I decided to give myself a break today from this crazy-busy summer to enjoy some of the things that make July my favorite month of the year.

Like everything the boys and I do, we managed to put our own "Zich twist" on things.

First, we headed out to the pool even though it was cloudy and looked like it might rain.

"I can’t take another day of studying," I told the boys. "I have to get out of the house and spend some time at the pool."

The weather looked so dismal that I figured we would only stay there an hour. But then the sun came out and decided to stay … so we did, too.

Some of their friends happened to be at the pool, and they were hungry, of course, so I ordered a couple of pizzas. It turned into a real party with Mt. Dew flowing and adolescents all hyped up on caffeine.

I came back from the pool in such a good mood that I let Glory talk me into taking her for a ride in the car. Those of you with pets will understand what I’m saying when I claim my dog talks me into doing things for her.

There are so many more ways to communicate than words, and Glory knows exactly what works with me.

We needed bread and milk from the grocery store, and the boys wanted to go with me. (I know it would have been cheaper at the commissary, but today’s excuse is that it also would have taken me two hours to get there during rush hour.)

Glory just assumed she was going and waited for us at the door. It had turned out to be such a pretty day, and I was in too good of a mood to say no. Ronnie also indulged her by sitting in the very back so she could hang her head out the window.

The only problem with taking an 80-pound furbag for a joyride on a hot summer afternoon is the car gets a bit stinky by the time you head home again.

We were so ready to get that dog out of the car and into the backyard that we didn’t take in the groceries right away.

Among our groceries was a big bunch of bananas I had purchased so I could teach my sons the proper way to eat them. I had seen an item on the news that claims humans eat bananas the wrong way when compared to the real banana-eating experts: monkeys.

Instead of opening bananas from the stem, monkeys turn them upside-down, give ‘em a little pinch and peel them from the bottom. It’s a lot easier than the way humans do it and "makes more sense," according to the reporters.

So, I led my boys outside to the front porch and demonstrated the "right" way to peel and eat bananas. It was the first time all four of us have sat out on the front porch together this summer.

We even stopped one of our neighbors who was walking by with his toddler so we could give the child a lesson in how to peel bananas the right way. I’m not sure if the little boy took in the quick banana-peeling lesson I gave him, but he showed me that he definitely has perfected the art of eating a banana.

As we went back inside, I realized we had just enjoyed another one of the pleasures of summer by hanging out in the yard and talking to our neighbors.

Now that it is almost 9 p.m., the sun has finally gone down on this beautiful summer day, and I’m so glad the boys and our stinky dog got out of the house to enjoy it.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has been married to a Marine for 18 years and currently lives in Springfield, Va. You may e-mail her at or visit her Web site at

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