Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring is springing!

There's nothing like a long, snowy winter to make me appreciate spring. Our daylilies along the street are poking their heads up, and there's even a few white croci. I raked for a couple of hours last week, and Dave did some more this weekend. Dave brought in some forsythia branches with buds yesterday and stuck them in a vase, which'll brighten the living room when they bloom.

Yesterday morning was quite productive. Dave turned the hose back on and Lily and I scrubbed screens and put most of them into their windows. It's great to be able to open windows again! Following Dave's example of last week, when he had spent an hour vacuuming the Prizm, I did the same yesterday with the Subaru. We keep our cars pretty clean, and the only one who eats in them is Lily, when we pick her up after school and she's ravenous. But every time we got into the car this winter we brought along a sack of sand and crud on our boots. It took awhile but it sure is more pleasant to ride in.

Aside from the usual housecleaning, we have more screens to take out and scrub down. We need to do a thorough spring cleaning of the inside of the house, including windows, and beating carpets and washing blankets and sunning comforters. We are always tweaking various rooms, especially Lily's: She has a new desk and file cabinet in the office off the kitchen (where all three of us sit now) so we're going to freecyle the desk in her bedroom, which she has outgrown. We might put a futon or something in that spot where she can read and friends can sleep over. We also have to look again at her playroom in the basement, which is cold in the winter, and doesn't quite work as is. She's also outgrowing most of her toys, although she's not ready to give up her Playmobile, Pollys, or Barbies (the Playmobile stuff hadn't had much use for a couple of years, but then I inherited a Playmobile hospital, and the stuff has a second life).

Still need to figure out how to hang things on the fireplace, such as my Amish baby quilt. I miss seeing that. I want to put up some family photos in the den. I want to sell the secretary in the family room upstairs; we just don't use it and we need the space. We have big house improvement projects that we need to prioritize and budget for: insulation; a new roof; getting the mold out of my studio (or out of the storage room it sits on); figuring out why the living room fireplace has a backdraft; installing a wood stove into that space.* And smaller ones: finish the two basement windows that were replaced 18 months ago. Paint the upstairs bathroom. Figure out how to get lots more hot water into the Japanese soaking tub.

And that's just the inside. We don't have money for anything outside, but we had a landscaper take a look and he suggested we start an oak barrel garden in the backyard this spring. We don't get a lot of sun, as anyone who's been here knows, despite the chopped-down hemlocks and Dave's tree-thining. We probably have a few more hemlocks to take down in back, but the oaks are so huge--and we're not taking them down; they're gorgeous--we'll never have much sun. But we should have enough for some tomatoes, basil, zukes, cukes, stuff like that. I'd like that.

The important thing is that spring is here, although you wouldn't know it based on the 40+ temperatures today, along with a cold rain. It's full-on mud season, but even that is better than having the front yard two feet deep in snow. Our yard is a wreck because of the piles of hemlock branches that need to be chipped up and the stumps ground out.

Other signs of spring is the smoke from the sugar houses, and the full parking lots on weekend mornings. The bears are also awake. I haven't seen them yet but I hear my neighbor has. I am told that the usual bear we see around here is a tagged female, and as it's spring, and black bears breed every two years, and she had cubs the year we moved in (two years ago in June, can you believe it?), I assume the next time we see her she won't be alone.

On a different note, the Wondertime office is now officially gone. My stuff was all gone in a week, but as of March 31 everyone had to be officially cleared out, and our id's and passes and corporate credit cards returned. Of course the day after I turned in my credit card I got another one in the mail from Disney. But even that is gone, now. I've deposited my final checks and severance and I registered for unemployment last week. I am working on my resume but there aren't many openings around here for someone with my skills. Still, I have to look.

I do miss Wondertime, but it's not an ache. I told my boss that my heart was broken when I was laid off from Life 11 years ago, and it's not that I didn't fall in love with Wondertime, but I think I always kept part of my heart in reserve. Once your heart is broken like that, it's hard to trust again. And a magazine--print media in general--is not a good place to lose your heart to any more. It's something to say that I am living during the end of nearly 600 years of the printed word.

What I miss in particular is the work. I did some volunteer freelance editing for a friend here recently, and was reminded again how much I truly love editing. This was a very well-written short book, but I was able to make what I thought were some good suggestions about word choice, along with standard copy editing. I am doing my own writing now, beyond the blog, and have an essay that I hope to submit for publication soon. If it's accepted I'll take about it more in this space.

* When we were househunting, I was the one who wanted a fireplace, despite my friend Nick's warnings that fireplaces suck 75 percent of the fire's heat out the chimney. I have learned from experience that it also sucks most of the heat out of the entire room. After two winters of that, along with a couple of power outages that meant no heat (pellet stoves need electricity to generate the auger and the fan that blows the heat from the burning pellets), I am ready to embrace wood heat. The new stoves are much more efficient than stoves even from a decade ago, and they must meet stringent emission standards and ". . . produce about 90 percent less particulate matter - smoke - than older stoves. After a fire is ignited, you should see no visible smoke from the chimney, so neighbors won't complain and the foul smell, and thick smoke won't blanket your yard either." Plus they all have glass windows now, so you can watch the fire inside.

So I hope next fall we are using a wood stove for heat as well as beauty.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.