If you are like me, it’s easy to think these sweaty days will never end. The truth, unfortunately, is that in just a few short months there will be no more grilling, no more zipping out to the park by the river or lake after mowing a hot and sweaty lawn, no more of the fun stuff that makes summer the free and easy season I’ve always known and loved.
Now comes those stupid chores that make winter barely tolerable each year. “Stupid,” however, fails to express my true feelings. When I say “stupid chores,” I actually mean those totally stupid godawful dirty filthy pain-in-the-butt tasks that I do only because I’d die in the deep winter if I didn’t do them. That, and Sofia gets crankier the longer I put them off.
So now I am scurrying around my property preparing for winter.
First, there is cleaning the chimney.
This is an important task. Sure, cleaning the chimney of all that creosote will help prevent a fire from burning my house down and keep my wife and mother-in-law from having to start over by moving into a station wagon. More importantly, it will protect me from the embarrassment of the whole town seeing the goombah who lives next door who doesn’t know enough to keep his house warm in winter without setting fire to the whole dang neighborhood.
The one chore I always forget is to mark the path of the driveway.
This year, I plan to put lots of poles with colored bits of ribbon on them so that my snowblower won’t puree the forgotten lawn toys I’ll inevitably leave in the yard over the winter or have it crash into the bulkhead to the basement, cracking my home’s foundation … again.
It’s a good idea, because the parking area around our house looks completely different in winter, and where I think the driveway goes actually has little to do with where it really is. It comes as a bit of a shock in the spring when the snow melts and I realize that I’ve been driving across the ditch to the road using a bridge made of compressed slush and the luck of the oblivious.
I should make a checklist for winter preparations, but then I’d have to follow it each year. There must be a simpler way.
Our hunter-gathering ancestors had the right idea when they moved from location to location, following the good weather and easy hunting, and I figure they did that just to avoid winter chores.
Andrew Birden is the general manager of Northeast Publishing and the founder of Fiddlehead Focus. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-764-4471.