Clean Sheets

Hey, 2021, leaving already? Didn’t enjoy the party? Oh, wait, that’s right, you weren’t the life of the party, you were the party pooper. Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry, don’t let the storm door hit you on your way out. Good riddance!

Perhaps I’m being unfair. There were a few good things about you. Vaccines and boosters, mainly. The brief summer respite when we could unmask and hug each other. But then you let the frat boys in, Delta and Omicron. Way to go, dufus. So float away into the vast beyond, 2021, and fade from my memory, like 2020 before you.

Maybe this year I’ll be able to remember what day it is.

While you were keeping me at home, 2021, I managed to (finally) read the Iliad and the Odyssey (Fitzgerald translation, highly recommend it) and I got through all of Jane Austen (at last.) I started what is sure to be a years-long process of reducing the size of my lawn, returning a lot of it to a state resembling forest floor, and plotting additional raised beds of veggies, plus an area for a firepit.

I’ve been complaining for years about my neighbor’s obsession with burning their yard waste, and how they seem to generate mostly smoke in the process. But they recently transformed their entire backyard into essentially a farm, and they managed to harness their pyromania into a controlled area, and learned to build a fire that burns hot enough to minimize the smoke.

I got myself a stainless steel bonfire vessel that’s supposed to be nearly smokeless, and I’m going to park it in a corner of the yard, with fieldstone and pea gravel instead of grass.

In 2021, I created the veggie garden I’ve always wanted, with raised beds surrounded by gravel, enclosed by an utterly ineffective fence. The squirrels went insane burying their stash in my beautiful beds, probably because the soil is so soft and easy to dig. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find buckeye seedlings coming up in the spring. Gonna have to mulch the heck out of those raised beds this year–apparently squirrels don’t like to dig in mulch. Who knew?

I spent a good part of yesterday, New Year’s Eve day, housecleaning. It’s amazing how good a thorough vacuuming can make you feel. Changed the sheets on the beds, scrubbed the bathroom with my new, non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning stuff, that’s supposed to work miracles on grout. No miracles, but it does look better.

Truth is, I’ve never liked New Year’s Eve: enforced gaiety over an artificial line in the temporal sand. I watched some of the live programming from New York and Nashville, and the large, unmasked crowds just made me feel queasy. I fell asleep before the fireworks.

But I do like the sense of a fresh beginning: New Year’s Day has always been a moment out of time for me, a day to just read, relax, and revive.

The real work starts tomorrow.

So without further adieu, this year’s New Year’s Revolutions (ok, apparently I wrote an obligatory New Year’s post saying I was too old for these, but I’m in the mood this year):

  1. Read the Riverside Shakespeare, cover to cover;
  2. Make it through a year of intermittent fasting, no exceptions: no dinner, eating window between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., until I’m back to where I want to be;
  3. One cleaning or organizing task a day, and a thorough swabdown of one level of the house each weekend;
  4. Finish writing my novel;
  5. Keep two fuchsia alive indoors until spring (2nd year in a row);
  6. Find a trustworthy companion for Angelic Daughter, and bust her out of this house to release her from boredom and frustration as soon as it’s safe, and finalize a plan for how she’ll live without me and who will take care of her when I’m gone (on vacation, I hope!);
  7. Find a group of people who love what I love and make some new friends, in person;
  8. Perform random acts of kindness more regularly;
  9. Don’t die;
  10. Live each moment gratefully, joyfully, as sustainably as I can, with kindness, and without fear.

Not too tall an order, right?

Regarding #10, I’m going to try a scary experiment: I’m going to open my Facebook page to everyone, not just friends of friends, and remove the requirement to enter an email address to make a comment here. Because I’d really, really like to hear from you all, kind and generous people who follow this blog, about your plans for 2022, and how we can make it a better year, together.

Until then, I remain,

Your hopeful but practical, with a winter storm a-comin’, anticipating shoveling every 2 inches from 11 a.m. until 6 tomorrow morning, like Mike did,


2 thoughts on “Clean Sheets

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