A few months ago, I told readers it makes no sense to begin dieting in January when you have so many months to go before swimsuit season arrives. It was part of my annual attack on New Year’s resolutions.

Now it’s mid-March, and there’s a brand-new bikini in my closet to remind me that summer is just three months away. Tucked away behind scarves and sweaters, it peeks out at me with promises of good times to come.

The bikini was by far the most impulsive Internet buy I have ever made.

Keep reading for an explanation of what drove this mother of three to think she needed to buy a bikini in February.

No matter what time of year it is, Friday afternoons in the metropolitan D.C. area can be hard for drivers to endure. There is bumper-to-bumper traffic for miles and miles … and miles, making even the simplest errand seem impossible.

My solution to the problem is to surrender and stay home.

Jimmy, on the other hand, refuses to give up so easily. Every Friday afternoon, his pleas to take him somewhere begin moments after he arrives home from school.

Most of the time, a vague promise to go “somewhere fun” on Saturday is enough to temporarily satisfy my eldest before he raids the refrigerator.

Ronnie and Tommy arrive half an hour later from the bus stop, with at least two or three friends along.

That’s when I snap into action, making sure all their muddy shoes are left at the door and providing snacks to feed the hungry crew.

I guess you could say the boys and I host our own little end-of-the-week party every Friday afternoon.

Depending on how loud we are, we might not even notice when Ron comes home, goes over to his recliner and attempts to “relax after a hard week at work.”

Things begin to settle down around that time, and I send any extra kids home to their families, leaving us with the three loudest and wildest ones.

It is only later, after feeding my troops and cleaning up a bit, that I can retreat to the safety of my bedroom with my newest magazines and laptop. It is one of my favorite times of the week, when a whole weekend of possibilities stretches out in front of me.

I may fall asleep within minutes or use the rare time alone to catch up with friends on the Internet. It isn’t a good time to write this column unless I plan to correct a lot of mistakes later on.

Last month, I spent one of those precious Friday evenings browsing through the Victoria’s Secret spring catalog. Unfortunately, my good judgment faded more quickly than my ability to place an order.

The more I flipped through the catalog, the more I wanted to be one of those carefree models, cavorting by the beach on a summer’s day. Surely the first step toward getting there was to order something, right?

That is how I ended up with a new bikini in February, a constant reminder that each passing day brings me closer and closer to swimsuit season. I keep it on the shelf beside the boys’ Easter candy, where it acts as my own personal invisible fence to keep my fingers away from the chocolate-covered bunnies and peeps.

Spring is in the air, and summer is coming … What a wonderful time of year!

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 17 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

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