A Doctor And A Mother And A Day of Doing Neither

Today was Patriot’s day and Marathon Monday and the first day of school vacation and a sort-of holiday for many. But not for the hospital. Not for my clinic. Not for my brother or my dad or many of my colleagues who dutifully drove in to exam rooms and flourescent lighting, on this most gorgeous spring day.

I (rather brilliantly, I must say) took the day off. I didn’t know it was going to be a raucously glorious day, weather-wise. I just figured it would be heinous traffic to and from, given where my office is and where the marathon ends and all the security et cetera. And we were going to toilet-train Babyboy this week, it being school vacation week and we weren’t going anywhere. But oh, what a pleasant surprise, peeping out the door to get the paper, still in pajamas, scooting out just for a sec as Babygirl picked at her frozen bluberries in the highchair and Hubby and Babyboy dozed upstairs. Lingered just a tad on the front walk. Let our indoor cat step hesitantly into the dewy grass. Crocuses and daffodils and dogwood trees waved in the just-a-teensy-bit-cool-but-will-warm-up-later breeze in celebratory nose-thumbing at Old Man Winter. It smelled like spring. Hmmm. 

My mother usually picks up the kids from their schools on Mondays, and brings them over to her place for the afternoon, as I am usually at work until late-ish and Hubby is either traveling for work or working… Monday evenings are typically dreadfully hectic, and the kids stay up too late, and the whole week starts off badly, every single week. 

But not today. Nana offered to take the kids for a stretch of the day so Hubby and I could Get Things Done. So we accepted and made a plan and dropped the kids at her place at a decent late-morning hour and headed to… the big-box gardening store. 

We have a small yard, but it’s green and garden-y and cute. Thank god the previous owners payed something frightful, I’m sure, for really good landscaping. Saved us alot of money and trouble. But after five years of living here, things are getting ragged around the edges. Neither hubby nor I has had much extra time nor energy to devote to the poor yard. My seasonal decorating has been pretty much limited to the front door and steps: a wreath in wintertime, pots of flowers in the spring and summer, and pumpkins and dried corn in the fall. 

But now, Hubby has a job with downtime. The man works in sports media, and until this year, he covered football, basketball and baseball. You will notice that these sports overlap each other in the calendar year, and hence, Hubby rarely had a day or two off, for basically the first thirty years of his career. Right now, we’re in baseball season, and for the first time, Hubby is NOT working baseball. For any of you with a spouse who works in baseball, I am so sorry. They might as well be on assignment in a gulag somewhere. Or a neurosurgeon. It’s day in, day out, no letup, on the road or home, looong days. This year, Hubby hit the big time, the big show, the real deal, and now works in football only. It’s hectic in the fall, but right now, the man can actually sit and look around the yard and say, “Crap. This yard’s a mess.” 

We hosted a small neighborhood gathering this weekend, an impromtpu Easter-egg hunt and barbecue. It was remarkable because we didn’t really decide to do it until Thursday, and yet we had a great turnout. It was casual and low-key and really, mostly for the neighborhood kids to see each other and play, and for us adults to chitchat a bit. We all felt like we were bears emerging from hibernation, like, we all live next to each other and we haven’t seen each other since October. It was all good, and especially good to pull the grill out and get that smokey meat-sizzle smell all over. Yeah! Winter is Over. 

Though he spent that morning cleaning the yard, and it looked neat enough, I could tell Hubby was a little pained at the idea of entertaining. The garden dirt was a bit dry and crabgrass had started coming up here and there. Our lawn has big bald patches, either from Babyboy’s digging with his diggers or our lack of care. The bushes were kind of overgrown. There were still leaves and sticks here and there. 

So today, with both of us free and the kids at Nana’s, we gardened.

We bought 12 bags of cedar mulch. I picked out some pretty pink geranium-looking things to plant by the front steps, and marigolds to put in pots. We raked. Hubby raked a ton and has the blisters to show for it. I planted and potted my plants. We even sowed grass seeds into the bald patches. We bought a huge bag of birdseed and filled all the bird feeders. I am a total sucker for the neighborhood fauna. We get chicadees, cardinals, blue jays, morning doves, and the occasional wild turkey… Then we watered everything down and admired. 

It was heavy work that took hours and hours, and my back and shoulders are feeling it. It was also totally enjoyable, in the way that mindless, dirty, sweaty work is totally enjoyable. Monk work. People pay good money to go on retreats to do this kind of thing, a la meditation in nature. Hands in the mud, in the dirt, planting new life, right? And, the yard looks sharp, to boot! 

Wonderful way to spend the day off. 



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