Posted tagged ‘chores’

“Anything seems possible at night when the rest of the world has gone to sleep.”

July 18, 2017

Today was gray when I first woke up. I went back to sleep, and it was sunny when I awoke the second time. I stayed awake. After two coffees and two newspapers, I was ready to face the day. The animals got fed, I took Gracie outside, put dishes away and  cleaned the kitchen counter. That’s it, my chores, for the day. I do have to take Maddie and Gracie to get their nails cut, but that goes into the errand column and is the singular entry in that column. Most of my day will be lazy and quiet.

I take Gracie out for her last outside trip just before I go to bed. It can be any time between 12:30 and 3. It was around 2 this morning. I turn on my outside light, and it is the only light. All of the houses around me are dark. I walk gently and slowly to the driveway feeling with my foot the change from grass to hardtop. It is downhill to the gate and I shuffle my feet for safety. Once Gracie and I are inside the gate, I sit on the deck steps and wait. After she triggers the yard lights, I can see when she’s done and when we can to go back inside to bed. Sometimes I sit outside a bit longer because the night is so lovely. Gracie recognizes my mood and leans against me, her pat me signal. I listen to all the night sounds. I check out the stars. After a while, I drag myself inside to bed.

The night sky in Ghana was ablaze with stars. Nights were never dark. When I slept outside, during the harmattan, I watched for shooting stars. I saw many. Despite the heat, I slept soundly in my back yard. Roosters were my wake-up calls. When I think back, I realize it all seemed ordinary to me, a usual night. When I go back to Ghana, I have the sense that all of it is familiar especially that rooster outside my window crowing as the day dawns.

“Feet that run on willing errands!”

March 31, 2017

The day is dark and cloudy, as usual. It rained earlier, after my paper was delivered because underneath it was dry. It will rain again according to the weatherman. I have a to-do list with three or four stops, including Gracie’s favorite, the dump. I also have a chore list with mostly outside, get done before the rain stuff.

When I was a kid, I hated rainy days in the winter. The walk home was pure misery. My shoes, my jacket, and my bare head would get soaked, and I’d freeze from the combination of wet and cold. Usually about half-way home, at the train tracks, I’d be so soaked I was akin to an ice cube.

Rainy afternoons have always been favorites of mine. I like the darkness clouds bring. The lights are off except for the window lights in the front rooms. Theirs is a cozy glow.

The weekend will be quiet. I haven’t anything scheduled. I could tackle a couple of cabinets which do need cleaning, but, if history repeats itself, I won’t though I do want the cabinet formerly the home of the obese, now departed, mouse, cleaned. Yup, the wee beastie didn’t make it. I knew it wouldn’t.

Boston may get a couple of inches of snow from today’s storm. Groundskeepers may have to shovel Fenway for opening day on Monday. I saw a Red Sox game in Cleveland once, and the temperature was in the high 30’s with a wind. That is football weather. I froze though I did last the whole game with frequent trips to the ladies room to sit on its giant radiator to get warm. The Sox won in the top of the ninth with a three-run homer by Manny.

Well, there’s not much going on in my part of the world so I’ll get dressed and go out to finish the errand list.

“Put that down! You don’t know where it’s been!”

March 23, 2017

Cold, it’s bone chilling cold! Last night I took Gracie out and she just walked around. I kept exhorting her to pee, but she preferred to sniff the ground and check out the house next door. I got so cold I couldn’t take it anymore so we went inside to the warm house. She got up on the couch and went to sleep. A couple of hours later I took her down the back stairs to the yard. I have to lead her down any stairs as she is afraid ever since her fall. I face her and go down the stairs backward holding her halter. That works just fine, and it only takes a couple of minutes. I figure that’s a small price to pay for a loving, funny member of the family who happens to be a dog.

I’m looking for adulation accompanied by a drum roll. I have finished all my inside chores. The laundry is put away, the bed has clean sheets and the litter is changed. I even went to Agway this morning for all my pet supplies. My to-do list is much smaller and only has a couple of errands left.

Mothers bend the truth. Think back to all those warnings our mothers gave us. I never swallowed gum fearful of that giant gumball forming in my stomach. A certain look could make my face freeze and going outside with a wet head could cause a cold.

