Summer by the Numbers

[Editor's Note:  I wrote this post after the first half of our summer vacation, but never finished it.  I reread it again this morning and thought it was worth publishing for purely historical reasons (keeping the record and all that).  It is out-of-date and quite possibly of little interest to most of you.  I'm just sayin'.]

Last night I laid down on my own bed for the first time in 17 days.

The thermostat said 88.

The thermostat near the kids room said 91.  They slept in the family room with the fan on full blast.

We were home. 

Home from a cross-country trip of 5,280 miles

which adds up to about 86 hours sitting next to my husband while he drove me past country I've only read about in books.

On the way, somewhere in Indiana, our car quietly hit the 100,000 mile mark on the odometer and just kept going.  (Brilliant, Mr. Ford.)

We drove through 7 thunderstorms, the fiercest one in Birmingham, Alabama and enjoyed more gloriously sunny days than I can count.

I sat on the beaches of Michigan and Florida with my 4 brown children for 8 days and rubbed 10 bottles of sunscreen onto their gorgeous skin, over their bony shoulders, round bellies, and freckled noses.

I did 1 load of laundry every night.  Swim suits and towels only.

I filled 2 empty water bottles with sand, one with the grey, rocky sands of Lake Michigan, the other with the brilliant, white sugar of the Gulf of Mexico.  They are now sitting in my kitchen window as consolation.

On our way to the white sand beaches of Florida we passed Florida's highest hill at 345 feet above sea level.  I've never been anywhere so low to the ground as the gulf coast.  I imagined I was so low that I could hear the earth's heartbeat when I lay flat on the sugar sand with my ear to the ground.  It felt like I was back at the beginning, back at creation, when all there was was the slow, steady thump of the earth as it turned around its axis and the tides moving around and around to the beat.

And now some of the 941 pictures put to 2 songs in 1 movie.  My favorite line: "put the lonesome on the shelf."  My favorite part:  my kids dressed up like sugar donuts.  You can bet I tried to eat every one of them.