By: Mary Fran Bontempo
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It’s Memorial Day! The unofficial start of summer. Is everyone ready for the beach?

I’m almost there. Got the sunblock, the beach chairs and the book. I just need to do a few more things before our little beach house is ready for the sun, the sand and the revolving door.

Vacuum all rugs, furniture and beds. Wash eight sets of sheets, extra blankets and bedspreads. Replace old pillows. Move beds and vacuum under each. Move beds back.

While first load of linens washes, take down curtains and carry to laundry room assembly line. Wash windows and remove nine months of grime from windowsills. Wipe down all woodwork and baseboards. Empty disgusting water from bucket, refill and mop kitchen and dining room floors.

Second load of sheets in washer, first load in dryer.

Remove all bathroom towels and lug to laundry room. Scour bathrooms with copious amounts of bleach to eliminate dampness, mildew and crud, which accumulates I don’t know how as no one’s been here for months. Replenish soap, t.p., toothpaste, Q-tip, tissue and extra toothbrush reserves (someone always forgets).

Back to laundry room. First set of sheets through the cycle. Re-make first of beds.

Head to kitchen. Clean out freezer, fridge and cabinets of all petrified remnants of last summer, which I was going to remove when I “come back down after Labor Day” and which never, ever happens, year after year. Drag four full trash bags to cans outside. Make fifty-seven item grocery list to replace everything I just threw away.

Return to the *@%&$! laundry room and wrestle with more sheets and towels. Realize that I haven’t even touched the beach towels yet. Fend off the beginnings of a migraine.

Drag the next completed load of linens back upstairs and continue to re-make beds. Peek in upstairs hamper and realize it’s full of dirty clothes and more towels. Swear under my breath, drag the hamper out the upstairs door onto the deck and dump the whole load over the rail into the back yard. Lose any sense of satisfaction upon realizing the outdoor furniture is still covered and needs to be cleaned. Try not to cry.

Remove tarps from outdoor furniture. Get soaked by fetid rainwater lurking in folds of tarps. Give in and cry. Suck it up and scrub outdoor furniture. Remember the grill needs cleaning. Cry some more and do it.

Return to laundry room for next cycle after fetching clothes from backyard. Use rake to retrieve thong (not mine) from top of shed. Discover I’m out of laundry detergent.

Debate showering and changing before running to grocery store. Decide I don’t give a damn and drive to store, leaving list at home. Throw whatever I can remember into cart, including burgers, hot dogs, chicken, rolls, corn on the cob and brownie mix for the weekend’s cookout.

Return home. Unpack and store all groceries, realizing I’ve forgotten half the items on the list. Wonder if they’ll eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast. Drag myself back to Hell…I mean the laundry room, and start on eighteenth load of the day. Fold towels until my fingers ache. Re-hang curtains. Feel guilty about peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. Go back to grocery store.

Return home again. Unpack groceries again. Head to laundry room again. Start to feel faint and remember that I haven’t eaten for seven hours. Make a quick sandwich. Eat in front of the TV and fall asleep on the couch.

Dream of being on the beach chained to a washer and dryer, next to a mile high pile of beach towels and linens. Wake up in a cold sweat. Get up from couch; grab sunblock, beach chair and book. Go to the beach.

Ready or not, it’s summer.

How do you relax at the shore? Click “comments” below and share!