Ah, spring – almost. If you’ve lived in the South for any length of time, you understand more than just a little bit how fickle Mother Nature can be as she begins a day in the low 30s only to have the late morning sky take on a cornflower blue on the way to a 70-degree afternoon.
Two days later, we have the ice storm of the decade leaving roadside ditches filled with fiberglass and steel carcasses belonging to Yankees who say Southerners can’t drive in the snow. The Southerners are working from home waiting for the stuff to melt after lunch so they can go about their business without spinning out on the ice that no one can drive on – including the snow birds.
It’s an annual ritual, this getting through March before retrieving the summer wardrobe from the attic. In fact, we’ve been known to spend Easter in wool as evidenced three years ago when Sunrise Services were covered in frost.
Folks who move down South wonder why we have such large walk-in closets. They wonder, that is, until they’ve spent a year here and realize that one’s full wardrobe must be accessible October through April since the temps here can change on a dime. Around here one can spend Thursday in sweaters and corduroy, but be in shorts and tees by Saturday.
We’re experiencing something along those lines right now. Mr. Fix-It, however, is still learning that three warm days in a row do not a North Georgia season change make. With a warm weekend preceding the 65+ degree days we’ve enjoyed early this week, he embarked upon a couple of outdoor projects of gigantic proportion. With my spring break from school this week, I had hoped for a couple of small indoor projects we’ve eyed over the winter, but no-o-o-o-o-o…
Instead, I get the indoor projects (along with writing a master’s thesis) while various tools and house parts are parading past my office window. We’re talking about stuff I’ve never even seen, much less that we were going to be incorporating into the house. You name it: doors, windows, tile, sinks, plumbing dooflotchies and electrical whatchamajigs, not to mention a couple of saws that defy description – it’s everywhere. There’s got to be an underground bunker someplace beneath this place; the rooms we have in the basement aren’t big enough for this to be stashed and me never know it existed. We have another house in the house. Where have I been?
There must be a method to this madness of Mr. Fix-It’s: Keep her confused with “Where did all this stuff come from?” and by the time she realizes I’ve made something she didn’t know about, it’ll be too late for her to say, “Not at my house, you’re not!”
It all goes along with the male philosophy of never cleaning up anything that will just get dirty again. Of course, everyone loves to sit in a house with an inch-and-a-half of dust coating every surface. How stupid of me to think that anyone would have any reservations about sifting through a week’s worth of junk mail, twelve newspapers, and a ski pole to find a place to sit.
At this point, I’m just hoping the weather holds out until this latest project is finished. I’m praying it won’t be like when we started a remodeling job with “Why don’t we paint the dining room this weekend” only to come home late one afternoon the following week to find the tub in the back yard, carpet on the street, and commode on the deck. There were sawhorses in the master bath and the refrigerator was in the middle of the floor. I’d only been gone since 8:30.
Three years later, the dining room was finished.
You see, after ten years with Mr. Fix-It, I have learned that his modus operandi is to keep me busy cleaning up after him and the cats so that I don’t notice he’s built a three-bedroom lean-to with hot tub and spa in the back yard. Whenever he finishes one of these projects, he’ll come into the house with this Cheshire-cat grin on his face – so proud that he’s managed to pull one over on the ol’ girl. Aren’t I the sly one? She never knew what hit her. She’ll never know 'til she sees the bill.
Neither will he.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. E-mail comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.