Thursday, 10 April 2008

Has Spring Finally Sprung?

Can it be true? Might we actually be witnessing a thaw in the land of the Blue Jays? The temperature, while certainly not warm, has managed to push the mercury above 0 for the past couple of days. The mounds of grey that were truly several metres in height, have started to dissipate, but given the enormous volume, still have quite a way to go. I know that I have less to complain about than my neighbours do. I managed to evade and escape large chunks of the misery with my migration to the land of the Marlins. (you can tell that spring is here when baseball imagery starts invading my thoughts and I have put my annual Leafs misery back where it belongs!) Still, in the time that I did spend here during the past several months, it managed to snow, sleet, freezing rain, or other such horror, so many times that I lost count. It was truly a winter worthy of the urban legends that I am certain will follow. But, while we are probably not out of the woods yet, (there have only been 2 Aprils on record without discernible snow-insert whimpering here!!) we can certainly see the golden sun beyond the horizon. Spring--and hopefully right behind it, a long, hot and sweltering summer! The hotter the better as far as I am concerned, but that is a debate for a different day. Instead, today I thought that I would share with you the signs of spring and how I am so certain that we are finally over the hump!

1. I know that spring is coming because the rancid snow on my pool cover has finally melted into a rancid pond. While it is far too early to worry about West Nile and mosquitoes, it is not too early to anticipate the annual arrival of our mallard and his mates. (Several years ago he started showing up with 2 girls. Maybe he migrated from a polygamist community?) It is a very Tony Soprano moment around here when the ducks come for their annual swim.

2. I know that spring is coming because all conversations turn to Pesach. Every grocery store is stocked with the Kosher L'Pesach foods and supplies, and the little plaza at the corner (frum north) is a veritable hive of activity. Seder thoughts are on everybody's minds and the ideas of cleaning, cooking and how to survive the week without feeling like a drainpipe clogged with bubble gum are pervasive.

3. I know that spring is coming because while the evenings may not be warmer, they are certainly longer thanks to an earlier start to Daylight Savings Time. The extra daylight coincides with an increased restlessness from the young men in my life. Their concentration seems to wane just a bit as the weather improves. This is especially true this spring as younger son seems to be suffering from a mild case of "senioritis". With acceptances to various programs for next year already secure, he seems to have developed a "laissez-faire" attitude that is wholly uncharacteristic. To his credit, he is still doing great in spite of his malady.

4. I know that spring is coming because I am back on my semi-annual strict diet and exercise program. No carbs, no sugar and very little taste for the foreseeable future, and workouts every single day!! This time I have taken it one step further in that I have given up my precious Diet Coke with lime. I LOVE Diet Coke with lime. It is my one true vice. I don't smoke, drink alcohol or coffee nor do I indulge in "recreational partying". I do Diet Coke with lime. Sad? Perhaps, but I truly enjoy it. Plain water just doesn't have the same cache, but the caffeine was really starting to affect me and I figured if I was giving up everything else that I enjoy, I might as well go whole hog. Believe me, I would rather have my Diet Coke than peanut M & M's, Junior Mints or even sushi, so this is serious.

5. I know that spring is coming because the Blue Jays, who have yet to play a game in anger, are already suffering from the injury bug. I am a true fan and will follow this team all season, but losing your third basemen to a broken finger incurred while fielding a harmless grounder, does not bode well. Last week I watched a replay on TSN Classic of the final game of the 1993 World Series. Joe Carter rounding those bases was just as exciting 15 years later as it was on that October evening. Toronto needs to feel that kind of passion again. This is a team that can make some noise this season, but only if they stay healthy. Not a good start.

6. I know that spring is coming because the NHL playoffs begin next week and the Leafs are playing golf. Enough said!

7. I know that spring is coming because the silly concert tour season is beginning. This year we here in TO will have the opportunity to see Eric Clapton, Emmy-Lou Harris, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Robert Plant, Tom Paxton, Melissa Etheridge, Dave Matthews and many more 40, 50 and 60 somethings. I realize the boomers drive the concert going experience and that the money to be made is huge, but really! While I would pay to see most, if not all on that list, when were any of these performers truly in their prime. I am certain that most will put on great shows, but the money involved for the tickets is nothing short of obscene!!

8. I know that spring is coming because I look around the house, both inside and out, and notice all of the repairs and cleaning that needs to be done. The gutters need replacing as does some the brick facing near the front of the garage. The deck needs to be sanded and stained to match the extension that was built for the kitchen reno. I would love to paint our bedroom, but that might have to wait. The whole house could use a thorough cleaning, especially the storage areas that haven't been touched since I was in my 30's. I would also love to get rid of the white elephant in the basement also known as the pool table. Any takers?

9. I know that spring is coming because I feel better about the food that I am eating. The produce looks and smells better. The preparations for meals don't seem quite so onerous and variety has re-entered our diets. Enough with the comfort food and back to lighter and healthier.

10. I know that spring is coming because every road I drive in the city is an obstacle course of potholes. This year seems particularly bad. Yonge Street south of Steeles is a true danger to life and car. There are complete divots in the asphalt. It feels as though one is on a ride at Wonderland. Truly frightening!

11. I know that spring is coming because my allergies and asthma are acting up. I still would rather have a few sleepless nights wheezing and coughing, than have to deal with snow.

12. Finally, I know that spring is coming because the birds are back and waking me up every morning before 6. Welcome back friends! We have all missed you.

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