Eyes on Arlington: Checking off (some) of the summer to-do list

08/18/2014 11:10 AM

08/18/2014 11:12 AM

Summer is the time of year I make a to-do list because my work schedule is less hectic while charity and nonprofit events that drive my workload are taking a break. As we enter the homestretch, it’s time to take stock of what I have (and have not) checked off the list.

Since I’m painfully aware that lists only make you feel proud if you complete them and produce shame if you don’t, I don’t know why I make them and subject myself to this annual report card. But for some inexplicable reason, I do it every summer.

This summer’s list included: 1. Play with the grandchildren more (check); 2. Get digital photos organized and safely backed up (check); 3. Clean the garage (still a few weeks to check this off); 4. Spend the summer in Europe (wait, that’s on all my lists but not the budget); 5. Have cosmetic surgery (another item on all lists but not on the budget); 6. Exercise more (half a check mark); 7. Make time for long-overdue girlfriend visits (check); 8. Read more books and watch less TV (check); 9. Get an updated photo for my columns to replace the one that’s 10 years old and 20 pounds lighter (why is this even on the list?); 10. Do a daily random act of kindness (OK, I just put this on here to sound like a nicer person). So 4 1/2 check marks is not impressive, but I’m focusing on the positive that celebrates any check marks.

What surprised me as I was handing myself the report card was another list (full of check marks) that emerged: The Things I Did Not Expect to Do This Summer.

Did not envision at my age visiting an amusement park, much less spending 10 straight hours at Six Flags with a 5-year-old and riding every twirling, spinning, swerving, swooping, drenching, plunging, jerking, catapulting or fast ride the park offered her age group. I didn’t like scary rides when I was a kid and am even less attracted to them now. Thank you to the mild weather that made this lengthy stay at the park possible and for the mysterious mental transformation that made me say “Of course” every time I heard “Let’s do it again, Grammy” spoken in that angelic voice.

Did not expect to walk away from a casino (we used a trip package we bought at a charity auction last winter) without a loss of money. We actually won some money. Never mind that it was only about $100 — it’s the win that counts, right?

Did not expect to make a fairly long drive to a foreboding-looking salvage grocery center in a tough neighborhood to buy pickle juice by the gallon. Nor did I expect to turn into my grandmother and start reading crazy articles extolling the health benefits of things like pickle juice. And really did not have drinking a bedtime pickle juice cocktail on any to-do list ever. And even more unexpected — I like it.

Definitely did not envision ever buying a two-piece swim suit like the one that arrived in my mailbox for an upcoming beach vacation. (Hint: it is not a bikini.) After subjecting myself to the abuse of shopping for swimwear (what evildoer invented a three-way mirror, and why do we need to view our backside in triplicate wearing tiny constricting garments?), a reality check told me I could either skip the beach trip or find another solution for swimwear. Choosing the latter now makes me the astonished owner of swim capris — yes, the suit is complete with mid-calf legs and a top with sleeves. I’m still amazed that my exhaustive online search of swimwear sites to find an alternate style actually resulted in finding it, so I guess I’m not alone. In any event, I plan to splash and play with the little kiddos and take the hubby’s advice to embrace the new me in the new two-piece.

Now, it’s time to forget lists and spend the rest of the summer just having as much fun as possible. The whirlwind of fall, winter and spring charity events will begin before we know it, and I’m hoping to make your list of Things to Do for Your Favorite Cause.

Don’t forget to send me the news about parties, galas, runs, tournaments, competitions, sales, style shows, forums and fundraisers of any description so I can help you get the word out about your special nonprofit, school or charity event.

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