story starts where most of my stories begin… a combination of
procrastination and observation.
had been talking to Richard on the phone in the early afternoon.
You might remember Richard… good friend… part of several travel
posts (and books)… moved with Ellen to Florida several years ago.
short time after we had wrapped up the call, I was puttering around
the garage. I should have been writing or possibly prepping dinner
or something else of equal importance, but none of those options
seemed half as inviting as pretending to accomplish something
in the garage and then walking around the yard.
moving a few things from one place to another, only to move most
of them back, I came across some of the tools Richard had given
to Terry and I before his move. Some snow shovels, a ladder and
such. Things that he either didn’t need in Florida, couldn’t get
to Florida, or wouldn’t be using in the house they had purchased.
mind began adding some floating thoughts and random ideas to its
operating space, with none of them really catching and sparking
coherent thoughts. Then I stepped outside.
there is a comfortable distance between us and our neighbors,
there isn’t much between our yards. No overgrowth of shrubs or
bushes or trees. It’s a bit of a change in this house when you
understand that Terry and I had been dealing with hundreds of
oaks and maples and more in previous homes. Today though… I spotted
the snow fence near the deck in their backyard. And with that
sight, all of the detached thoughts suddenly tached.
could follow the tangent here and begin some sort of silly debate
about detached and attached and some defense for the word such
as tached that ultimately will make no sense. It was offered in
humor. A joke. Deal with it and understand a bunch of assorted
concepts came crashing together when I spotted their snow fence.)
once in a while, such as today’s moments finally sparked, I think
about the stuff I have in my house that I might not need if I
lived in a different part of the country. Winter jackets and tools
for handling the snow come to mind most frequently. But on this
particular afternoon, it was snow fences and ladders that got
the thoughts moving along.
north-south discussion is usually the main theme in any discussion
about needs for houses that differ in location. And frankly, that
is the easiest to visualize and consider. And yes, weather (and
temperatures) plays a big part in such a debate.
the right spot to settle in and you could be gardening year-round.
(Which isn’t nearly as funny a thought if you aren’t aware of
Boston’s snow pile in 2015. When clearing snow during that winter,
they had some places where it was stacked and stored. In one place,
the last of the snow finally melted in mid-July. Yup. July. There
used to be a joke told by those of us living in Syracuse, New
York. Basic version was that Syracuse had two seasons each year,
winter and July 4th. You may like sun and palm trees… you may
like snow and sleds… weather matters.)
about how you live? Kind of a commentary on where you live as
much as how. Pick a condominium with a tenant association of some
type and the grounds may be maintained for you. Same deal living
in a major city. No lawn mower… no wheelbarrow… no rake needed.
considerations can be the surroundings and house design.
you need to clean the gutters on a roof higher than one level,
you probably need an extension ladder. 24-plus-feet of teetering
thrills that brings a new set of emotions to watching the leaves
change colors (and then fall).
you use wood stoves to heat or enjoy your fireplace? A supply
of trees, a good axe, and perhaps a chainsaw should be added to
your homeowner’s wish list.
a chainsaw offers me a chance to circle back to the start. This
run of thoughts began with a debate about tools that are specific
to where I live. And by that, I find that more often than not
I am thinking of external factors such as wind, snow, and so on.
It isn’t always about a need for hedge trimmers and driveway sealant,
though occasionally those tasks do create some swearing and increase
the desire to relocate. Still… perhaps it’s more than tools…
thing we haven’t considered is critters. Have you ever been concerned
about what the skunks and bears might be attracted by? Or, where
they might find a nice little nesting spot… say under or shed
or a deck? If I moved to Florida and was looking at houses, I’m
not certain any property feature appealing to an alligator or
a crocodile would be as appealing to me once I figured out what
visitors might be dropping in.
to the tools.
have a snow fence in my shed. In a few weeks I’ll break out some
posts and a few assorted tools, and begin the process of setting
that in place. I have shovels and ladders and wheelbarrows and
rakes and mowers and more. I’m prepared for snow and grass and
a long list of projects. And as I always have in my homes, I’ve
set up my basement with thoughts about minimizing troubles should
we need to deal with water. Move from the northeast to Florida…
less chances of snow and usually no basement… some of those tools
no longer necessary.
know of people that have built portions of their homes specifically
to deal with tornados. I have friends with plywood stored in their
garage… already sized and prepared to be quickly utilized in protecting
the house from an approaching hurricane. And there are plenty
of folks that know the power will be lost on a regular basis for
one reason or several, and have generators at the ready for when
the lights go out.
of these tools and thoughts and preparations tend to be devised
around extremes. They are not necessarily for everyday dilemmas
and challenges and chores. Scenarios such as the changing seasons
or the design of the house also create particular issues. Even
the desires and preferences of the homeowner can set up something
different in my yard as compared to my neighbor.
are days when I need to consider what I might wear. Is it cold?
Raining? Will I be indoors or outside? And like today, there are
moments when I find myself wondering what I would take along with
me if I moved. Would I need the rototiller? Will I have a place
for the Christmas decorations that I will soon be setting up across
our front yard?
now, I need to finish mowing my lawn. As it happens, I have just
the tools for that job. In the end, I’m happy with that.