Oh, my God, you began human history in a gorgeous garden. Sadly, our own backyard attempt was no Eden—Klingon sticker weeds almost won! But my valiant husband spent hours of sweaty toil reclaiming our land. Not that he’ll let me forget that. But OMG, didn’t he do an awesome job?
June — and flip-flops — have invaded America for the season, appearing in offices, fancy restaurants and even at weddings. But the change in footwear reflects only a tiny fraction of our monumental summer lifestyle shift.
School is out, graduates have flipped tassels, and parents/teachers/students have flip-flopped their schedules. School buses hibernate, and millions of children remain at home to spend quality time with beloved siblings.
College kids also have abandoned books, eight-o’clock classes and the joys of dormitory living to converge on home. All to spend quality time with their parents’ Internet, refrigerators and car keys.
Flip-flopped Fun Time
We empty nesters change our stodgy ways, as relatives and friends — freed from winter’s icy grasp — target travel in all fifty states, particularly those where mooching a free month’s lodging is legal. Especially if we nesters live near the ocean, the mountains or Disney World.
In view of the above, Congress should enact a law that establishes a ceiling on laundry levels, especially beach towels and sheet changes. No wife, mother or hostess should awaken on a sunny morning to find herself a victim of a hostile laundry takeover.
Also, before Congress adjourns for a well-deserved (?) vacation, why not demand laws requiring automatic shut-offs on kitchen ranges from June through August? After all, salad actually tastes yummy during summer. Although in a dietary flip-flop, ice cream does, too.
I vote for ice cream.
And for s’mores. I dislike marshmallows, yet when summer arrives, I admit an urge to bury myself in bear-infested woods, building campfires whereby I roast them (marshmallows, not the bears) and me. I sacrifice delicious chocolate bars and perfectly good graham crackers by slathering them with marshmallows, even feeding s’mores to my grandchildren.
Dastardly grandma crimes of this magnitude committed in February might evoke stern frowns from nutritionally correct parents. But what can they say, when possessed by similar summer madness, they probably buy them deep-fried Oreos at county fairs?
Occasionally, the carefree, “whatever” lifestyle of summer does us in. Maybe we’ve listened to “Good Vibrations” too many times with the car windows down. Sniffed one too many citronella candles. Carried too many pounds of sand in the seats of our bathing suits.
Perhaps months of wearing flip-flops not only have affected our arches, but also our brains.
But isn’t summer worth it?
How will June, July and August flip-flop your life this year?
All winter my siblings and I redecorated our small home as only a tribe of vandals can. We adorned every door, wall and window with gritty handprints. We decked the halls with crayon and lipstick art. I don’t know how Mom endured the slush and slop tramped on her carpets and waxed floors — courtesy of Mother Nature, who forgets everything she knows about housekeeping that time of year.
Still, Mom always looked ahead to better things and sunny days — when she could lock us outside.
Unlike most women of her generation, she did not begin spring cleaning with scrubbing walls. Not that she was soft on dirt. Mom didn’t tolerate halfway measures in dealing with grime — or sin.
When I came home from school and found hardware store paint chips on the kitchen table, I knew spring had officially sprung. Before the most optimistic robin chirped, before the calendar made it legal, my mother already had launched her yearly painting campaign.
For weeks she had hoarded a dollar here, a dollar there, so she could hit the paint sales. She held tiny rectangles of Heavenly Blue or Perilous Peach against dingy walls and stared for hours. We kids shrugged off this annual ritual as one more symptom of mom insanity. Fortunately, she ignored us. Every spring she covered our transgressions with coats of forgiving paint, recreating the house from one end to the other.
She also aimed her mighty paintbrush at ugly furniture stained by old bubble gum and purple Kool-Aid. Hand-me-downs from relatives, secondhand store finds, throwaways — she joyously transformed them all into quirky works of art. Once she antiqued a boring 1950s bedroom suite in colonial blue. Another spring she painted end tables orange.
If Mom still felt the paint itch, she sought out other places that needed color and warmth. My dad often pastored small, poor churches with cheerless Sunday school rooms and dark, scary basements. Mom and her paintbrush to the rescue! One spring she climbed a tall ladder and painted the outside of their church.
Eventually, health issues slowed her down, then Alzheimer’s. She still managed to paint both her front and back porches — and, unfortunately, the shower stall.
She is in heaven now, healthy and strong, enjoying the perfect home and a well-deserved rest. But I suspect if her beloved Lord needs a corner of His universe painted, she’s already showing Him color chips.
What spring ritual ushers in spring for your family? Painting? Cleaning? Locking your kids outside?
Oh, my God, this weekend it snowed. Thundered. Hailed. Blew. Walking to church, we had to avoid ice on the streets. Yet, with the sun’s chilly afternoon rays, Hubby changed the oil on the lawn mower and raised the pop-up camper. OMG, is he a man of faith or just crazy?
O my God, thank You for our weekend in the city. A luxury hotel at a bargain price. Steaks, seafood, Chinese. An incredible symphony performance that made our hearts sing. Now we’re home again. Work. Laundry. And nobody jumps to fill my coffee cup. OMG, so glad You live here, too!
O my God, this house is a mess. But You weren’t fussy about your birthplace—a stable whose inhabitants weren’t potty-trained. A world even nastier than that. Today, You still knock at our doors, longing to enter our grimy houses and grimier hearts. OMG, thank You for braving our mess!
What’s wrong with this calendar I bought last March? Perhaps I should expect flaws in 90-percent-off merchandise. But my bargain declares we soon will see Christmas. This cannot be. As of November 30, I was supposed to have conquered the world.
Or, at least, defrosted our geezer freezer. This faithful appliance contains a prehistoric package of meat, the remains of a five-year-old Dairy Queen cake and 2,000 pounds of ice—mainly because I didn’t defrost it by December last year. Soon it won’t close. Then it will do its wheezing, freezing best to turn our junky garage into a Winter Wonderland.
I shoulda cleaned my oven before December. Yet, why scour if I’m going to grease it up again at Christmas? Turkey-flavored Christmas cookies aren’t so bad.
The kids who formerly helped with raking have scattered farther than the leaves. Now my husband and I hold annual competitions to see who can crack their vertebrae the loudest. This year, some leaves are hanging around for Advent. Maybe delusional oaks think they’re Christmas trees?
I shoulda renovated my flower beds, too. Bags of bulbs have lingered in my garage since 2003, when I last anticipated conquering the world. Maybe those underachiever bulbs already snoozing under blankets of soil will show up next spring. Raising perennial flowers resembles raising children: parents drown in guilt about nurturing miscues, yet their progeny spring forth in brilliant glory. Other times, when we lavish attention on them, they sulk and refuse to get out of bed for years on end.
At least, I never left my kids on the porch after frost. My house plants are another matter. I stuck them there last spring, hoping for improvement. (Holiday gift tip: Giving a writer plants is like sending them to a plant concentration camp.) As frost approached, I reminded myself repeatedly to bring them in. But the “improved” plants now resemble greenish hat racks.
I shoulda “winterized” my car by now. (Why do we never “summer-ize” cars?) I detect a few sniffles from my Ford. I’d better let the grease gods give it a flu shot.
I did obtain my shot and tune-ups with doctor and dentist. But repairs on this (ahem!) mature body resemble maintenance on my 1960s ranch home: for every check off the list, five more materialize.
Now, with Christmas coming, to-do items on my list are reproducing like – like – Easter bunnies!
Wrong season! Maybe they bought discount calendars, too?
Feel free to add your to-do list moans and groans. We can moan and groan together.
But please don’t let your to-dos get too friendly with mine!