Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Phew! I can't remember the last time I did that... I went out to the garage for a ten-minute job: to get the recycling ready for the kids to take out in the morning.  While I was there I decided to flatten the winter collection of corrugated cardboard also for recycling day.  Yuck - underneath that was some closet-cleaning garbage that had been squished there for a while in the damp. Got that picked up into bags and sorted the 3/4-empty jugs of washer fluid and picked up the broken flowerpot pieces and the car washing mitts that had fallen behind the spilled kids' outdoor toy bin, sorted that out, picked up the bikes, put the hose caddy in the driveway with the front deck table and my collection of stone garden ornaments, with my favourite, Buddha, right at the front, garbage and recycle all pulled out into the sun I pulled out the corn broom and started sweeping - and suddenly!  

Scott pulled in the driveway from taking Paige to school.  How could he make it home already?  I came out here at 8:30 - it can't be 10:00?! 

It was. And I was still in the garage. Cleaning and sweeping and sorting garden rakes. My bedhead-hair was all over the place and I looked down at my pajamas and slippers.  I realized that I had broken a sweat.  When the heck was the last time I had cleaned the garage?? It really needed it... it sure wasn't last year.  And here I was, sweeping and slugging away without a worry in the world.  I was thirsty, but not too tired, and I still wanted to rake the flowerbeds.

This feels like a triumph.  I was able to move our bikes around and check through all of my garden tools and Scott helped put the hose caddy in place and carry the heavy stuff and empty the windshield washer remnants into our vehicles, cleaning out his truck and checking our oils.  Gorgeous sunny morning, and I felt normal.  A glimpse of my old normal: caught outside with coffee breath and my PJ shirt covered in mud and cobwebs.  Nice!

I continued into the flowerbeds, considering stopping so as not to wear myself out, but keeping on because I just felt like it.  My poor lavender needed out from under those fall leaves, and the burgundy day lilies' leaves already had crooked shoots from forcing their way through the wet winter blanket I had not yet lifted off them.  

Even if I just got the flowerbeds uncovered, it was a start.  I might not yet get to put Buddha in his summer spot under the maple by the front window, but he was at least out of the garage.  I raked with the same fervour I felt trying on new outfits the other day - smiling to myself and muttering under my breath.  

I pondered what was giving me this burst of energy and how long it might last?  Last night I fell asleep on the couch immediately after supper, but maybe tonight I would not?  I could leave the flowerbeds until tomorrow or next week but NO I wanted to do it NOW.  I have these toddler-like temper fits (as my family and best friends well know) that often fuel me through difficult times.  I have been told I am stubborn.

Chuckling to myself I was thinking about that, and about blogging, and I recalled the day last fall that I named the Impatient Patient. I am rather impatient, that is no secret.  And this time last year I was a total disaster, only beginning my "patient" journey, I would yet come to prove how impatient I really am.  Many days since the surgery that left me confined to the couch for two months I have cried, yelled, stomped (with my left foot now only), spazzed out on my family and friends, and then cried again, until falling asleep in a grumpy (sedated) pile.  

I am no longer confined to the couch, and though I still complain about my cancer-imposed limitations, I feel a renewed energy toward the every day stuff I am beginning to find I miss doing.  

I liked having a couple of impromptu visits with passersby on the front lawn with my hair wigged out and sweaty dirt on my forehead.  I didn't even put my gardening gloves on, and I looked forward to scrubbing the dirt out of my nails when I would finally cave in to my morning shower.  I dug my heels in the dirt, and just did it.  I might not get finished, and I might have to lie down for the rest of the day, but in the meantime I was going to rage on.  Let's Go Lavender - It's Time!!


<--- That is actually my lavender, and Irish moss underneath the pretty tea rose my Auntie from New Brunswick brought me a few years ago. :-)  Still one of my favourite photos ever.  I WILL make my garden look this lush again this year! *foot stomp*

Some people comment that I am strong to be facing things the way I am, that  I am brave to be sharing such personal perspective from my journey.  I must argue that I am not really those things.  I am just living. 

I'm not brave, I'm a blabbermouth.  I'm not strong, I am stubborn!  I am not particularly graceful, I am just plowing through it.  Bull in a china shop.  As we all do, life goes on.  Every day is a fresh start to keep trying.  I am motivated.

And hey, now I have a clean garage, and flowers that will flourish and be ready for when I can get right in there to properly weed them with more energy.  They may forgive me for last year, as I am beginning to forgive myself.  Spring cleaning!  

Article & Photo © Natalie Richardson 2015

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