I bet you’re happy to see the snow melt. I’m not. That snow has been hiding a lot of things I didn’t want to think about, and now must.
I was out closing the shed doors one afternoon because the stick that holds the handles together crumbled and I had to replace it. Sticks are cheaper – and handier – than a new hasp. I glanced up at the corner of my house and sighed. I could see the edges of some shingles. It looked like someone had shuffled a deck of cards and not put them neatly back together. It’s two stories up, so I couldn’t see much more.
We have one of those TV antenna towers by that corner of the house. My father, in a fit of cheap, yanked the cable service one time to teach them a lesson. I think they’d jacked it to seven dollars a month, which my father decided was usury. A friend offered to put up a tower, at which point my mother stopped speaking to that friend. In it went and my mother was stuck dialing a box to try to get Dynasty to come in through a field of snow and static.
The day after Dad was gone, Mom called the cable company.
I should take the tower down, but it’s become a really useful way to climb up to the roof. I’ve been told it will entice burglars, but not only is there someone awake here around the clock; the only thing I would miss would be a stack of Steinbeck novels I’ve painstakingly acquired from second hand book stores and my good vegetable peeler. I don’t think either of these things is on most burglars’ hit lists, though if they were, I’d probably invite them to stay for dinner.
Christopher, 22, was in charge of tidying up the yard last fall. The conversation was short.
“Go clean up the yard,” I told him.
“You need to pull the dead stuff from the garden, give everything a good rake, put the hose away and turn the planters.”
Ari, 19, came home from school one weekend and the two of them got the leaves out. Since being away at school, this boy has come to appreciate me in a whole new way. It’s remarkable, even if it’s not particularly contagious. They soon found a football and started throwing that around instead. Watching them play catch with Michael from across the street, I stood in the window all weepy that my babies had grown up. I totally forgot they were supposed to be doing yard work, which I’m sure was part of their diabolical plan. It snowed that night. The winter that would not end made soft lumps out of everything Christopher didn’t get to, which was essentially everything.
The demise of the snow revealed crud that should have been disposed of last fall. The only way I know what kind of garbage day it is, is by seeing what everyone else is putting out. Last week, I noticed a neighbour had an old table out, which meant I could toss some big stuff. It was also garden waste day, so I tried desperately to cram paper bags full of last year’s mess. I cut my finger, and waited until there was a lot of blood before coming in the house. In a voice weakened by injury, I told Christopher to go finish up. Two can be diabolical.
There’s a to-do list on the counter. I think we’re both waiting for Ari to get home.