And now the end (of the school year) is near…

Memorial Day is on Monday, and that is the unofficial start of all summer festivities. The weather hasn’t really fallen in line with this plan, and this can be proven by the mad rush to respond to TWO frost advisories over the weekend.  The advisories, of course, were announced after we’d put in quite a bit of work in the garden, and a mad dash to find the frost blankets ensued. After all the work I’ve put in organizing the garage, the frost blankets WOULD be the thing I couldn’t find easily…

J’s insistence on the snow boots was justified; not because of snow, but because of the sudden chill that filled the air these past few mornings.  When J indicates it’s not time for shorts and sandals, it’s best to listen to him.  It makes sense to him…that’s all that matters.

The string of snow days this winter (and early spring) has given J some anxiety about the end of school.  I can tell he’s looking at the calendar and dreading that the school break is approaching fast.  The clearest indications have been the pasta luncheon, the class picnic, and bringing home his ceramics pieces.  He KNOWS we’re almost done; he doesn’t particularly feel ready for this yet.

Looking around me at all that I still need to do to prepare for this, I’m not really ready either.  My trip to the crafts store yielded very little by way of potential occupations for J, and until I install the roll-up blind to block the sun from his “spot,” it won’t be really comfortable for him to sit out there.  Hopefully, this will all be done by tomorrow as I am expecting the roll-up blind to be delivered today.

Another issue has arisen over the weekend: the new neighbors (two doors down, and with a clear line of sight from J’s “spot”) have a dog.  Right next door, but behind J so he can’t actually see, lives a tiny Yorkshire Terrier.  J, of course, is terrified of the tinkling miniature bell and the eager, friendly yapping this precious puppy emits.  Every single effort I’ve made to help J get acquainted with the dog have failed miserably, and he will want the dog gone even if we are upstairs and it is downstairs, running around the lawn.  I have tried to explain that this is not a Disney dog, able to fly, leap, cavort, cartwheel and speak…J is scared of the high-pitched, friendly barking.  The grapevine has brought to my ears that the Yorkshire Terrier and its four roommates (human all) will be moving at the end of summer.  What has arrived nearby is a bigger, seemingly more sedate canine.  As long as we don’t get the Hound of the Baskervilles between there and here, and as long as we don’t get Marmaduke or Clifford bookending our patio, J should be fine.  Now…for that line of sight: polyethylene shade fabric?????

I am sincerely hoping that this measure is unnecessary.  If the price of meats has increased, the price of everything else isn’t standing still.  A geranium of measly size was going for nearly six dollars when I stopped to buy soil this past weekend.  The price of polyethylene fabric is nothing to write home about except with OMG, did you SEE how much!!!!…attached to it.  The corn (a hybrid intended for growth in planters) and potatoes (a hope-against-all-hope attempt) might provide us with enough coverage on one side of J’s sightline.  I am encouraging the zucchini to do the same in the other angle.  The wall-o’-peas is in progress, but I think the beans are bush beans and don’t really do the trick when it comes to blocking out the view.

One of our main aims when we moved to this unit was to have a view of anything but the road, and the children who would mill about the deck asking J impertinent questions as he sat there listening to music.  Behind our townhouse there is enough space for us to have our grill, two chairs, our garden, and -at the bottom of a very small slope- there is a tract wide enough for a truck, not yet covered in grass, and then a sharp drop before another such tract, and then the ravine.  To the southeast of our patio are more finished units, all of them populated by people who seldom come out on their decks, use their patios, or even look out to check the weather.  On the other side we have two finished units -the end one is now occupied- and another row of still-under-construction units.  The complex provides a playground, a pool, a basketball court, a gym, and plenty of areas for bike riding.  WHERE do you think the kids have been playing???

Yesterday evening, as we were cooking dinner, no less than ten children were running around our patio.  Some sort of “war” was taking place, and our vegetation was serving as camouflage for the combatants.  I have decided that I will have to sit outside looking formidable while J sits in his spot, if only to make sure he doesn’t  get startled by the sudden appearance of loud kids running in what we expected to be a semi-isolated spot.  I think that, with the arranging we’ve done, no one will want to walk their dogs close to the deck, but some people love a challenge for their pets and might think “gee, maybe Fido can get a decent workout navigating between that tiered herb planter, the zucchini and the kale while bypassing the step IF we can get close enough to the railing.”  The image of J pulling a Wile E. Coyote comes to mind…only involving the screen door, and the sliding glass door…

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There’s much to do still, and time is ticking…  The ice cream truck made its first tentative foray into the neighborhood on Friday, but we missed it because the kids were at the gym, and we had gone to the grocery store.  The pool is being cleaned.  The plants are growing.  J is refusing to let go of his snow boots and long pants…

Summer is crawling towards us…stealthily!

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