Some things my mother said were downright silly. I didn’t ever think money grew on trees, and I didn’t at all believe huge potatoes could grow in my dirty ears. After she said that once, I laughed. Big mistake! I ended up in my room. She, after all, was the boss.

I don’t remember what the warning was but my sister told her grandsons they had to be potty trained by the time they turned three. They were. One was even earlier than three. My sister is following in my mother’s footsteps.

“It takes darkness to be aware of the light.”

November 12, 2016

As silly and as childish as it sounds, I want to shake Gracie and Maddie so they can’t sleep. They managed to keep waking me up last night. Gracie was snoring and Maddie was howling. Right now both of them are enjoying their morning naps. They are deeply asleep.  I’m tired.

The weather is consistent. Every day has been in the mid 40’s. Last night the wind howled, and, sure enough, my lawn is covered again. Today is still. It is as if the wind has worn itself out. Later in the week, it will get warmer, to the high 50’s, Indian summer weather.

I am finally getting tired of seeing the laundry bags by the cellar door. I add more wash every day so the bags are filled. It’s time to do the dreaded chore.

Some days I actually have the wherewithal to attack and complete the chore list, maybe because the list is small or maybe because I feel guilty about putting things off for so long. Nope, it isn’t guilt.

The dump is on our list for tomorrow. My trunk is getting filled and more trash bags are still to come. I have to clean the cat box  and add it to the trunk load. I’ll be very careful as last week the litter bag opened and the trunk was filled with the loose litter from the bag. My newspaper and catalogue recycle bags are heavy. Every day I get huge numbers of catalogues. I go through most of them in case something catches my eye though I haven’t much Christmas shopping left to do. I just like looking.

My deck is still open only because Skip, my factotum, hasn’t gotten here yet. I have called, but he hasn’t called me back even though his wife said she’d take of it. I’m thinking it is getting close to Christmas lights so he might as well do both at the same time. I always hate it when the deck is closed. It is the acknowledgement that summer and the warm days of fall have ended. The deck looks so deserted with most of the furniture and the two umbrellas covered. The Christmas lights, though, do brighten the deck and the yard. They keep me going until Little Christmas. That’s when the whole yard is winter: deserted, cold and dark.

 

“Feet that run on willing errands!”

August 25, 2016

Yesterday was perfection. It was sunny, cool and dry. Today is August weather, humid and hot. The sun comes and goes. It hides behind the clouds, but the clouds have no rain. They just obscure the sun. The weather report says maybe tomorrow for the rain. I am skeptical.

Yesterday I went to Hyannis. I couldn’t believe the bumper to bumper traffic heading to Main Street. Why weren’t those people on the beach?

I actually got a few things done yesterday. I had a doctor’s appointment, got my hair cut, changed the bed and watered the plants. That’s the most I’ve done in a single day for a long while. It was all because I had read an article which said that you should have only five or fewer things on your to-do list. You prioritize the items, start from the top and what you don’t finish goes on the list the next day and you only add an item if you have fewer than the five. Having this list requires you to single task, to focus. The whole story is here: https://getpocket.com/a/read/1389934087

It is time to Peapod. The larder is empty. I don’t think I can have eggs one more night even with bacon.

I am so very late today as I made my bed, did an errand, called and spoke to my sister as it is her birthday, tried to fix a couple of lamps and started my laundry. Lee, one half of my cleaning couple, came and he fixed both lamps for me as I couldn’t. Come to find out I can fix a split infinitive or a dangling participle but not a lamp.

“Nothing irritates me more than chronic laziness in others. Mind you, it’s only mental sloth I object to. Physical sloth can be heavenly.”

August 12, 2016

I didn’t leave the house yesterday except to water the plants on the deck. That has become a daily chore. The plants dry and wilt from the sun and the heat so I feel guilty unless I water them. I do have to go out today, but I figure the traffic will be light. Tourists will be wherever they can feel cool, and I doubt in cars and on the road won’t be their choices. The weather report has the possibility of rain here today and tomorrow. I don’t believe it.

