Note to self: Keep the glasses ON

I keep going on and on about what a pretty spring this is. The view of our back yard (from the bathroom of all places) is one of my favorites. We’ve spent a lot of time working back here and still have a long way to go (can’t take credit for the azaleas, they came with the house). But it’s FUN, and we can’t wait to do more. (This particular view also hides the perpetual “burn pile” we have going.)

Unfortunately, we have a little obstacle in the path to the garden of our dreams. Here’s the view of the back yard when you take off your azalea-colored glasses…

Yes, we’re still waiting for our new retaining wall (even though we OK’d the estimate for it in February). And it’s been over a year that we’ve been looking at a muddy mess and dodging various piles of rubble in the driveway. Mike gloomily said the other day, “It’ll probaby be August before they show up.”

But that’s not to say we’ve been sitting around moping (well, maybe moping, but certainly not much sitting). Our kitchen remodel is done — without a doubt the biggest project we’ve tackled. And it’s beautiful, if I do say so myself.

I’m also very happy to say our garage door replacement is done — well, done as far as I’m concerned, Mike tells me there’s much still to be done, and he will fuss with it for a while yet, but the changes won’t be visible to anyone but him, so let’s just call it done.

We’ve also scoped out how we can create “the world’s smallest powder room” in a converted coat closet. We’re hopeful when the plumber is here doing our sewer repair (in August, with his friend the retaining wall guy?), he can tackle the plumbing for that as well. Here’s the “before” — before we tore the wall down behind the coats through to the hallway by our back door (connecting to the “cubby” where the refrigerator used to reside). I don’t even mind the mess (visible only from the back door) because it’s so minor compared to the kitchen upheaval for all those months.

Concurrent with (and sort of as a part of) the sewer project, we’ll also be repairing the front porch — fixing the damaged foundation and column bases and replacing at least part of the porch floor (with the rest a project for later). I dreaded having the front porch roof propped up (likely for months), but ya know, it is what it is. I can’t fix it any sooner, so I better learn to live with it. (And notice, the daffodils still bloomed.)

So, today’s lesson: Keep the glasses ON. For now, they’re azalea-colored, then they’ll be iris-colored, then peony-colored, and right on into rose-colored to salvia-colored to lavender-colored to black-eyed-susan-colored. I’ll have plenty to tide me through the next five months — right into a glorious maple-and-mum-colored fall. And after that…well, let’s just forget about what comes after that. Slush-colored glasses will never have quite the same appeal.

Being an optimist after you’ve got everything you want doesn’t count.
~ Kin Hubbard

“April is the cruellest month…”?

Who was T.S. Eliot kidding? From where I sit, wrapped in a blanket in front of my computer screen with sleety snow falling a dark windowpane away, April seems like a distant image of heaven — a paradise of popping bulbs and budding forsythia. And the three remaining days of February — one extra this year — an eternity. Only to be followed by more of the same in March — dreary, windy, blustery March.

Boo hoo — such is life north of the Mason-Dixon Line. We’re all sunlight deprived, you know, and SAD is a fact of life. Or maybe it’s depression brought on by sugar deprivation. (I gave up sweets for Lent in my annual nod to my Catholic upbringing. It about kills me every year.)

Every winter I think, “Why the heck do I live here?” And every spring, summer, and fall, I remember why. What’s keeping me going now is the notion that we finally have someone lined up to do our retaining wall project (in theory anyway). After staring at and maneuvering the cars around a mountain of mud for a year, I can almost envision the lovely “hardscape” that I’ll be able to garden around and that will give the back yard a polished “someone loves me” look. And the thought that we’ll actually finish those garage and porte cochére projects that cold weather forced us to abandon last fall. And maybe this will be the year the front porch gets its much-needed overhaul. And those atrocious collapsing railings around the porch roofs will finally disappear. Oh, and we should really get those storm windows we talked about. And those slates on the garage roof need attention, not to mention the rotting eeves. And all those bricks to move somewhere else — the ones we thought it so important to save when we knocked down the old pier in the driveway. And I can take off the back door and refinish that too, and maybe we’ll spring for that new storm door…

On second thought, why am I in such a hurry for spring? Maybe April really is the cruellest month. I wonder if T.S. lived in a fixer-upper too…

Winter is the time of promise because there is
so little to do – or because you can now and then
permit yourself the luxury of thinking so. 
                                        ~ Stanley Crawford