2018-05-16 / Here's the Scoop

Here's the Scoop!

Stop bugging me

As a general rule, I’m considered an optimist. Despite this fact, I still have snow tires on my car. Full disclosure: riding around on snow tires in mid-May has zero to do with me featuring The Really Crazy Snowfall of May 2018. It’s just that I waited too long to make an appointment to have them removed. Still, part of me feels pretty confident to deal with a late spring/early summer blizzard. And, truthfully, not much about the weather surprises me anymore. In spite of hedging my bets about the changing of the seasons, I have been taking a few baby steps in hopes that warmer/ greener days are on the horizon. Breaking out the patio and porch furniture from winter storage is a ritual I truly enjoy. Even if whipping winds and chilling rains render these pieces largely useless. For a person who generally looks at the bright side of things, it’s the “thought” of sitting outside that counts. Useable or not, I really enjoy the tradition of pulling the “warm weather” (ha, ha) furniture out of its winter resting place and, as the case may be, dreaming of balmy Catskill Mountain evenings of dinner outside following by stargazing. Maybe a Saturday afternoon nap on the porch, too. Those were the days.

Turn down the light

The optimism of hauling these pieces out into the light of day is always tempered a bit by the harsh glare of wear and tear. “I don’t remember the patio set looking so faded and scratched,” my wife commented as we performed this rite of (alleged) spring over the weekend. Indeed, the pieces did seem to have quite a nicks and faded areas that weren’t noticeable last summer. “I think the marks on the table are memorials to good parties,” I responded. “And the discoloration is proof that they sun used to shine — and very well may shine again.” Just as I blurted out this rosy assessment (in an effort not to have consider a new purchase), a spider about the size a pickup truck (short bed) lurched out under an Adirondack chair and bared its fangs at me. I’ve witnessed spider bites and wanted no part of engaging this feisty creature. “Yikes!” I shouted in warning my wife, who was standing a few feet away and didn’t witness this declaration of war. “In case you’re wondering — the picnic table doesn’t have 12 legs — that extra eight are from a ferocious spider that’s apparently found a home under there,” I explained.

Waiting it out

Fortunately, the spider didn’t feel like engaging in a fight any more than I did and it scurried into the great outdoors. I can only imagine the spider is gearing up for a triumphant return on the Fourth of July, on the lookout for some gourmet burgers — or, human legs, whichever are easier to digest. The thought of this large spider lurking nearby continued to bug me, but there was furniture moving to be completed. We proceeded with great caution and encountered no more spiders. “Whew,” I responded when the deed had been completed. “That spider encounter was pretty scary. I thought getting a hernia from lifting the umbrella base was the biggest danger of this task.” Although we didn’t see any other monster spiders, there were plenty of flying insects hovering as we set up the spring/ summer furniture. When the fire pit came out of storage, we immediately lit a blaze to serve as a bug smokescreen. “Good thing I’m an optimist,” I offered, “because that fire smells just like fall.”

— Brian Sweeney

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