We sleep in.
Summer days in Minneapolis are fantastic, but as long as I'm fantasizing here, my perfect summer day starts by not starting. At least not starting at 6 a.m. with a child banging on the bedroom door looking for the thing for the thing.
8 a.m.: When you're raising lots of kids in a blended family, uninterrupted sleep ending luxuriously at, say, 8 a.m., is about as good as it gets. I want to have a whole day that feels this way. So I head to Great Harvest Bread Co. (4314 Upton Av. S., Mpls.) to buy a caramel-and-nut-drenched sweet roll the size of a clock, and just for me, because it's hell in midlife to keep the pounds on, and besides, we're about to go on a long bike ride, our summer tradition.
9 a.m.: Patrick pulls the bikes out of the storage room and the tires are full and as we head out I don't feel my usual pain and regret after pedaling for … one block … and with little effort we are traversing the Midtown Greenway as I fly past the hotshots in their flashy latex biking shorts and manage to not get my shoelace stuck in my spoke.
10 a.m.: We eat a delicious brunch at Longfellow Grill (2990 W. River Pkwy., Mpls.) and, instead of my usual whining, I can't wait to get back on my bike to ride the 8 miles back.
2 p.m.: We get home and the kids are fighting — about who gets to clean the toilets — but they decide to do it together and one volunteers to take the dog on a long walk and even knows where the leash is.
3 p.m.: "Take a nap," they tell us. So we do and we wake up and head to the Russian Museum of Art (5500 Stevens Av., Mpls.), which I adore, and I head straight to the "Laughing Milkmaids" and jump into the frame and one milkmaid hands me a white apron and another a tall glass of lemonade (hard) and I laugh with them, and inhale the fragrance of freshly cut grass and, frankly, stinky manure, but I don't care because it is a gorgeous day all over the world and I am in it.
5 p.m.: We return home to catch an early evening concert at Lake Harriet featuring the Minnesota Orchestra because we are a city that embraces the cultural imperative of supporting our brilliant musicians. But suddenly word spreads that the flute player is ill and they've heard that I played second-chair flute in my school concert band a mere 35 years ago. Suddenly, I'm playing to feverish applause.
8 p.m.: We push through the crowds to have dinner at Tilia (2726 W. 43rd St., Mpls.) and there is no wait to be seated because this is a fantasy, and we dine for two hours and nobody pulls out an iPhone. Then, Patrick, I and the kids walk around the corner to have ice cream at Sebastian Joe's (4321 Upton Av. S.) because it's Saturday night and they want to be with us since their teenage friends are boring.
10 p.m.: We head home, hand-in-hand-in-hand, and the kids ask to play board games, which we do for hours. Near midnight, when all is quiet, I slip away.
The Milkmaids are waiting for me to take a moonlit stroll around the lake.