Authors: Lisa Scottoline
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For girlfriends everywhere
Who doesn't love summer?
It is our reward for three seasons of going full speed, twenty-four/seven, in a world that is too complex and way too fast.
We all need a break, especially mothers.
All year-round, we have to get everybody ready in the morning, while we pack lunches and find somebody's missing sneaker.
But it's summertime, and we get a breather and if we're lucky, an actual vacation.
During which we get everybody ready in the morning, while we pack lunches and find somebody's missing sneaker.
But at least we do it in a nicer place.
To me, the best part of summer is that the entire world relaxes just a bit, letting down mentally, easing off the gas emotionally.
That's what we all truly need, a July of the mind.
A time to wear mental flip-flops.
An excess of wasted time.
To me, the best part of summer is the beach.
It's all about the beach.
Every time I drive into a shore town, I can feel my mood lift and my spirit lighten.
I drive into town, past the saltwater-taffy and fudge stores, then the swirly-custard stands, fried-clam joints, and the drugstores that sell suntan lotion, where the only bottles left will have an SPF of 2 or 18326.
And nothing in between.
I know I'm at the beach when I pass my favorite store, which is the one that sells inflatable toys for kids, so outside will be oversized inflatable alligators, puffy rings like multicolored Life Savers, funky boogie boards, and foam noodles growing out of a barrel like so many Gerbera daisies.
Minus the Gerbera daisy part.
The salt air, the warm sun, the happy smiles; all of it is the stuff of summer.
And the great thing is, I feel that way whether I'm on vacation or not.
In fact, Francesca and I go on book tour every summer to promote these books, and even that feels like a vacation, just because it's summertime.
We drive around together, switching off on the driving and making our way through Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, the Hamptons, Mystic, Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode Island. We even took three ferries during our last tour, and this year we're expanding to Virginia Beach and Cape Cod beaches.
We might even take a paddleboat.
And that's the point of this little book, come to think of it. It's the seventh in this series, which Francesca and I have written about our lives alone and together, as mother and daughter. We're really ordinary and normal, and the more you read about us, the more you'll see your own life and your own families reflected herein.
Except that you probably behave better.
Because although our relationship is wonderful and we are truly each other's best friends, that doesn't mean we don't fight.
I'm here to say that we have fought our way through beaches along the East Coast and, as I mentioned above, we'll soon be expanding our fighting to Virginia and Massachusetts.
Which brings me to my point.
Even in summertime, there will be problems.
You'll get in fights with your kids.
Or you'll get in fights with your mother or father.
Everybody knows that a family vacation is hardest on the family.
Also, things will go wrong, like the weather won't cooperate.
You'll find yourself with five days of vacation and four days of clouds, which means you'll stare at your phone, laptop, or television, mentally calculating how much it's costing you to be depressed in a new location.
Plus, you'll find yourself spending way too much time in the local grocery store, which will gouge you on price.
Also the drugstore, which will gouge you on price.
And any restaurant, which will gouge you on price.
Finally, you will get sand in all the wrong places.
You'll get sand in your sneakers.
You won't be able to shake all of it out.
You'll get sand stuck in the elastic in your bathing suit.
You won't be able to rinse all of it out.
You'll even get sand in your hair, blown by the wind off the sea onto your very scalp.
You won't be able to wash it out.
The sand will come back to the rental house with you, where it will fall on the floor, and when you drive home, it will be in the well underneath the gas pedal. You will track it inside your own house, and you will feel a grittiness under your toes in your very own bedroom, maybe even your sheets.
Don't let the sand bother you.
And above all, don't nag each other about it or whine about it, because that misses the point.
Think of the sand as fairy dust.
Because it is.
It's a magical sprinkling of a summertime mood.
If you're lucky, the sand will always be with you, wherever you go. A gritty little reminder under your feet.
And in your undies.
Summer is truly a state of mind.
If you keep that with you at all timesâby that I mean, the mentally easing of worry, the emotional letting go, and more smiles in generalâyou will have a happier and healthier year.
Until summer rolls around again, and you get to go back to the beach.
To bring home more sand.
My kids are fighting.
They're not my kids, I should stop personifying them.
My cat is being mean to my son.
Sorry, my cat is being aggressive with my dog.
Like any parent knows, it's heartbreaking. It's keeping me up at night.
Literally. Last night at 2:45
, a cat yowl woke me up. I had to take Pip into the bed for protective custody.
It wasn't always like this. A year and a half ago, I borrowed Mimi from my mother to catch a mouse in my apartment. But what was supposed to be a monthlong stay became permanent after I fell in love with this sweet, little, tuxedo cat.
Now she's just little and tuxedo.
Her bad cattitude came out of nowhere. My cat and dog used to get along perfectly. They cuddled together on my bed, he gave her space, and she'd occasionally rub up against him.
Basically, they had my ideal relationship.
Until a month ago, when she started attacking him.
Can a cat have a midlife crisis?
That pun deserves hissing.
Her mood swings come without warning. Pip will be minding his own business, padding toward the kitchen in hopes I'll feed him breakfast twice, when suddenly, Mimi will dart after him, chase him into a corner, and go full-blown cat-ninja on him, swiping the air, caterwauling, and hissing.
Poor Pip never retaliates, he just scampers behind my legs like a frightened toddler, while Mimi saunters away.
She feels about as much guilt as Robert Durst.
I took Mimi to the vet, but she's perfectly healthy. The vet suggested she might be bored.
I didn't take offense.
An uneasy truce
But I've bought Mimi tons of toys since I got her, and the only game I've ever seen her enjoy is chasing after Pip's leash when it drags behind him.
I hoped this was more about the dragging leash and less about tormenting Pip.
So I got crafty and made a custom lure out of ribbon for Mimi's cat teaser, a fishing poleâtype toy. She seems entertained, but I think I'm more into it than she is. In an effort to tire her out, I find myself doing a full gymnastic ribbon-dancing routine.
I thought I was pretty good, too, but then my neighbors across the street held up two fives and a three.
Despite the increased playtime, Mimi still finds energy to lash out at the dog. So I decided instead of winding her up, I needed to help her unwind.
With recreational drugs.
I have dime bags of catnip stashed all over the house. Anything to keep it mellow when the cat's eyes look a little too focused.