Along the parenting rating scale, I'd rate planning the family summer schedule just below playing taxi driver for your child but one spot above being hit by their projectile vomit while racing to their bed with a bucket in hand.
I don't think my wife's really all that eager to jump in either.
We've had a couple of halfhearted discussions about camps, vacation days and other events, but we haven't sat down to put it on the calendar to see if it works.
Last year we took advantage of an unexpected trip to Wausau to do the planning during the car ride. That got us through the Fourth of July and left the pencil eraser smoldering.
We're relative newcomers to the summer scheduling chaos. Sure there were plenty of summer antics, but until a few years ago my wife was at home to manage day-to-day life. Then she decided it was time for something easier, so she found a full-time job outside of the home.
The first summer was a shock as we scrambled to find childcare options, because we assumed you could plan your summer schedule in May. A lifetime of working in the newspaper business proved to be a real detriment as I'm used to doing everything on deadline. I thought May was way ahead.
Now we know that summer planning takes place in winter.
Like any well-adjusted adult, I blame my parents.*
Growing up, there wasn't a push to have kids' lives scheduled down to the minute - I took a couple of summer school classes, played a year or two of Little League baseball (I got on base once when I drew a walk) and the only camp I ever attended was a science camp in like seventh grade. Either my kids are a lot less resourceful at filling their summer days with fun than me or I've simply forgotten how the excitement of summer break plummets around June 13.
Plus there's the societal guilt - and actual laws in some cases - about leaving your almost 12-year-old child at home with an almost 15-year-old sibling in a neighborhood where the violent-crime rate is about 0.0001 percent. Never mind that this is a country where Buffalo Bill rode across vast swaths of wilderness for the Pony Express at age 14.
So now we will sit down doing the parent version of math word problems. If child X is in camp during week Z while child Y needs rides to and from his weightlifting sessions and parent A cannot take a vacation day, what percentage of their parents' brains is collectively functioning?
Last weekend we decided recaulking a shower, fixing the ceiling fan lights, laundry, dishes, vacuuming, grocery shopping, writing in our Christmas memories book, chipping away ice, "The Bourne Legacy," "Lawless," and the DVD of "Justified" season 3 were all more important than working out a summer schedule.
Maybe this weekend will hold fewer temptations.
(*Mom, Dad: I'm just kidding about the 'blaming my parents' thing. I'll call you tonight, I've got a great opportunity for you to spend some quality time with your grandchildren this summer.)