When Should I…?

It’s June already!  For some time now, I’ve had to begin making decisions about what gets done when.  Like when to put the garden in.  Some of those are easy to decide, considering many are based on what Mother Nature has in mind.  Some aren’t quite so easy.  Especially with the fickle weather lately.

When should I run the gas out of the snowblower?  May 1st always felt like it should be the correct date.  But I’ve learned that early May is too early.  Sometimes even later is too early.  In the back of my mind lurks the memory of that certain May 10th.  I don’t even remember the year, but I do remember that I was still teaching, and still swimming at the YWCA before heading off to school.  When I left that morning, at about 5:30, it was snowing/sleeting and, unbeknownst to me, the temperature was headed for the basement.  The trees were covered with snow already, and that was quickly turning to a thick ice coating.  By the time I came out of the Y, it sounded like the local gun club took up residence.  Cracks and rumbles, snaps and crashes gave voice to the many tree branches–and whole trees!–were tumbling to the ground, taking power lines with them.  Upon finding out school was cancelled, I worked my way back home, which involved many detours to avoid fallen trees and lines.  That memory being seared into my brain, I now know to wait until June 1st to run the gas out of the snowblower.  I just hope the climate doesn’t change so drastically that I’ll have to move that task to July!

When should I hang sheets outside to dry?  Here, Nature and I have a tacit agreement.  If the sun is out, there’s a bit of wind, and the temperatures are around 50, even sometimes in the 40s, I can bundle up, put out the umbrella clothesline, and hang out the sheets.  Sometimes, I get fooled and clouds gather, threatening rain.  Then it’s a race between me and the incoming storm as to which will reach out backyard first.  If it’s too early, I end up resorting to the dryer.  At least we have a dryer to resort to!  Occasionally, I’ve taken down what feel like dry sheets, only to discover that the coolness is due to damp, not air temperature.  Too late, they’re down.  I’m not putting them back out.  Shove ‘em in the dryer.  But when it works out, when sun and wind and temperature align, we get the best tumble dry in the world.  There’s nothing like the fragrance of a sun-warmed sheet to float onto the bed.  I almost hate to put blankets down, the sheets smell so good.  It doesn’t last, of course, but that first gust of sunshine brought inside is something to be cherished.

When should I buy a new car?  Right now, I’m driving Ruby, a 2006 Rav4 with over 134,000 miles on her.  Just yesterday, I found the first spot of rust!  It’s the size of a pea, right above the rear bumper.  Is that a sign?  Not yet, I say.  She and I have a symbiotic relationship.  She protects and transports me, and I keep her maintained and cleaned.  Well, sort of clean.  I learned early on not to let others load my bike.  The one man who did, put a scratch in the plastic interior. Sure, it’s way in the back, but still.  Ruby cooperates nicely when I put down the back seats, protect her deck with an old bedspread (making sure to cover the back bumper), and gently roll the bike in.  See?  No damage.  She’s transported not only one bike, but two, when a friend and I purchased identical e-bikes (different colors, however).  We were able to stack them without making so much as a nick.  I’ve piled in tents and camping gear, coolers and duffel bags.  Lining the back with a huge tarp, I’ve shoveled in black dirt and mulch without so much as a complaint.  Once, on a family trip to Door County, we even brought an Eastlake table back by turning it upside down and piling our gear on that.  Gardening supplies, tools, long pieces of pipe or wood, all of that fits in.  When the seats are up, we delight in carting grandkids around.  Even with one in high school, we can fit three kids in the backseat with no major brouhahas erupting.  So why should I get a new car when Ruby is tooling along just fine?  Well.  A rearview camera would be nice.  Warnings of close cars would be useful.  A GPS system…  I could go on.  But I don’t want to frighten her into quitting unexpectedly on the freeway one day in retaliation of such thoughts.  Guess I’ll wait a little longer, and keep an eye on that rust spot.

How about, when should I stop writing?  Stop reading mysteries?  Quit playing piano?  Get rid of the husband?  Ha! Never!  Never ever.