The cognitive dissonance is only enhanced by the fact that this past Saturday the weather was conveniently gorgeous for the baby’s first birthday party. My wife and I had planned the party to be hostable under our roof in case of inclement atmospheric conditions, but as it went we were able to make full use of the back deck, let the older kids play in the front yard, and generally enjoy a milder clime. Sunday was a bit chillier, but nevertheless the day was put to good use for undertaking a project that had been put off for too long: I rented a pickup truck and carted a ton of stuff away to the dump. When we moved to the house we now live in, the previous owners left some firewood under the back deck, which we never used. We burn fires all the time during the winter, but the wood under the deck hadn’t been sheltered well enough to avoid being soaked by the elements over who knows how much time, so we went about procuring our own logs every year. Then a couple of years ago we had a tree fall into our back yard and knock down the split-rail fence; homeowner’s insurance paid for the new replacement fence but the city was supposed to clear away the debris from the damaged fence. I think? Possibly the matter was in some dispute, possibly it was just a matter of not wanting to wait around while the city ever-so-slowly worked its way through the unbelievable number of recovery jobs that were backlogged after that derecho. Either way, I ended up dragging all the fence rails and posts under the deck, to at least get them out of sight. Then this winter we had one of our regularly scheduled pest control inspections and we were advised that all the loose wood, logs and fence parts needed to be cleared out before our entire deck, yard and house became overrun with carpenter ants.
The trick of course was to find a free weekend day when my wife could keep the kids away from the dirty work I would need to engage in, and for said weekend day to come when it was not too freezing cold and the ground was not too covered with snow and ice, yet also before it got too warm and any Camponotus americanus already nesting would have woken up to wreak their havoc. So it was clearly a stroke of good fortune that this past Sunday more or less met all of those requirements, and it was a weight off my shoulders to cross that particular task off the to-do list.
Granted, spending all that time going back and forth and back and forth from the piles of rotting wood at the rear of the house to the truck in the driveway gave me perhaps a little too much time to contemplate all of the other things that need doing around the house, the deck repairs and staining and fence re-staining and weeding and seeding, and that’s just in the little C-shape I repeatedly traced as I transferred junk. I could come up with just as many outstanding items from the opposite side of the house, or inside the house, or probably in some other abstract life-dimension if I really put my mind to it. The work never ends, which is not exactly earth-shattering news but is something I’m acutely aware of, however incongruous obsessing over spring cleaning while it’s snowing like mad out there may seem.