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There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
The Missing Summer of 2011
By David
Posted August 26, 2011

Oh, those summers of years past. They were golden hazy days of pure freedom and indulgence. Escapes, adventures, and fun of all sorts, mainly of the sort of fun I would deny in public, if you know what I mean. Wow, it was really great.

I wouldn't say I didn't have a care in the world those days, because I had various summer jobs since I turned 14, but still... Until I entered the full-time workforce, my summers were amazing. Later in life, my summers morphed into something different but, overall, summers still had a more laid back character than the rest of the year.

This past summer of 2011, though, was completely MIA. Missing in action. I have no clue what happened to it or how it could have zoomed by me without my noticing it was summer at all, or that it is about to end even before it began.

I'm sitting in a cavernous empty room, surrounded by other cavernous empty rooms. Actually, it's an empty house and there are echoes where there are sounds. Mostly, the sounds are of power tools and other construction-related noise. In one corner of the house there is a radio stuck between stations producing an equal mix of static and Spanish-language pop music at an incredibly loud, mind-numbing volume.

Elsewhere in the house, a jack-hammer is chomping mercilessly at the chipped travertine tiles it is fighting to extract. Outside, the pool deck lies in utter ruin with chunks of broken concrete visible, as we are in the midst of redoing it.

Those golden hazy days of Summers past
Those golden hazy days of Summers past

Somewhere, in a corner of the house, I've set up a small folding table with a few folding chairs, on which I have my laptop so I can get some work done. But more often than not, the noise catches up with me, even so.

The unbearable ruckus has been going on for the past six weeks since we purchased what will soon become our new home, and there are more than a dozen construction companies working on the house, mostly simultaneously. In reality, I'm not a general contractor and I don't even play one on TV, but I do have a couple of decades' experience managing various groups of people at the same time. Thank God, after six long weeks, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Based on the number of unfinished projects, it sure is hard to imagine that we will move into this house in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Good Boy and the Sweet Sweetheart have had their first day at their new school. It seems promising so far...

Having to relocate to a home in a better school district doesn't bother me so much as my concern for our children attending public school for the first time and the reasons for it. Since preschool, our children attended safe, familiar Jewish day schools, but for all intents and purposes, Jewish education is pretty much dead in this part of L.A. The classes have only a handful of students, partly due to the bad economy, and partly due to a lack of value parents place on Jewish education. So by the end of the 2010-2011 school year, we found ourselves forced to consider other academic alternatives. We chose to relocate to a better public school district within a few minutes from our current home.

I don't know what the future will hold for our children and their education. I'm not even sure that we're doing the right thing by going the public school route. Maybe we should have chosen a different private school option. One of the toughest aspects of being a parent is the fact that we sometimes need to make an educated guess and just move forward without certainty, without guarantees, yet with potentially bad results that could affect our children very negatively. I think we're choosing the best option. But thinking is not knowing for sure.

So for now, we're optimistic about the possibilities that lay ahead. Probably even more optimistic about our children's education than we've been in years. But where in the world did this summer go?

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