At Large : Spring chores
A week or two ago, when it rained a little almost every day, and a lot on some days, spring was a dream. This week, spring is no more than a bygone fancy. Summer's here, and it promises a long, dry, hot few months ahead. The season.
A week or two back, I was ahead of the spring chores. I looked out the window at home and thought, no problem, I can get my arms around this.
This week, I'm behind, and I may not catch up.
Nothing brings the despair home so penetratingly, or inspires such desperation, as a visit to the boat in April for a look around. Never mind the home front, where the yard needs lime and fertilizer, broken branches litter the ground, the gardens need mulch, and the dirt road is mostly washed out, it's the boat's forlorn appearance that strikes at the soul. Peeling varnish, cracked paint, damp, smelly cushions, servings and splicings that need renewal, oil and fuel filters to be changed, the bilge to be cleaned - it's as if the passing of a mere winter testifies to a lifetime of neglect. Unfair. Not true.
Sunday, my older son and I spent the morning painting. I had done the prep work, but not very well, so we missed the satisfaction we ought to have taken from our work. Fortunately, there remain plentiful opportunities for redemption.
The cabin is filthy. Tools, paint pots, varnish, sandpaper, dust, spare line, fire extinguishers, emergency flares, life jackets lie all about. It smells moldy. Every drawer or locker is jammed with stuff that had come aboard important and had now become debris. We've added special containers for tools, filters, plumbing stuff, electrical stuff, paint stuff, and on and on, each carefully labeled, but every storage space is small, awkward and difficult to get at. After something's been hauled out and used, replacing it is a chore that gets neglected.
We admire orderliness, but as we have accumulated bits of this and that, orderliness has become a dream. Still shipshape and Bristol fashion was the goal, and remains so.
The weather Sunday was hot, and we chatted as we painted. We soon found that the paint dried so quickly that if we didn't quit the talk and move along, the patch just painted would dry and a visible and disfiguring line would mark the intersection between it and the next patch. We needed to hurry anyhow, because my son had exams to study for, and his presence, though desirable from my point of view, interrupted the far more important work he ought to have been doing.
It has suddenly become one of those springs whose pace has accelerated so briskly and so suddenly that everything is chaos, and the outcome, whenever I tick something off the list, mildly unsatisfying. Too much to get done, too little time, and a race from one place where I'm behind to another. It's a shame too, because sitting beside your son, chatting and painting the boat on a hot Sunday morning, ought to be luxury for a father, leisurely, carefree, and comforting.