In a plastic tote bin in my mom's garage is a stack of worn spiral notebooks, journals of my youth, logged faithfully from second grade through high school. In earlier volumes, I carefully planned out each summer's to-do list: riding our bikes to Gramma's house, playing pioneers in the woods, reading dozens of books in the cool grass and many other creative pursuits. Compared to that, my current summer plans are pathetically mundane: yardwork, organizing the basement, painting.
This summer, I'm on a DIY spree. I plan to paint the entire exterior of our 1948 garage and house, a small post-war rancher in the Shadle area, all by myself. Everyone keeps telling me it's going to be a massive and challenging undertaking. I'm not oblivious to the amount of work it requires, but the more my intentions are questioned, the more stubbornly determined I am to see it through by Labor Day Weekend. (Maybe the joke is on me. The night before I'm writing this uninspiring essay, I discover that the original layer of teal green paint on the house is tainted with lead...)
While painting a house may be the lamest summer plan I've ever made, I'll definitely count it as the most satisfying and rewarding challenge on all my lists, more so than any vacation, campout or childhood adventure of the past.