It’s Independence Day weekend. Usually around this time of year we spend some time at the Prouty family cottage in Land O Lakes, WI. However, the multi-year drought effecting Northern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and parts of Minnesota has gotten even worse. My father snapped the photo above of our pier, which was once suspended over water. The drought has gotten virtually no national press, but it’s devastated the North Woods.
So instead we’re going to stay close to home this weekend. We’re not going to the Taste of Chicago, which gets worse every year. Nor will we pay a visit to LeBron James. My wife and I will be spending quality time with our two children, during which we will be 1.3% less happy than couples who don’t have children.
How can married couples with children close the gap with their childless peers? Well, if they live in New York, they can hire a babysitter and attend the Asian Film Festival. Or if you have live-in childcare, slip away to Bard College for a pair of exhibits that Roberta Smith describes as “a parable for the ideological rifts that characterize our artistic moment.” But wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, stay away from McDonalds and their The Last Airbender Happy Meals. My son has already scored a product tie-in toy, a weird bat-like thing, so we have to distract him from pestering us to see the movie.
If the current summer movies are generally pretty lame (with a couple notable exceptions), this does seem to be shaping up into a great summer for fiction. This weekend I hope to finish up Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, then crack open The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I’ll also check out the new Gary Shteyngart novel novel when it comes out later this month.
As any parent of small children knows, finding time to relax can be tough. But I hope to read in my backyard hammock with a glass of wine. If the kids bother me too much, I can always tune them out with my latest iPod crush.
Even I’m not going up north or anywhere else right now, I am going to take a break from blogging for a couple of weeks. I have some projects to work on, both personal and professional. Besides, July is a slow time for the topics I usually cover in this space.
Happy Independence Day, wherever you are.