A User’s Guide to Welcoming Fall


“Hiii!  How was your summer?”

I hear this everywhere.  It’s the standard back-to-school or I-haven’t-seen-you-in-a-while greeting.

Mine sucked.  Can I tell people that?  Too much, right?

Yeah, so I’ve been using this euphemism, with a smile: “Oh, you know, it was crazy…”  Because, otherwise, I become that weirdo who overshares in the pre-school parking lot.

{Not to be confused with the weirdo who overshares online several times a week.}

So, as my Summer of Discontent officially winds down, I should be happy to welcome a new season.  And I am.  I love fall the most.  The crisp air.  The foliage.  It’s nice not to have to worry 24/7 about acquiring an ER-level sunburn or wearing a bathing suit.

It will be a nice little reset button for me.  Just a few little transition bumps to work out first, like these:

  • Dressing the kids for school when we often have a 30+ degree temperature swing in a single day.  I found myself putting long sleeves and pants on my son the other morning — with sunscreen on his face.  He asked me if it was going to be hot or cold outside and I said, “Yes.  And don’t forget your umbrella.”
  • Surviving Parent Volunteer Season.  I feel like I am dodging people in parking lots and grocery stores all over town.  There was even a narrow escape on the treadmill at the gym, where I may or may not have faked a leg cramp.  Come, sign up to be class parent!  Or chaperone a field trip!  Or just give us some money to absolve yourself from any list. {OK by me on that last one  — I’ll buy my way out, thankyouverymuch.}
  • The return of skinny jeans.  Which, I’m sorry, get smaller each year.  And now, to add insult to injury, I am seeing — gasp — high-waisted skinny jeans.  I believe these are also known as tights.
  • The reality of how much I underestimated the in-town space/time continuum when putting our fall schedule together.  For example, that ten minute gap between drop-offs at the different pre-schools (don’t ask — long story) — no problem, I thought.  Not only was I beyond wrong, but as a result, I am now the face of Suburban Road Rage.  I will likely be arrested by Columbus Day.
  • Making substantial concessions to allow for what I call the Off-Season Fruit Budget.  When your kids like a total of five foods, and most of them happen to be summer fruits like berries or melons, now is the time when one begins to dig deep into one’s pockets for uninterrupted access to these items.  Probably because they have to be imported from Papua New Guinea or somewhere equally convenient.
  • Easing into the required adjustment period for seasonal drink allegiances.  For example, transitioning from iced to hot coffee (and perhaps thinking about those pumpkin spiced lattes, chai, etc).  And, in my case, from white wine to red.  As you may know, I have strong feelings for both my caffeine and wine, so this is not to be taken lightly.  I find it’s best not to go cold turkey on these things — sort of like a methadone approach.
  • The onset of Halloween Mania.  Things are already selling out.  It’s also time when all pre-schoolers change their minds four times a week about this year’s costume preference.  Choices will invariably include the impossible, obscure character.  This week, it’s Finn McMissile from the Cars 2 movie.  Oh, but not the standard version — that won’t do — it has to be the submarine configuration from that one scene in the movie that a certain four year-old still remembers from June.
  • Giving up the sandals and other open-toed shoes.  Boo.  Hiss.  This means socks must be located for each member of the family.  Preferably in pairs.  {Related:  Finding a good toenail polish color for autumn that no longer screams “I’m going to the town pool with my pina colada” — I mean, if we were allowed to smuggle booze in.  Because I never would if it were forbidden, you know.}

That should do it.  Once I get through these minor adjustments, I’m ready to officially let go of The Worst Summer Ever and enjoy a new season.

Did I miss anything?  Are you guys ready for fall, or are you mourning the end of summertime?

Or — worse — are you running around in high-waisted skinny jeans, chasing down parents in the grocery store to volunteer at school?





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  1. Jen T. says:

    We had such an awesome summer last year that sadly this summer was doomed six months before it started. Not nearly enough time doing fun stuff…highlight was having Emily/Ryan/Ben in other states/continents…and that makes me sad. I just put the beach towels back in the upstairs closet this afternoon.

    I, too, love Fall…as is evidenced the fact that for the last 19 years I have pulled out those pictures that you, Ken, and I took outside TH 95/96 in the leaves and the year Nessa was a tree and dressed in BROWN for Halloween.

    That said, I still wear flip flops well into the Christmas decoration season (not the commercial one, but the actual one) and my kids have been known to wear shorts most of the year.

    The official start of Fall for me is the Philly Distance Run, which is on Sunday. I always follow the race with a stop at Jim’s for a cheesesteak and at the Starbucks across the street for some sort of pumpkin frozen concoction (because I don’t do hot beverages no matter what the season).

    Happy Fall!

  2. We just got back from the pediatrician for the well visit required for 7th grade. On the way, we passed the mega-Halloween store and I sighed and smiled because that’s one headache I won’t have this year. That one thought made my entire afternoon. Now, on to homework. Happy Autumn to you. I promise not to wear high-waisted skinny jeans if you do too. (not that my 46-year-old ass could fit in skinny jeans even if I wanted to wear them).

  3. Krinn says:

    Finally someone else who realizes that high waisted skinny jeans are in fact tights!!! Excluding, the 45 mins of my life that I lost today explaing to Makenna (age 7) what exactly constitutes a jegging… I am loving fall.

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