The much-feared (by me) 9-week school summer holiday is almost over. The girls start back on Monday morning, C in her last year of primary (5th grade), L in her second year (2nd grade). I think we're all ready for it.
It's not that it's been a terrible summer. Not at all, in fact. August was pretty cool, even. The first 3 weeks of July were the toughest, by a long way, but seem such a long time ago now that I can barely even remember how miserable they felt (and "miserable" might be a bit of an exaggeration, too, to be honest).
So no, I haven't hated the summer at all. But the girls are bickering more and more, and they definitely need a stricter routine. Plus they're desperate to see their friends.
For me, September will be a hectic month. I have to go to see a solicitor on Tuesday with D to talk about buying him out with regard to this flat. I'm dreading it. We've already had a bit of a tiff, in fact - he contacted "his" solicitor (actually the one we used together to buy the place) and told me she would contact "mine" to make sure she could be there. Then D of course informed me (just a few days ago) that a) he never said that (his standard retort) and b) I would have to invite "my" solicitor myself. And of course, at such short notice, she's not free. I'm furious, and can't help but feel that's not a good start to the negotiations.
Teaching will also be starting up again, which means meetings and preparing stuff and actually getting out of the house from time to time. Which will make a change, I must say.
And my dad's been here since 24 August, which is both nice (I do like to see him, honestly) and driving me batshit insane. I suspect he and I are too alike in character - impatient, intolerant (of slowness, inefficiency, for example) and prone to flashes of anger - for us to get along for any considerable length of time. And the fact that his deafness is now a real handicap doesn't help. Luckily, he's spending 2 of his 3 weeks here down at the beach (this week with the girls all the time and me every other night, next week on his own).
Of course, contradictory, pessimistic little flower that I am, the end of the summer also gives me a bout of the blues. I HATE winter, really, really hate it, and it's already September so winter isn't far away... OK, I know, it can stay pretty mild here till mid-December, but it can also be wretched (by south of France standards, admittedly) by the end of October... I do enjoy the heat and the sun and the freedom of summer: no multi-layering of clothes, no struggling to keep warm.
Looking back on the last 9 weeks, I'm struck by how fast it's actually gone, and yet how slow too. 1 July feels like an eternity ago. Even seeing my friend J - only one month ago - seems distant. And Italy. Ah, delightful Italy... It's hard to imagine that that delight even happened at all... maybe it was just a dream?
So there you have it. The summer is over (as far as holiday is concerned), I've actually been "back at work" for 3 weeks already (I only took 2 weeks off) and all the back-to-school stuff is ready for Monday morning.
I have to admit to being pretty excited about the new school year too - can't wait to catch up with friends, see which class my girls will be in, with which teacher, which kids. I just hope it's a good one.