Supposed To

April 13, 2008 by Ellen Stimson in New England, Spring Cleaning, Springtime, Vermont

It was supposed to rain all weekend. Only then it didn’t. It wasn’t actually sunny, but the clouds were thin, and you could just imagine the sun if you squinted a little. It was in the fifties which after this particular winter practically felt like summer. I opened the windows and felt the breeze. The birds were singing like mad and the day seemed filled with possibility. On a day like that you can start thinking up all kinds of things…The first thing I did was cut some pussy willows. They are covered with buds and I filled a fat blue vase on my desk with tall branches remebering the ones in my Gram’s house when I was little.

I was supposed to be doing our taxes. This is a particularly complicated year, what with the selling off of the Alamo, and the new startups, and the big piles of losses that demand counting. So I gathered them all up, and headed out to the front porch. I swept away all the twigs and some old Christmas greenery that had snuck in under the porch railing. For a while I spread everything out all over the floor and the table. But it was useless of course. I kept getting distracted by the birds at the feeder and the need for a perfect latte to go with the day. And I wanted to sit on the swing. Only I didn’t just want to sit there, I wanted to swing which is not conducive to adding sums or writing in tiny little boxes. Things would blow, a spring-drunk twenty something would spill his mango tea… I was forced to come back inside and spread out my mess on the desk like a responsible grown-up.

But I could still hear the birds. This softening of winter had gotten them all excited too. The cold had relaxed, and it seemed, finally given way. The chickens were rooting around in the leaves at the edges of the woods. I watched from the window as the dogs chased a deer down in the meadow. It was a sort of half hearted loping event, with the deer outrunning them by a mile. But still they went all the way down where they haven’t been since last fall. They did it because they could I think. There was all that tantalizing ground to cover. And who knew what might be going on down there. They could be chipmunks or who knows who was out?

I had all these notebooks for figuring and making lists of things I wanted to remember for one of the corporate returns, only instead I started doodling. I made lists of spring chores. We need to lose some weight around here. At the top of the list was bagging up all the old clothes and taking them over to the donation pantry. That ought to get rid of a couple of hundred pounds. And there are dozens of magazines in every room. There are gardening magazines, and seed catalogs from all that winter daydreaming. There are piles of political magazines from the most exciting campaign ever which did help chase away some of the winter blues, but left a big bowlful of frustration in its place. And the cabinets too seem to have grown weary with apple butter and six or seven rejected balsamics. I’ll bet if we really got down to it we could shed five hundred pounds.

And that’s just the beginning. There was also the fix it list. At the top of that one is the fence John drove through last winter. And there’s a rotten front step on the porch.
There’s chipped paint everywhere. There’s the woodwork I banged when I was hanging a rope of felt hearts around Valentine’s Day. The mirror came crashing down and paint chips flew everywhere. But it was too depressing in the middle of winter, and the house too cold to dry paint, to even begin to consider repair. Stuff like that…

My lists of possibility grew and the taxes taunted me. I gave up around four, maybe halfway done, filled the bird feeders, started a barbecue, and took a walk with the dogs. But today it is really supposed to rain. Today I will accomplish those damn taxes. I can. And I will. Well, maybe after I have a latte out on the porch before the rain starts…


  • beeskness

    You have until Tuesday. I say leave it all.
    Drink lattes, make lists, and watch the birds….

  • katiedid

    Think of all the miserable Americans this weekend slogging through these damn 1040s. Most of them don’t have the respite of your porch. There is whiskey though
    Come to think of it can I come over for a swing and a little coffee? I may have overdone the whiskey, just.

  • Molls

    I love to make lists too.
    A few years ago there was a book of list collections. I can’t remember the title but some of them said things like:

    sweet butter
    find silver belt
    break up
    take day off
    get cheesecake recipe

    They were wonderful glimpses into the character and lives of the writers…Come to think of it, kinda like blogs

  • the mother of this lot

    All my life I wanted to live in Vermont. Coming here feels like I have achieved an ambition!

  • sara

    Thanks for your kind and encouraging words about writing to the editor. I think I’ll do that!

  • Law Student Hot Mama

    Damn taxes. I can’t bring myself to do taxes. I did it once and I intend to never do it again. I even made my poor husband do them IN IRAQ! Just picture some poor forlorn soldier sitting at a computer with W-2s. But in my defense, he had all the documents with him already . .. which makes it ok, right? *sigh*

    One time, I went to H&R Block and my tax consultant peed himself. Yes, peed himself. In front of us. So . . . really you can’t win.

  • Kellan

    I loved this. I’m so glad that spring is coming for you – that the birds are singing like crazy!!!

    Have a good week E – see you – Kellan

  • Family Adventure

    It was raining here all weekend…if it isn’t raining where you are, I am so glad you are taking advantage of it and enjoying the outdoors.


  • library lady

    I am almost as tired of all the tax talk as I am of politics–but I’m not bitter!

  • bessie

    I think we should choose the date on the honor system. They’d probably still get the same crazy control freaks on time and the rest of us wouldn’t have to have all thej ail nightmares that come with April 15th

  • Bia

    Some people may call it procrastination, but sometimes it’s a gift to give into the urge to celebrate nature, or read a poem, or have that latte while sitting on the porch.

    The taxes will get done. They will.

    God bless.

  • Amy

    You are a wonderful writer. I feel like I am standing in that meadow soaking up your spring day.

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