The pros and cons of the season of summer

Published 10:00 am Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer always perplexes me.

So much to do, so little time to enjoy it.

The fact that so many of my hobbies and activities require they be done between May and September means that it almost becomes stressful.

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It’s almost easier to deal with winters in Minnesota, because there isn’t as much to do.

Here’s a rundown of things that are typically a part of non-work hours in the summer, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Golf. This has been a big part of my summers for many years. Clearly, it’s something I enjoy, especially when I’m playing well.

I also like hanging out with the guys and enjoying the nice weather.

But there also disadvantages. The top one, until recently, has been the fact that playing golf means spending time away from my family.

I’m trying to change that by getting my wife and 5-year-old daughter to come with me. Both don’t put as high of a priority on golf as I do, but we’re working on it.

Lake time. Spending time at my wife’s family’s lake cabin always is fun, especially when the temperature is hot and the water is warm. While tooling around in the lake in a pontoon on a hot day, I would be hard-pressed to say I would like to be anyplace else.

There also are lots of activities and other kids around to keep my daughter occupied.

That said, I admit that my hyperactive, always-need-stimulus personality has a hard time dealing with the primary lake activity — sitting around reading magazines.

Fishing. I differentiate fishing from lake time, because we tend to go to different lakes, and even when we’re on the family cabin lake, we’re out fishing.

I enjoy fishing, and unlike golf, a bad day fishing doesn’t cause frustration.

Fishing is generally cheaper than golf, and you get a nice dinner out of it on occasion.

That said, I still miss out on family time, and the competitive juices don’t flow quite as freely while fishing.

Vacations. There have been times when we have chosen to take a vacation during the summer.

It opens up alternatives, since in the winter, unless you’re a skier, you’re limited to warm-weather locations.

That said, our general thought is that we’re better off spending time at home when the weather is good.

Family reunions. I guess family reunions have always taken place in the summer.

Since my daughter has been around, however, the pressure to attend them has increased significantly.

It’s always fun for my daughter to see her second-cousins (playing opps with anyone close to her age is always a good thing), I don’t have to feel guilty about not seeing my family or my spouse’s family, and I don’t mind seeing relatives I haven’t seen in a while.

That said, time at a family reunion means time lost for other activities, especially when we have to spend a few hours in the car.

Twins games. My decision to buy multiple tickets for the Twins based on a new stadium and a good team has pushed this one onto the list.

It’s fun to go to the new stadium, hit the downtown bars and restaurants, and watch a (usually) good baseball team outdoors.

Driving to the Twin Cities during road work season? Not so great.

Yard work/gardening. Bottom line, it has to be done, and because of my wife’s bright idea to fertilize our yard, it has to be done more often than before.

That said, I don’t mind sitting on the tractor with me and my thoughts.

Triathlons. This is also a new one. I like to do this because training for triathlons a.) gets the competitive juices flowing, and b.) prevent me from ballooning to 238 pounds as I was a decade ago.

I don’t want to go back to that again. If it means I miss out on other more enjoyable activities, so be it.

Joel Myhre is the general manager of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal. E-mail him at