By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
Those of us on the west coast had an odd experience this past week – wet stuff fell from the sky. In buckets. It would be foolish and terribly inappropriate of me to complain about the “El Nino effect” but for me, this lousy weather came at a most inopportune time. As of last month, I became officially unemployed. Each Wednesday for the past 13 years I have tottered off to the local yarn store to sell yarn, provide help and teach classes. I loved my job and learned quite a bit over the years – a bit about knitting and a lot about people. But the owner, who is 78, decided that she’d had enough of worrying about the business and decided to toss in the towel. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Wow, 78! No wonder she didn’t want to work anymore.” But you would be wrong. For the past 10 years (inspired by a happenstance viewing of “Dancing with the Stars”) she has been involved in ballroom dancing. And not just slow-paced Viennese waltzes. She goes for the Latin dances and participates in competitions all over the Western U.S. So it wasn’t a lack of energy that caused her to close the store. Regardless, I now have a day of the week that I have to fill. This “extra” day, along with all of the rain this week that washed out my golf games, caused me to stay inside and finally face my demons: my unfinished projects.
Each spring I make a list of everything I want to accomplish over the summer when our weather is akin to a microwave oven. Some of those projects roll over from year to year. Okay, some roll over for a lot of years. Organizing thousands of photos, for instance. But other items on the list are much more manageable. So this week, trapped inside by Mr. Nino, I decided to tackle them.
Monday: It hasn’t rained like this in ages! At last I will get some “inside” work done. I pull together all of our home improvement receipts for the past 15 years, put them into an Excel spreadsheet and figure out the cost basis of our home. You subscribers who know me and have followed all of our major re-do’s on the house can appreciate just how daunting a task that was. I finalize all of the paperwork for our tax return and file everything away. At last I can check these items off the list. I love this weather!
Tuesday: Today I vow to finally clean up the piece of scratch paper containing all of my passwords. I’d like to use the same password for everything because, frankly, these days I only retain water. Unfortunately, every company requires something just a bit different – consequently, my piece of scratch paper has become my memory. Finally I organize it all and have it in a secure location even Dick Cheney would have trouble locating. That was my morning. I look out the window and it’s still sprinkling. So I clean the house with a vengeance. This weather is sure good for getting things done.
Wednesday: I meet a friend for coffee and get home just as it starts to rain. Dash the Wonder Dog, who will not set his princely foot on a wet surface, is now wondering what in the hell happened to our morning walks. And just why am I home on a Wednesday? How is a dog supposed to get any sleep, for cryin’ out loud? Undaunted, I tackle my next “to do” – writing a piece for a class I’m teaching next week at the knitting guild. This exercise actually has a dual purpose: I can use up all of the ink in my printer. Last week I bought a new one but then realized that the old printer had a lot of ink left in it. Ink cartridges, as we all know, are the modern-day equivalent to the old cell phone scam when they’d give you a phone for free but then charge you a month’s wage for the service. So I wrote my piece, printed out 50 copies, and installed the new printer. I am truly ready for the rain to stop.
Thursday: I awake to what is now a familiar sound – rain battering against my bedroom window. This is the rainiest day of all. My dear husband suggests that we go to a movie, but then it is raining so hard we’re afraid the washes on the roads will fill and we won’t be able to get back home. Yes, living is Scottsdale is sometimes like living in the backwater of Montana. So…what to do? I finally hang a couple of pictures in my den bathroom that have been sitting there for four months. I decide to play Candy Crush on my iPad. Three hours later I rouse from my stupor. I saunter into the kitchen and re-alphabetize my already alphabetized spice rack down to the third letter. My normally pleasing personality is turning just the slightest bit sociopathic. If this rain doesn’t stop soon someone is going to get hurt. I think it’s me.
Friday: Have I mentioned that my husband is home all day with me? Every. Single. Day. He did go out earlier in the week to get me Starbucks, which gained him about a million husband points. But still. It’s a lot of togetherness. He is spending his days watching You Tube videos of road trips we have taken or want to take. I am in my pajamas contemplating just how much Vicodin I have saved up over the years. I HATE this rain!
Finally, finally, it dries out and once again we see the sun. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just declared that El Nino has peaked and the worst is over. Thank God…I’ve run out of projects and patience . And Vicodin.