Couple's plan to be together just went awry

July 23, 2006|by JOEL HUFFER

What is it they say about the best-laid plans?

Oh, yeah. They often go awry.

A few months ago, my wife and I had what we thought was a great idea.

The Washington County Recreation Department's summer program schedule had just come in the mail, and it was filled with lots of activities for our sons.

They had participated in the youth soccer program offered through the department at Hagerstown Community College in the spring and loved every minute of it.

We scoured the brochure and decided on swimming lessons, art camp and preschool play camp.

We were familiar with the swimming lessons because our 6-year-old son, Drew, took them last summer. This time, his brother Alex, 4, wanted to join the fun.


We decided to sign up the boys for sessions held at the same time. We would go to Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park in Halfway as a family, and while the boys were in the pool with their instructors, Helen and I could have 45 minutes of uninterrupted conversation.

A closer look at the brochure revealed that the art camp and the preschool play camp were the same week in July, and both were from 9 a.m. to noon.

That's when the light bulb went off.

One of us could take Drew to the Washington County Arts Council camp at Doub's Woods, while the other took Alex to Hagerstown Community College for the preschool play camp. Then we could meet, and for 2 1/2 hours do the things we've had very little time to do since the boys were born.

We'd go out for breakfast. We'd play tennis. We'd ride bikes along the C&O Canal towpath. It would be like we were newlyweds again.

Or not.

With 150 minutes to ourselves each day for five days last week, we managed to do exactly none of those things. That's right ... none.


Because our week went like this:

On Monday, Helen began an indoor painting project that she's been longing to complete since we moved into our house more than four years ago. I spent my morning outside, reviewing building plans with a work crew that will begin construction of a deck (another long-awaited project) for us this week.

Tuesday brought an overdue wholesale cleaning of our one-car garage. We tossed some things, donated some things and saved some others for a yard sale that we planned for later in the week.

On Wednesday, Helen returned to painting, while I made trips to Lowe's and The Home Depot to price and order lumber from the materials list I was given Monday.

Thursday brought oil changes for both cars, the delivery of the lumber and some time spent working on a hot tub that we'll use on the deck. Helen used the morning to plan a fundraiser for church.

Our last chance came on Friday, the day we set aside for our yard sale. We rose early and set out everything for our shoppers. As people looked over the items for sale, Helen and I sat on chairs in our driveway, eating doughnuts and drinking orange juice and coffee.

Hey, wait a minute. Maybe that counts as going "out" for breakfast.

Joel Huffer is managing editor of The Morning Herald. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7587, or by e-mail at

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