house,  nature,  new york


1-1237928534hqIcThe weather has been the very definition of mercurial here in sunny New York.  On Sunday, someone made off with all of our Fahrenheits, and we had to pull out every item of our much neglected winter wardrobes to run our errands, shivering in the stiff wind that registered somewhere around -17.  By Monday, the temperature had risen thirty degrees, which made admiring the new snow that started to fall on Baba’s face much easier.  She blinked as it fell on her cheeks, eyes wide open and staring as her second Presidents’ Day turned into something magical.

On Tuesday, the transit system failed me, but the weather had risen another twenty degrees, making me wonder why I bothered with a jacket at all.  If you’re going to spend an hour outside, wondering about how your life would change if another train never arrived, you could do worse than to be doing it in a delightfully warm rain.

When the trains are screwy, I remind myself that if a late train is the worst thing that happens to me all day, then I have had a pretty good day.  It makes me feel better (and not even entirely because it makes me feel superior to my fellow commuters, who are often not displaying their best behavior).  But it is true — if being late to work is the worst thing that happens to me in a day — in brilliantly spring-like weather — I’ve had a pretty darned good day.  And the train did, eventually, arrive.

Beyond the weather, it is a season of change for us.  Perhaps it is having Baba to measure things by, but it has become much easier to track the passage of time.  We are planning on moving this year, which means finishing up all of those projects around the house that we’ve been meaning to get to for ages.

Perhaps the biggest change is that after a stay of seven years, my kid brother has moved out of our house.  It’s changed our family dynamic, but also given us a new project in changing his former bedroom into something fresh, something new.  There are certain perils to objects like drywall and carpets when you have a teenager living in your home and over the course of seven years, his bedroom took some significant damage.  So we have had to take stock about what to mend and what to replace.  In the end, we are fixing the walls and replacing everything else.  We threw out a bed, but kept a bookshelf. We have been patching, sanding, priming and painting, which is a very different type of work than what I usually spend my time doing.

In true Dickensian style, I hate painting.  I love painting.  It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.  Painting is awful.  Painting ceilings, as I had to do in my brother’s former room, is absolutely awful.  And yet, there is something so deeply satisfying in looking at a freshly painted wall and knowing that my hands made it nice again.  I go to bed exhausted and satisfied, knowing that my efforts of the day are permanent.  For a while, at least.

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