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David Eddie’s five cures for summer boredom

Okay, so you don’t have a cottage. Everyone else (it seems) is laughing and splashing, sipping G&Ts on the dock, reading thrillers in lawn chairs, enjoying beautiful sunsets followed by starry skies, while saying to one another “Man, I pity anyone not here right now” – i.e. you, sweltering in your regular old domicile, feeling sorry for yourself. Well, don’t! I’ve come up with a brief list of things you can do, just so when your smugly-smirking friends with cottages say, “Yes, it was one of those magical times at the cottage you so often hear about – oh, uh, hey, what did you get up to while we were away?” you can respond, “Actually, I had a good time. As a matter of fact…”

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“…a bunch of us held a Plywood Cup. We raised money for [name of great charity].” What’s a Plywood Cup? Basically, you divide into teams. Gather near a clean, fresh, and I would say, ideally, shallow body of water. Each team is given very basic materials, like two sheets of plywood and a 2x2, plus a hammer, handsaw, nails, a stick, a roll of duct tape, caulk, a pencil and a tape measure. Then you have two hours to build a seaworthy boat. Allow one hour for the caulk to set, then race the boats. If they sink: refreshing! If not, look at you: you’re one step closer to becoming handy! Might sound crazy/dangerous, but they already happen in several places in Canada and the U.S., where organizers get sponsors, raise money for charity and apparently everyone has a blast.

Rachel Idzerda/The Globe and Mail

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“…I hijacked an ice-cream truck and gave out free ice cream to kids. You know, just one of those ‘random acts of kindness’ I like to throw down from time to time…” This is kind of like those people who’ve been “paying it forward” by buying the next few hundred customers’ drinks at coffee shops lately – except with kids and ice cream, and you get to see their reaction. Basically, give the guy in the ice cream truck, say, $100, but with one proviso: you want to hand out the cones. Don’t worry, he’s used to it. News reporters do it all the time: “From inside Mr. Softee, handing out cones on a hot summer day, I’m Tanya Roberts for News at Noon.” Except in this case the ice cream guy makes a profit. Then tell each kid who rolls up on the truck his/her cone is free. Enjoy their squeals of delight and gap-toothed smiles. Let it warm your soul – then, before the situation devolves into a chocolate-smeared mob of kids angrily demanding free banana splits, get the hell out of there.

Rachel Idzerda/The Globe and Mail

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“…we had an outdoor movie night. Nice to get a little culture once in a while, you know what I’m saying? We watched [name of cool film].” STEP 1: Obtain extension cord. STEP 2: Rent projector. Too old-fashioned? Au contraire! They make them now so they can hook up to whatever electronic device you care to watch your flicks on: VCR, VHS (old school!), laptop, tablet, phone, etc. STEP 3: Pop corn. Lots of it. Fill buckets with ice and your favourite beverages. STEP 4: Project the flick onto a flat surface, e.g. brick wall, sheet, whatever. Fire up the film! A little more lame, but still acceptable: move TV outside, watch movies on that.

Rachel Idzerda/The Globe and Mail

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“…we played a spirited game of beerkour. Great way to really interact with your surroundings…” A variation on parkour, the discipline in which participants, or “traceurs,” very sportily interact with the landscape of the area they live in by jumping over fences, balancing on walls, crawling on all fours under things, etc. Just writing about it makes me thirsty. Thus “beerkour”: you and your friends (or “beerceurs”) very sportily interact with the landscape, jumping over stuff, balancing on things, culminating in sportily leaping over the patio fence of your favourite watering-hole, sportily swinging your legs over the backs of chairs, and sportily doing a “squat” into a seated position. Then sportily signal the server before drinking your beer in a sporty way (like wearing bike gloves, frequently wiping your brow with a bandana). One beer per patio per person – then you move on until someone finally says, “Ah, the hell with it, we’ve done enough sporty stuff for today. Let’s just stay here and relax. Who’s up for wings?” *Okay, people with cottages can do all this stuff, too. If they ask very nicely.

Rachel Idzerda/The Globe and Mail

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“…I’ve taken up pickling. Yeah, I’m trying to get back to the old ways…” Trendy or not, people have been pickling stuff for at least 4,000 years. It’s deep in our DNA as a summertime activity – and good preparation for a possible dystopian future. I’m just saying: refrigeration might not be around forever, and you’ll still want to eat veggies. It’s easy to find out how to pickle online, and weirdly, the process may actually add to the nutritional value of whatever you pickle. A friend of mine turned me onto it. She pickles all kinds of crazy stuff. Me, I like to do good old cucumbers and carrot strips, and put them on burgers or in salads or roll them into sushi. But really you can pickle just about anything, adding tang and zest – and vitamins! – to whatever you pair your pickled creations with.

Rachel Idzerda/The Globe and Mail

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