse.

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*Next week I'll be going to the Mets-Red Sox games at Fenway Park on Saturday and Sunday. At the beginning of the year I had high hopes for these Mets games in mid-September...they have turned out to be meaningless. (Though things have certainly worked out OK for Boston this year.) Anyway, I'm still looking forward to the games: Can't beat a couple of afternoons at Fenway with my dad (Saturday) and my wife (Sunday).

*Here's another summer loose end: Have you ever heard of Duck Donuts? It's a fresh donut place - I think it started in Duck, North Carolina, but I don't know enough about the geography to know if that's why. Anyway, you place your order, they bake and top the donuts on the spot there, and they were the best donuts I've ever had in my life. We had them the day we left North Carolina and I thought about them for the entire drive.

*Speaking of geography...I can look at maps until I'm blue in the face, but I'm really a much more experiential geographer. Meaning, I fully understand where one place is in relation to another by experiencing it. That was the case with Milwaukee and Chicago. It was really neat taking a train 90 minutes pretty much due north from Chicago to get to Milwaukee. Now I know how that goes.

*One more guest post for you next week - a new voice to the Sunday Paper from the writing world that I'm very excited to be able to share with you. After that, I have no plan. You'll definitely be hearing from me again at the end of September and we'll see what happens beyond that.

*Like on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, you know, the usual. Thanks for the support.