Before I had AC in the house, I used to go to a matinee and sit in the air conditioning to watch a movie. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

In the paper today was an article about Massachusetts investigating the possibility of changing time zones from Eastern Standard Time to Atlantic Standard Time. People are dreading winter when the sun sets at 4 o’clock, and it sometimes starts to get dark at 3. We already fall back and spring ahead so changing wouldn’t be all that unfamiliar. The only drawback was being on a different time than New York and Washington. Someone suggested Massachusetts Savings Time but that seems a bit ego-centric.

 

I’m not doing much in the heat, but there isn’t really a whole lot to do. I have a couple of cabinets needing to be organized, but cabinet organization is really far too deep on my list to consider. It seems more like a winter chore.

When I worked, my life was far more departmentalized. My daily stuff mostly revolved around work. I got up at 5 or 5:15, watched the early news as my papers weren’t delivered yet and had two cups of coffee. I left for work around 6:20, arrived by 6:30 and then  organized my day. I got home around 4. I read the papers and my mail, made dinner, showered and went to bed no later than 10. Monday to Friday never really varied.

The weekends were for cleaning the house, doing the laundry and going to the dump. Friday and Saturday nights were empty dance cards waiting to be filled.

Now, despite having all the time in the world, I run out of time. My lists seldom get finished so I move the undone items to the next day. I do the same thing every day so I always have a never ending list, but I have learned not to care. It took some time but I’m now quite comfortable with lazy days, with being a sloth and with unfinished lists.

“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.”

July 18, 2016

The gypsy moths are everywhere. They are brown and small. They flit from spot to spot. When I opened the back door for Gracie to go out, there were three hanging around the screen, but they didn’t stay long. The males are hunting for a mate and are flying to find the females who are too heavy to fly. The female moths exist only to reproduce once with the male moths  After they lay their eggs, moths of both sexes then die. I figure it is no wonder that they spend so much time flitting.

I am still in my house behind closed windows and doors with the AC at full blast. It is far too humid to be out. The forecast is for a heavy thunderstorm tonight. I am skeptical.

Going to the market is on my short to do list. I am out of bread and fruit. Watermelon is my favorite fruit right now. It is perfect for hot summer days. When I was a kid, my mother gave us slices. We had to eat it outside as watermelon slices are messy mostly because the rind always curved because the watermelon was oval. My cheeks got wet from the juice, and it often dripped down my arm. I read that the Japanese started growing square watermelons about ten years ago. I first I thought how strange they’d be then I realized the shape doesn’t matter. It’s the fruit inside. I also need bananas as I have a new box of Corn Flakes, a boring cereal which definitely needs a lot of help.

When I still worked, I had far less time but got everything done. On the weekend, I grocery shopped, went to the dump, did my laundry, changed my bed, watered the plants, prepared lessons and corrected papers. Now I am the queen of delay. When I do a single chore on any day, I feel accomplished. My laundry has been leaning against the cellar door for a few days. I don’t care. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do a wash. But then again, maybe I won’t.

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”

September 8, 2015

Yesterday Boston set a new record for the day’s high temperature at 92˚. Happily we were much cooler thanks to the sea breeze. Yesterday’s leave the cape exodus of tourists was backed up for 6 miles to get over the bridge. I think I would have gone crazy sitting in my car for that long.

Nothing outside is moving. The air is thick with humidity. My street is so quiet it could be an after shot in an apocalyptic movie. The breeze we had yesterday is gone. Today feels more like a day in August, a dog day. It was already so hot in the house, 78˚, that I turned on the AC. When Gracie came inside, her whole body seemed to be panting, but the cool air now has her quiet and sleeping.

September is a neither nor month. It is neither summer nor fall but can be either. Last week it was in the 50’s at night. Last night was close to 70˚. Boston may have another heat wave, three straight days in the 90’s, but by the weekend it’ll be back to the 50’s at night. The temperature doesn’t really matter. September is still my second favorite month.

I had two whole paragraphs written about people who drive me crazy because they are ill-mannered and impolite, but I ditched them as they made me sound like some old lady. I imagined myself stooped, carrying a cane and wearing generic frame glasses. I’d be wearing flowers on my clothes and smelling like lilac. I’d have expectations for other people and mumble when they didn’t meet them. That’s why those paragraphs disappeared.

