We are neck-deep in summer now. It’s hot when we go to bed and it’s hot when we wake up, and in between, we don’t venture out much at all.

Last week, as I stood watering plants on the porch at 9 p.m., I wondered out loud at how hot it still was.

“Mom,” Ruby said patiently. “You have met New Orleans, right?”

“I wasn’t complaining,” I told her. “I was just commenting. I love the summer here.”

“Suit yourself,” she said and went back inside to the air conditioning.

But it’s true. I really do like the summers here. I like summers anywhere. There was a time when I was done with college but didn’t yet have kids in school where summer sort of lost its luster and blended into spring, but now that I am back on an academic calendar, it’s meaningful again (sort of like Christmas – much more fun with kids). I love having the extra 45 minutes or so to sleep in every morning. I love not having to sign reading logs and check homework and make sure uniforms are washed. Even beyond that, I love the longer days and the thunderstorms and all of the fresh produce.

I’ve done a lot of my summer to-do list so far: buy peaches from a roadside stand, make endless tomato sandwiches, eat hot dogs poolside, take a walk in the rain, go berry-picking. I even – with all apologies to Tim McNally – have invented the perfect summer cocktail: bourbon and Limonata with basil. (It’s much better than my previous cocktail invention, the Drunken Toddler, which was a desperation-driven mix of Capri Sun and gin.)

But I still have a few things I want to do over the last three weeks of summer:

  1. Go to the beach. Not the real beach, just Bay St. Louis or Pass Christian. I always realize about 90 minutes into a trip to the beach that I actually don’t really like the beach – so hot, so sticky, so much sand – so the Mississippi beaches are perfect because I can go long enough to remember that it’s not my scene without feeling like I’ve committed to anything. And it is kind of fun to build sandcastles, get a little sunburned, and get an ice cream cone on the ride home.
  2. Have a picnic. My kids always want to have a picnic. I never want to have a picnic. It’s too hot and there are too many bugs and we’re all going to get the Zika virus and die. Also, we’ll probably get food poisoning from potato salad or lukewarm lunchmeat or something. But they are so enthusiastic that it’s worth throwing some sandwiches (no mayo!) into an ice chest with a bunch of ice packs and some bug spray and walking down the street to the park.
  3. Make this Pimm’s Cup cake. I love Pimm’s Cups. I love cake. I love baking. This one is a no-brainer, basically. (Except for converting all of the measurements and/or finding my baking scale.)
  4. Go to White Linen Night. This somehow simultaneously elegant and sweaty art-centered event, held the first Saturday of August in the Warehouse District, has been one of my favorite affairs to attend for about as long as I can remember.

Ruby has her own summer goals, both academic (finish summer reading) and dietary (eat a sno-ball at least twice a week), as does Georgia (eat about 30 percent of an expensive organic popsicle per day and leave the rest to melt into a sticky puddle in some hidden corner of the house).

I think my mom and my husband, who both despise summer, are just trying to survive it. But me? I’m going to do my damnedest to squeeze every last bit out of the last few weeks of summer.