Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Summertime, and the living is easy filthy

Eight days ago, I had the furnace on at our house. On Victoria Day (last Monday), I brought the boys to the Agriculture Museum and it was sleeting – kids were dressed in coats and mittens and a few were in those fleece one-piece thingees. Last night, we discussed turning the air-conditioning on as the humidex topped 35C (100F) and the boys sweated in their beds.

Ah, summer in Ottawa. Ya gotta love it!

Actually, I do love this weather. My absolute favourite kind of day is warm and humid and hazy, especially between sunrise and 10 am or so, when the air is soft and heavy and fragrant. Oh, the smell of lilacs and tree blossoms on a sticky May morning! I’m a summer child – the heat rarely bothers me, and a stretch of sultry summer days does more for my mood than a whole bottle of xanax would.

We spent the whole weekend outside. On Saturday, we had a garage sale and although it wasn’t the most profitable enterprise ever, we cleared close to $100. More importantly, though, we cleared out junk. Goodbye boxes of clothes that were donated to us but never used (at 50 cents a piece, our most popular item). Goodbye espresso maker wedding gift that was only used five times and still managed to give me a steam burn three times (a steal at $5). Goodbye half-sized pine deacon bench ($8) and Bateman House solid pine spice rack ($6), both acquired last year at garage sales and still sitting unused exactly where they landed in our garage a year later. Goodbye paperbacks by the pound – at 50 cents each we didn’t sell half of what we have and still probably made $20 or more. (My mother is a paperback addict, and I benefit from her cast-offs. You need some Janet Evanovich, James Patterson, John Grisham or Michael Connelly, you come see me and I’ll set you up.)

Sunday, I figured 25C plus humidity was a great time to spend sprawled in the sun on blue plastic, scrubbing last year’s algae out of the seams of our oversized kiddie pool. You should be proud of me, because algae is one of those botanical things that scares the bejesus out of me, like several weeds in my garden. I don’t know why I get the creeping heebie jeebies from algae and moss and weeds (only some weeds, and especially seaweed) but I do, so getting up close and personal enough to scrub dried algae out of the pool seams was an act of commendable intestinal fortitude. Not like rescuing kittens from a burning building or anything, but we are all heroic in our own ways.

And then since the pool was clean, I decided we might as well fill the damn thing, so I spent another couple of hours setting it up and smoothing out the wrinkles, and left the hose on for six hours to fill it. Can’t wait to see the municipal services bill this month!

So, after completely rehabilitating our outdoor environment, we’re ready for summer. (Well, almost ready. Still gotta wash the patio furniture and weed the back garden beds, and get some annuals. And get my bike tuned up. And plant my sunflowers. But we’re close!)

And after spending two glorious days selling, hauling, cleaning, digging, soaking, and scrubbing, I come in the house on Sunday evening after celebrating my dad’s birthday with my folks and take a look at the inside of my house and want to cry.

There’s grass on the carpet. There’s dirty footprints on the linoleum. There’s dishes stacked in the sink. There’s unfolded laundry spilling out of the basket, now hopelessly wrinkled. Drawers full of toys have been dumped and shelves of books have been emptied. The few garage sale no-sales that I allowed back into the house are stacked in a corner, awaiting re-assimilation. The place is a war zone, and at 8 pm on a Sunday night, bodily exhausted, there’s no way I’m going to start cleaning it.

Maybe I should just pitch a tent in the back yard and forbid the kids from entering the house until September. Because if I can't keep the inside of the house clean when we're housebound by winter, there's no way I can keep up with indoor and outdoor domestic chores.

It's a good thing these summer days are so long. I'm going to need the extra hours!