Nothing much to do today. I think I’ll just read and do a couple of chores to make me feel accomplished. I have already cleaned the two cat boxes, a gross chore. I do need to wash the dog’s bedding and today is as good a day as any. I’m going to order in for dinner. I’m thinking a sub, maybe sausage parmesan. That will be the big decision of the day.

“Erratum. In my article on the Price of Milk, ‘Horses’ should have read ‘Cows’ throughout.”

June 11, 2015

Yesterday was a busy day for me. Gracie and I did a dump run then I did some home chores. One was to attach the umbrella light adapter to the bottom of the umbrella then plug the other end into an outlet. Last year I was clever. I had a hole drilled in the deck for the adaptor to go through then I unbent a wire hanger. The top loop of the hanger was left intact and stayed in the hole on the deck, but the rest of the hanger went into the hole and hung down under my deck. I went and tied the adapter to it, climbed upstairs to the deck and pulled the wire through the hole then attached the adaptor to the umbrella. It was a brilliant idea and well-executed. This year I went to do the same thing. On the first try I got the adaptor tied and through the hole to the ground under the deck. I went to attach it to the umbrella but dropped the wire which immediately fell through the hole. It took me four more tries to get that stupid adaptor end connected. That’s four times under the deck standing on my tiptoes to tie the adaptor, four times up the long staircase and four times on my knees trying to attach the adaptor.

My next job was replacing the storm in the front with the screen. I didn’t do the back door screen, the dog’s door, as I figured nights might still be chilly, and the inside door is kept open. That storm door pane weighed what seemed a ton and it was awkward to move. Going down the cellar stairs was a bit dangerous for me given my penchant for falling. I imagined a fall, shards of glass and a penetrated femoral artery. Luckily all went well.

It was hot yesterday, in the high 70’s. Today is supposed to be the same with some rain later, but there is a cloudy sky and a wonderful breeze. The house is cool.

The Globe this morning had an interesting tidbit of news. The State Police captured one of their most wanted, Keith Truehart. He was found in a hide-out built of wood and sheetrock under a sink in an apartment. It seems no one knew he was there. I’m thinking I’d notice a hide-out under my sink. Anyway, he was wanted for assault and battery on a child, a nine month old baby. From the article I gleaned the baby was his girlfriend’s baby, but this is what I read,”The baby was Truehart’s girlfriend, who lives in the North Main Street apartment where he was captured. His girlfriend is not under arrest at this time.”Whew!

“My mom said the only reason men are alive is for lawn care and vehicle maintenance.”

May 30, 2015

On spring Saturday mornings, my neighborhood was filled with the sounds of fathers mowing lawns with their push mowers. All we could hear were whirrs and clicking sounds. After that came the scraping sounds of rakes. I always felt reassured in a way. The world was as it should be on a spring Saturday morning.

Today is a day much like yesterday. The morning air is cool and filled with sunlight. Some leaves on the backyard trees are in sun while others are caught in shadow. I keep going to the deck just to stand a while in the beauty of the day. While there, I’ve been watching the cardinal couple. They must have a nest nearby as they are always on one or another of the branches by my gate.

I scared a spawn this morning. It was on the back side of the feeder and neither one of us saw the other. When I was right at the rail, it leapt and I jumped.

My lawn is being mowed. The guy has one of those standing mowers which make so much noise. It took him all of five minutes to do my lawn. I can also hear other mowers and edgers being used around the neighborhood. The Saturday ritual continues but is different, noisier, much less personal, much less fun to hear.

When I was a kid, life was serendipitous and spontaneous. I had no obligations, no chores and no places to be. I never needed a list. Now I make lists. They’re my way to stay organized and push myself a bit as I love sloth days. This has been a busy week for me mostly doing errands so today is an around the house day. I have a few flowers to plant, a table to paint, a really small table, a few feeders to clean, the ones for the orioles and the hummingbirds, and my deck needs sweeping again. I have decided, though, not to put them on a list. That would make me obligated.