Im not sure I get the advantages of a summerless summer
As this is being written, I'm about to embark on another summer vacation. This year's nonworking itinerary will consist of equal parts camping at Diamond Lake, play watching in Ashland and doing chores at home.
All of these things are better when it's nice out - which it hasn't been all that much so far this spring and summer.
Oh, sure, we've had two or three days of relatively sunshiney weather at a time, but in between those have been five to eight days of rainy, cloudy or just plain cold weather.
In fact, according to a story in last week's big fat Portland daily, we just came through 'the second-wettest spring in 117 years' - only to enter a summer that has produced a meager seven days of 80 degrees or better. None of those days, by the way, reached 90.
But what has me concerned is that all of this comes exactly one year after last year.
Remember last summer? The summer when nobody could grow tomatoes? When moss was rampant even in places that had no business growing moss?
Last year everything was two weeks behind, thanks to the crappy spring of 2010.
And this year is appearing (in this reporter's opinion) to be very similar.
I'm already ready for this vacation to be terrible.
Full disclosure time: We did have a week's vacation back in June, but that one turned out to be full of illness and surgery (see earlier dispatch on hospital stays), so it doesn't really count.
Actually, being unimaginative yet disciplined (not unlike ants), the other person who lives at our house and I tend to go to Diamond Lake and Ashland pretty much every year because we find it (A) relaxing and then (B) mentally stimulating.
But last summer at Diamond Lake was not relaxing and not mentally stimulating. I don't want to overstate this, but it was almost horrible.
It rained on us several days, and the mosquitoes (the size and disposition of angry flying Chihuahuas) were ferocious. We had friends with us, and they very much believe it was awful.
Because I was the one (in that group, anyway) least affected by mosquitoes, I spent a good deal of my time outside the screen tent - where we tended to huddle in a pathetic bunch to escape the drizzle and the buzzing little vampire bugs - fetching snacks and making drinks.
Two of the ladies in our party require Maker's Mark Manhattans in that special hour after the sun has gone over the yardarm. My friend Kevin and I are martini men. And that, I'll have you know, translates to a fair amount of time spent mixing, concocting, shaking and depositing the final touches (cherries and olives) in frosty, long-stemmed glasses.
It's almost like work.
But the cocktail hour is one of the reasons, after all, that we think Diamond Lake is so stinking beautiful - because we can sit there gazing to the west toward Mount Bailey across the broad expanse of lake water - and get downright philosophical about the beauty of our state in the summertime.
Until, that is, the mosquito buzz reaches the volume of one of those leaf blowers whining next door.
This year, the OPWLAOH and I will be alone at the lake and the plays.
And that's OK. We do like each other's company, and it gives us more time to read and be lazy (most of our friends are much more ambitious and always want to spend a lot of time 'hiking' and 'exploring' and that sort of thing).
We're more the reading and drinking and eating types.
But if we have to do all of our reading and drinking and eating in that screen tent again, I'm gonna be upset.
(Former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly handles special sections, puts together the Living Here section and contributes a regular column.)