Sunday, April 13, 2014

Screw the forecast: I declare sweater season dead!

I know. I know. It's early spring. It's Indiana. Additional snow isn't just possible, it's likely.

I don't care. For me, winter is over. Dead. Gone. Kaput. And good riddance.

My winter clothes are downstairs for storage. The snow scraper is in the garage and the trunk of my care is sand bag-free. Best of all, I reclaimed my back porch.  

The porch is really a breezeway between the garage and house. It becomes spillover storage in the winter now so we can get the Mustang in the garage. I don't really mind that so much, though every so often when it's cold out, I'll glance out the kitchen door to see the jumbled mass of stuff and cringe. It's unheated out there so even if it wasn't filled with stuff, I wouldn't be out there. But still. I'm not much for clutter.

In good weather, on weekend mornings, I can usually be found out here. It's not decorator show room material, but it has the stuff I need: sunlight, table and chairs. There's WiFi reach and plenty of audio thanks to the living room stereo or a boom box in the garage.

The church pew doesn't really make sense, I know. But it's the only piece of my dad's carpentry work that I have and I love it. At some point, our family church replaced the old butt killer pews I grew up with. A bunch of the old pews ended up in my dad's barn. At some point there was a rush on having shortened church pews in your house and he shortened some of them. This one, I think, is the one he made for my mom. 

Jonathan Swain says I should put a TV out here, too. One day when I actually do some real home improvement work out here, I might do that. But for now it's a reading/writing/reflection space. 

When Alison was smaller it was filled with toys. If I was out here, Alison was usually with me, playing with crayons or paint or beads.  

She likes being on her own a little too much for my comfort now but I'm trying to be OK with it. She needs her own space and she's not nearly as interested in the Country Countdown as I am. Plus, there's so much light, it affects her ability to see whatever's on her iPad. Gak!

There's still tons of evidence this was once her primary studio. I know I should replace the rug. But those paint stains come from times when Jenna or the Ogdens or Breanna or the cousins were here and it was a melee of paint and glue and glitter and giggles.  Alison's art work used to cover the walls. We cleaned up one year. I can't remember why now. Might have been because the constant sunlight had made most of the colors fade.

So yeah, I have some work to do out here. But for today, I'm going to drink my coffee, listen to my music, read my paper and listen to the birds outside. There are buds on the trees and flowers in my yard.

Winter is over. Welcome back spring!

In other news, I read this piece in the NYT about how to raise a moral child, which reminded me a lot of my dad who was deeply devout but not one to preach at anyone. He was happy to talk about his faith if you wanted -- he was active in jail ministry -- but only at invitation. 

He was my original "lead by example" example. I try, but often fall short and reminded of it when Alison, for example, will relate how many curse words she learned on the mean streets of, well, anywhere I happened to be driving.

But in my defense, the other day she came across a flyer announcing a toiletries donation drive and a walk for the homeless starting at our little park this weekend. It wasn't all that informative about who was in charge of the event, but it was a good thing, so I'd kept it, planning to contribute. 

When Ali saw it, she announced that she would donate from her collection of hotel lotions and potions.  

I swear we buy her as much full-sized soap, shampoo and associated toiletries and girl could possibly need, but she's a hoarder of hotel soaps and shampoos. She's gotten really good at charming the hospitality staff out of additional supplies. One Spring Break we almost had to pay extra to get her suitcase home she'd scored so much booty.

Anyway, it's a big deal for her to part with that stuff.  But on Saturday, she put a bag together that was every bit as full as the one Jeff and I had contributed from our bathroom cupboards.  When we got to the park, we found the donation/walk was the project of a little girl in the neighborhood -- a service project for school. It wasn't fancy. It didn't have the marketing heft of the Komen Walk downtown, but it was a nice effort and we were both happy to have contributed to it.

So she might have a bit of a sailor's vocabulary, but she's a generous soul, too. I'd like to take some credit for that, but I think she mostly came that way. Although, according to the NYT piece: 

 "The most generous children were those who watched the teacher give but not say anything. Two months later, these children were 31 percent more generous than those who observed the same behavior but also heard it preached. The message: if you don't model generosity, preaching it may not help in the short run, and in the long run, preaching is less effective than giving while saying nothing at all."

Jeff likes to remind me that Alison is a sponge and that I really need to watch myself whether it's speeding or cursing or just general bad behavior. I really do behave better when she's around. Maybe I ought to consider behaving better all the time......

Sent from my iPad

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