Sunday, April 24, 2011

The to-do list

I have spent several days already poking around in my backyard to see what's there and what I want to do with it. The previous owner did a lot of planting and then left it for a few years before I came along. So some stuff has probably disappeared, other things are outrageously overgrown, and still more has survived and spread amazingly. There are some mysterious bits as well, odd placement of rocks that weren't there before.

There are tonnes and tonnes of tulips and various other spring bulb-type flowers. Some of which I can identify---crocuses and hyacinth---and others I recognize but don't know the names of. Lots of hosta too. I am not much of a flower gardener, I don't have an easy familiarity with the flower world. And not much of a vegetable gardener either, I have not had access to a good-sized bit of land in a very long time. In fact not since I last lived here 25 years ago.

A friend has been helping me poke around, she is a frustrated gardener living in an apartment in the next town. She keeps gardening tools in her car trunk, in case she happens upon a gardening opportunity. Right now I am one of her gardening opportunities. She has identified some of the plants and tried to tackle pruning various shrubs.

Another friend has offered me a sustainable source of free horse manure and a book on Lasagna Gardening. She suggests that rather than dig up my backyard that I simply lay down cardboard and spread some of her horse manure on top with various other things to create a garden without digging. The avoidance of digging sounds good to me.

But to start a garden I have to build some frames to hold all this manure and figure out best locations for these frames that will get the most sunlight. I have too many trees strategically placed to block the sunshine and don't care to cut them down. The local sawmill is closed this weekend so I have to wait until after the Easter holiday to get the lumber to build the frames.

Then I have to get containers to hold the horse manure in my truck. My friend suggests plastic tubs from Home Depot, but another friend insists that I should not buy tubs but rather get ahold of free plastic pails with lids. However she cannot suggest a good source for free plastic pails. Then she suggests feed bags from the farm where I buy eggs. She is all about free stuff. Meanwhile I am thinking that tracking down all this free stuff will take so much time, I just want to get the garden started.

While my son was visiting here the other week he pointed out that the basement toilet seal needs replacing. He said it was a fairly simple job but messy. I dutifully went off to the hardware store and bought the stuff I'd need to do the job but have put off doing it because of aforesaid messiness.

A couple of months ago I bought a new faucet for the kitchen sink, and initially had it sitting in a prominent location as a reminder to actually install it, but after a month I finally moved it to a shelf behind the furnace in the basement because I obviously was ignoring it anyway. One of these days the existing faucet will give out altogether and then maybe I'll be motivated to install the new one.

My free-stuff friend told me when I first moved in that I needed a gate on the basement stairs so that she wouldn't fall down them (she's blind). I have designed a gate and bought the lumber and cut it up but not yet assembled or installed it. Not being blind I don't fall down the stairs, and I stand in the way when my friend is visiting.

I visited a local weaver and she showed me around her studio and introduced me to her sheep, she proposed a deal to get me started weaving on my loom which I am very interested in but so far I have not acted on it.

I have a banjo under my bed that I want to learn to play and yet another friend pointed out that a very able banjo teacher lives just across the street from me. I have not contacted him.

Are you starting to get the picture? I have all these things I need or want to do and none of them are getting done! For no good reason other than laziness, procrastination and not knowing where to start.

The list above is just the tip of the iceberg, the most blatant unstarted projects. I can list off at least a half-dozen other projects without thinking, and probably a dozen more if you give me a little time to think about it. I try to list things but my lists are always incomplete, and often I only remember the stuff that I need to do when I can least do them, or even round up pen and paper to write them down.

People ask me how it feels to be back in the house that I sold so many years ago. I shrug my shoulders and say it doesn't feel like anything. I guess this house is so familiar to me that I don't have any unusual feelings about being here so what can I say? It doesn't feel odd or right or anything at all.

I think the closest I can come to identifying what it feels like is that I lived here, I went away and travelled a bit, and then I came back. I'd like to think I am here for good now, but I have learned never to say never. I might never leave again, or not.

But I must say that this is the first spring in a very long time that I have not felt a sustained deep and irresistable urge to be on the road. I get flashes of it occasionally, but nothing to get me planning for it.

I almost feel like writing emails of apology to farflung friends that I won't be visiting any time soon, except that this is one more thing to add to the list above and is being treated in much the same way.

I remember that when I left this place I was lonely and frustrated, I couldn't wait to go someplace different and start over. Loneliness continued to be a constant issue, it was always hard to create a social life for myself. I lived in several different cities over the years and came up with a rule of thumb that it generally took two years to create a social life that worked for me.

Returning here has been quite shocking in that my rule of thumb has been trashed, it is as if my social life hit the ground running. I can't keep up with it. Half the reason I don't do all the things I talk about doing is because I am wallowing in movies and concerts and dinners out and trips to the city with friends, not to mention choir and yoga. I crave downtime, and when I get it I feel guilty that I am not taking care of all the things I should be taking care of.

I started this blog living in Toronto and ironically one of my first postings was "So, having no social life I read" (also, "My so-called social life" and "January blues"). I did quite a bit of writing then. Ah those were the days...

Now I am lucky if I get to it every couple of weeks. Faced with the choice of writing a blog post or writing the damn list of things that I should be doing, the list wins. Not that it does me any good. Too many friends, too much music, too much fun.


Things I have accomplished this week: hung some pictures on the walls, assembled and setup a composter and transferred winter's accumulation of compost into it, got the computer fixed (thanks Kurt!!!).


Barbara Anne said...

Nice problem, to be in such a fun-filled social whirl that your to-do list gets longer and longer. I hear you!

Have you ever changed a toilet seal? If not, be SURE to have a large, wet rag ready to stuff in the plumbing pipe that the toilet sat on top of. This blocks the stinky methane gas that is also a danger to breathe and is explosive. When the toilet is re-installed and you're ready to turn the water back on for it to fill, take the wet rag out of the pipe! You're so adept at everything, I'm sure this is old information you've known since you were a wee thing, but better a repeat than a mistake.

Hope you can sort out how to manage your time to your own satisfaction.


Annie said...

I have not changed a toilet seal before but I did run into that important tip in a video I found on the "HowStuffWorks" website. In the video they use a something wrapped in a plastic bag that they stuff down the pipe.

Still haven't done it yet, am a great procrastinator!