It's winter time. We're lucky here; at times throughout the winter, we are treated to beautiful days of sunshine and mild temperatures. Although there are days at a time when it's quite cold, and we have our share of wind, rain and even sometimes snow and ice, we often find ourselves outside for many days throughout winter. I used to garage the motorcycle at a friend's house, but I have since learned that we can ride at least once or twice every month of the year. As much as February is my least-favorite month, it's in February when I am most grateful for my decision to move to North Carolina because truly, beautiful weather is just around the corner.
So here we are, the last weekend of the dreariest month, and we've had rain and ice for many days, leaving our yard a slog of mud and swamp. Even the simplest tasks are crappy that way. Taking out the compost is a slip-slide smear-fest that tears up the grass, soaks your shoes, and dampens the cuffs on your jeans. The animals leave paw prints everywhere, and the standing water that pools in low spots is depressing and a harbinger of dead grass, mosquitoes, and the steamy summer sure to come.
You can imagine, then, the relief of the weather report calling for 65-degree sunshine. And on a weekend, no less!!
We had had a busy Saturday—up early to take the snake to the vet, along with an emotional roller coaster that was "we might have to put the snake down right here right now" all the way to "a total clean bill of health and keep up the good work!" in the span of 30 minutes. Then a busy afternoon of fun social obligations and then a black tie fundraiser that had us dressed up and dancing (in fancy footwear, both of us—ouch!) into the night.
So Sunday dawned sunny and bright, and we threw the covers over our heads and rolled over, the sound of thunder paws from our now-four-cat household providing a joyous soundtrack to our extended snooze.
Eventually, though, we roused, blinking in the sun, old creatures feeling every muscle and joint. Oh, so craggy and ancient! But we fed ourselves, caffeinated ourselves, kissed the furry ones, and headed off to the gently curving roads and lakeside views we love so much around here.
With Bill’s bike in the shop, our only option was for me to ride bitch, which gave me plenty of time to look at the houses and dream of retirement, when I plan to live in an old white, wood home with a few acres around me, cats and an herb garden. My favorite are houses that are tall in front—plantation style, I guess they call it. And then only one story of rambling rooms in the back. You can imagine the builders designing a lovely two-story home, perfect for the time, and then the subsequent families adding a room at a time. I love how those kinds of homes have rooms with several doors and you can walk several different paths through the house, passing through bedrooms and drawing rooms. I don’t really understand the allure of a hallway, with so much wasted space.
I have a love of outbuildings. I’ve watched enough American Pickers to know that most of those outbuildings house rusting, worthless collections of crap the homeowner just couldn’t bear to part with, but I like to imagine the studio or old-style apothecary or just a private retreat I would have in the outbuildings of my home. I envied sheds for a long time—a place to put your mower! Your tools!! A neatly organized home for paintbrushes and screwdrivers, the chain saw and your loppers. I have a shed now, and I love to walk in it, see all my stuff—the mark of a true home-owner and kindasorta handy woman—tools.
And of course, I love the porches. The big 15-footers that wrap languidly around the whole house. Or even the 8-footers that house neat row of rocking chairs to the right of the always-red front door. Oh, the things I would do with a grand front porch. Never mind the mosquitos or the humidity or the choking pollen. If I had a huge porch, I would have parties of people, dressed in linen finery, sipping on mint juleps, the laughter ringing into the night…
And oh, the houses with the benches out front!! Where I would sit in the morning, sipping my coffee, letting the sunlight bring my brain to awareness, rather than the light of Facebook on my iPhone.
And so we passed our 90 minutes, with Bill in charge, and my mind free to wander through rural Triangle life. We eventually pulled up to our house, which I have painted myself, and I celebrate in its simplicity. I love its gentle, cabin-y feel, and I like its dark brown, calming, welcoming feel. I chose to ignore the enormous piles of mulch and dead grass, and focus instead on the mint juleps I will sip on my front porch when it’s all done.