Here's the Scoop: September 21, 2011

Catching some porch time
“How was your weekend?” It’s a common pleasantry, designed to take the edge off the back-to-work grind of a Monday morning.

The question, of course, is not meant to probe. It’s more of a greeting.
Grouchy on Mondays by nature, I usually respond that my weekend was lousy. That’s not usually the case, but it makes me feel better about being relegated to an office for the next eight hours. I’m not a confinement kind of guy. Must be my tendency towards claustrophobia.

Anyhow, I recently started giving more thought to the “How was your weekend?” inquiry. Not all weekends are great, naturally, but mostly they are pretty good.

Our weekends took on a different tone a few years back when we moved to greener pastures. Or, more accurately, rockier pastures. The Catskills are well-known as having a high rock content. When you relocate to the side of a mountain the “two stones for every dirt” theory is multiplied by about 100 on the stones end. And they are likely big ones.

I’m providing this information as background for how I spend my weekends. “Starting over” is work. A lot of work. I’m not complaining, just explaining.

Turning forest into lawn is not an easy task. Fortunately, most of this labor was performed with the assistance of huge pieces of equipment. Still, there was plenty of digging left for the “finish work.” And my heavy machinery ownership is limited to an “experienced” garden tractor that demands the word, “Whew!” every time I complete a mowing without a call to the repairman.

No shortage of work
As with any house not covered in vinyl or constructed of brick, there’s always a fair amount of painting on the “to do” list. Porches with bright southern exposure are great for sitting, but harsh on the paint. In fact, I dedicated a good chunk of time last weekend to scraping and reapplying a few fresh coats of paint to the front porch.

I’m pretty sure my inspiration for completing this project (which I successfully ignored last season) was jumpstarted by a visit from friends over the summer who commented, “Oh, the porch is looking well-used.” Ouch.

The never-ending pursuit of firewood also occupies much of my weekend “spare” time. No matter how much wood I have on hand, the arrival of autumn sparks a mini-panic in me and I feel an urgent need to add to the collection.

Or, maybe it’s the fact that this is the time of year that I try to get the oil tanks filled that creates this firewood urgency. It’s probably a combination, but firewood chores cut deeply into my weekends during each autumn.

I guess a ‘good” weekend is a productive one. It makes one appreciate “porch time” more. Of course, there’s not much room on the porch now with the bulging racks of firewood. Plus, I have to worry about marring the new paint job. When it comes to relaxing, I guess it’s the thought that counts.
— Brian Sweeney