I’m often accused of not seeming to take much notice of what is otherwise all too obvious to others.
For example, before Christmas, my wife started complaining about the decrepit winter jacket she’d been wearing to walk our giant dog Rodney. She went to the trouble of pointing out the holes that had formed in the pockets and even sent me an email putting a new jacket at the top of her wish list.
She ended up having to buy one for herself when we celebrated her birthday last month.
Recently, however, even I’ve noticed that what has turned out to be a long winter may finally be coming to an end.
My first clue came last weekend when the sun rose the day after West Virginia lawmakers finished their regular legislative session.
The second clue came when it finally dawned on me that while my wife enjoys the warmth of a winter coat, our kids don’t. It took me most of the winter to figure that out, but I’ve now come around to their cavalier attitude toward jackets. Asking them to wear one when its freezing outside is like asking Rodney to stay still when squirrels dare to stage an incursion into our back yard.
It’s not going to happen.
I spent much of this winter alternating between the threat of force, offering bribes and feigning utter disdain. But when temperatures plunged again earlier this week, I didn’t even blink when my son emerged from his lair in the basement wearing nothing but jeans and a T-shirt.
At least our daughter showed up wearing a hoodie, but even she draws the line at actually wearing a warm jacket. Goosebumps must be fashionable among teenagers these days.
Aside from my newfound willingness to shrug my shoulders at our kids’ seeming preference to freeze, there are other signs pointing to winter’s end – the main one being the calendar. It claims spring officially starts next week, but as I’m a journalist who can’t count beyond the full human compliment of fingers and toes, I’m only going to mention one more – the yard.
I’ve actually begun thinking about the yard. Specifically, I’ve started thinking about sowing grass.
The experts say fall is the best time to spread grass seed. But I’ve usually had it with yard work by then, so that leaves me with what they say is the second best time – spring.
In my case, however, there’s no really good time. I might as well put grass seed directly in the bird feeders for all the good it does me to go to the trouble of spreading the stuff. I have resolved, however, to redouble my efforts to grow grass instead of letting the weeds have their way.
I have a lot of work ahead of me, not the least of which is overcoming my own ineptitude. Looking ahead, though, I’ll be happy if I end up with a 50-50 split between weeds and grass. In fact, 60-40 would be okay. Even a 70-30 split would be better than what passes for an acceptable lawn at our house.
With my reputation for obliviousness, though, as long as the yard is green and doesn’t cause our kids to break out in a mysterious rash, I probably won’t notice a difference anyway.
At least, not until it’s long past the time I’ve put the lawn mower up for the season and then it will be too late to do anything about it until, well … spring.