Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why I Love Spring

There's something about winters in Utah that can drive a person to insanity. And not just any old crazy, either -- I'm talking serial killer kind of nuts. The inversion we suffer from in January through the end of February is almost unbearable. Everyone drives around the valley in their filthy-dirty cars, hacking up the gunk that was once in the air but now coats their lungs, squinting their eyes trying to make out where the silhouette of the mountain peaks should be... People are short-tempered and depressed, and after 4:00 PM when the day turns to night (I'd say the sun goes down, but there is no sun during those months) the only thing that seems to provide any kind of distraction from the dreariness is consuming unhealthy amounts of comfort food while watching really bad sitcoms. Unless you have the where-with-all to make frequent ski trips up the mountain to escape the smog (and I don't ski), you're stuck. No relief.

When March rolls around, its like tasting chocolate for the first time. Suddenly the sun is gleaming, people start smiling again, and everywhere you turn, you see short-sleeves and clam-diggers -- despite the fact its only 50 degrees on a good day. Men are back on their bikes, women can't stop talking about what they're going to do in their garden that year, and kids...well, kids finally shed the monster-skin they somehow developed during the winter and start acting like their former-summer-euphoria-selves again.

I, for one, feel like a new woman. Since Jonah started kindergarten in the fall, we have become slaves to his ridiculous 12:20-3:10 PM school schedule. I'd like to say I run a tight enough ship to provide these guys with a decent before-school activity, but I really, truly do not. Our daily schedule goes a little something like this:

7:00 AM -- Jonah wakes up and fails miserably at "playing quietly" while Sam continues to sleep.
8:00 AM -- Sam wakes up and he and I shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and wait for Jonah.
8:30-9:30 AM -- Jonah eats breakfast.
9:30-10:00 AM -- Jonah showers.
10:00-10:45 AM -- Jonah runs around the house, naked, while playing with toys.
10:45-11:00 AM -- After being threatened 100 times, Jonah finally gets dressed.
11:00 AM-11:50 AM -- Jonah plays with his food and eventually...eventually eats his lunch.
11:50 AM - 12:00 PM -- brush teeth, try to clean the resulting sparkly toothpaste off the counter, search frantically for two matching shoes, "Where in the world is your backpack?!" 12:01 PM -- "Everyone out the door NOW!"
12:04 PM -- Kids strapped in the car, mommy requests a few moments of silence.

See? Try as I might, there's just no way to make it to the museum or story-time at the bookstore before school. The library is sometimes doable simply because its down the street and we can make it home by lunch, but even that is pushing it. So at mid-day, Jonah goes to school, Sam takes a nap, and by the time the afternoon rolls around and both kids are at home and awake, I suddenly find I have an army of monkeys in my house jumping off the furniture, dumping out the toy chest, and fighting to see "who can be the loudest" while I struggle to get some sad-excuse for a dinner (usually involving potatoes...I don't like potatoes much) on the table.

But now -- oh joyous now! -- with the sun pouring through the window and the breeze just hovering around no-jacket-needed weather, the moment I see those little eyes skirting about looking for mischief, I can now open the door and usher them outside to explore, dig, and scream to their hearts' content. This afternoon I sent them out with a small container of bubbles and didn't see them again for an hour and a half (though I listened to the giggles through the open kitchen window). An HOUR and a HALF. Do you know what a mother can accomplish with a childless hour and a half?! Laundry! Dinner! Bills! Heck, I could clean the entire HOUSE with a spare hour and a half! Okay, maybe not the whole house, but I could definitely make the bed. Did I do any of that? Of course not! I watched Oprah, read some emails, and ate half a bag of Goldfish crackers. I deserved it. I needed it. After a winter like the one now in my rear view mirror, one afternoon of slacking off was just what the doctor ordered.

I. Love. Spring.

But, lest you think otherwise, I did manage to get dinner on the table, too.
And this time, no potatoes.

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