I blasted out of bed this morning with a fire in my belly and a burning desire to get to work. Today marks the first week of my official summer holiday and as much as I love teaching math, I've been itching to get started on the long list of projects and odd jobs that need doing around here.
But here's the thing. I don't actually make To Do lists.
Oh sure, in my head, I may keep a running tally of tasks I want to accomplish. And when they threaten to overflow my brain, I sometimes grab a marker and download them to my laundry room white board.
Then I ignore them.
Because my favorite way to get motivated to get work done is to simply mill around outside and wait for a job to present itself to me.
Now I must confess, somewhere deep in my DNA, I am driven to work.
I love to work.
All around my yard are cozy places to sit in the shade or lounge in the sun, always with a table nearby to rest a cool drink or a book, and another chair or two for someone to sit down and share the moment.
But the wild irony is that I have no desire to sit. I'd much rather pull the latest crop of weeds, trim back the dead rose canes, mulch the hostas, or do any one of the other hundred thousand things that need doing around the yard.
Which is why I don't need To Do lists to motivate me or direct my energies. I just go outside, wander around until inspiration strikes, and then get to work.
One job leads to the next and the next...until the hours have flown by and my big brown-eyed dog is gazing longingly into my eyes, reminding me that walk time (and doggy dinner hour) are fast upon us.
Today was a perfect case in point. What with the new fence project that just wrapped up in my back yard, the whole place had the look of an abandoned construction zone. Which is to say there was a lot of cleaning up that needed doing. Without any forethought or plan of attack, I managed to spend the whole afternoon in constant motion.
^ I'm a barefoot person. I chalk the habit up to my country upbringing, but here's the twist: even though I grew up toughening my tootsies on rocky dirt roads, splinter-filled wooden docks, and endless picker bushes, I now prefer to pamper my summer feet on perfectly smooth and flawlessly clean surfaces. So that means I spend obsessive amounts of time hosing and sweeping my backyard patio until it is perfectly, immaculately, ridiculously clean. Today, facing the fallout of the fence project, I fell into a major session. When every inch of the big stone pavers was once again sparkling, I set up my mom's iconic directors' chairs in their time-honored summer spot.
Except now I really want to pressure wash the whole shebang. Maybe over the weekend.
^ Here's another long look at that spanking clean patio, as well as the raspberries that I oh so carefully pruned and re-barked. The poor plants took quite a beating during the fence work, but now that I've tucked them in to fresh beds of mulch and pampered them with the soaker hose, they may just forgive me for the abuses they suffered under the heavy boots of the fencers.
As I was working, I came across the first red ripe raspberry of the season. I ate it. And it was delicious.
^ Oh, right, laundry. My washer has been on the fritz lately and the loads have been stacking up for a solid week. But the repairman came and worked his magic this morning so in between the outdoor chores, I kept the machines humming all afternoon. The bath towels spent some quality time out in the sunshine and Gracie cleverly worked their shade to her advantage.
^ My vertical succulent garden is quickly approaching her fifth birthday, just as charming as ever. Over the years - and especially after the winters - she needs a bit of TLC so for the past month, she's been lounging flat on her back in the sunshine, allowing the latest generation of baby succs to settle their roots in the freshly topped-up soil. Today was the big day when we wrestled her back into place against the new fence and all is right in my world again.
Favorite Thing #568 about my husband's work-from-home situation: Me yelling through the open window toward his desk, "Hey, when you have a minute, can you come to the backyard and help me for just thirty seconds?"
His standard response: "Uhhh, I'm on a call."
His standard response: "Uhhh, I'm on a call."
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That's not all I got done today.
I dumped everything off the potting bench, carried it out to the yard (see Favorite Thing #568) to hose it off and scrub it clean, sorted through all the pots and saucers, old seed packets, homeless plants, and dirty tools that had accumulated there, discarded more than half of it, and put what remained back together, better than before.
I put the finishing touch on my new raised planter boxes by mulching the tomatoes and strawberries I planted over the weekend, and watering everyone into their new happy home. Still to come: copper tape around the bases of the boxes to keep the slugs at bay.
But you can bet your bottom dollar that I won't be writing that on a To Do list any time soon. I'll get to it sooner or later, and then I'll add it here, on my Got It Done list.
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P.S. I sure don't need a To Do list to remind me to take Gracie on her walk every day. Today, we headed out right on schedule, around five p.m., and came back to her full dinner bowl waiting for her at the front door.
Then, while she ate, I weeded out a couple small gardens near the front patio. Another job added to my Got It Done list.