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For many of us, summer officially begins when school shuts down in June. Already I am feeling the rush of summer 2008. Library trustee stuff, child raising stuff, vacation stuff, newspaper stuff, church stuff, husband stuff, camp stuff, and miscellaneous stuff quickly fill up my “stuff happens” list. My life qualifies for an election year campaign slogan. Manage the Damage. Handle the Scandal. Brain Strain and Pain. Andrea B. for Insanity.

If I had a campaign manager I would have to fire her for not carefully thinking through my exit strategy.

First things first. Newspaper duty calls. My last column focused on marriage and love relationships via the eyes of two twin sisters, Miracle and Mirage. I could write a hilarious follow up about the man’s point of view on this universal topic. The twin protagonists of this literary sequel would be named Truth and Answer. It has potential but does anyone really want to hear (or give a hoot) about the male perspective? Maybe each of you can drop me a note at phillyasb@comcast.net or go to www.forestparkreview.com and post a quick memo on the funniest experience in your relationship.

Second things second. I am happy to say our church finally completed the project of building a second parking lot. The dedication took place right before the kickoff of our annual vacation bible school week. Although the lot’s completion took longer than expected, the congregation is very happy with the end result. Being located on Harlem Avenue, this has helped solve our parking situation and prepares us for future growth.

Speaking of Harlem Avenue growth, I sincerely hope the village government will be as supportive of Elite Tire as they were of the Forest Park Baptist Church during our expansion project. Any municipal plan for development has to recognize respectable, successful, necessary businesses that have already earned and sustained the support of the community. For close to a decade, Elite Tire has provided maintenance for my two vehicles. They know when I am taking my mini-van on the road and always triple check to make sure she is ready.

Third things third. Speaking of road trips, mama is going to New Orleans! My husband keeps whispering something about “mini-van moms gone wild.” The bonus this year is that the children are staying with their grandma. Walt Disney, Mickey, and Goofy will have to survive without the Blaylock clan this summer. Nor will we be exploring the family-friendly side of Las Vegas in 110-degree heat. The only drawback is that we have to drive the offspring to the world famous Jersey shore before we hit the French Quarter.

Fourth things fourth. How do you calm angry bears? You let them go outside the den and play. For the cubs (I mean the kids), this means three weeks of summer camp. Soccer, water parks, baseball, skateboarding, volleyball, flag football, swimming, and Lego engineering. This no doubt will keep the young ones going. However, the biggest bear – I mean my husband – is still growling.

The price of summer camp for four kids is probably enough to make anyone grumpy. And surely, the end of the NBA season isn’t helping his mood any. I need to find a way to get him to go outside and play. I can hear him shout up the stairs, “Brandon, Justin, and Troy. Put your sneakers on! We are going outside to shoot some hoops.” My oldest son, Brandon, is usually the one who musters up enough courage to remind his father that there isn’t anyplace to play outdoor basketball in Forest Park.

I think there may be room for an update to the Comprehensive Plan that will help calm the bears.

But let’s not worry about that yet. Bourbon Street, here I come.