“To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” This is one of the most famous of all Biblical quotes, where the book of Ecclesiastes smacks us down and tells us to be patient. It also calls procrastinators to the carpet.
“Come on, it’s the season,” it means to say. “Get off your ass and (in the words of Larry the Cable Guy) ‘Get r done!'”
There are several arduous tasks that fall into this category, such as cleaning the freezer and car. There used to be systems for these things–a car was something that couldn’t go undetailed for very long, and a freezer got cleaned seasonally. Sometimes, I find as I get older and I wake up wondering where the time went, there are tasks that get away from me for years at a time.
I make my doctor’s appointments at the beginning of the summer. I am a teacher–there are two schools of thought on this. First is “Sick day!” where you make the appointment strategically so as to blow off a day of work and enjoy the rest of the day. I never do that. I make them at the beginning of the summer. That enables me to remember to make them once a year.
I dialed the phone. “I think it’s that time to see you again,” I say, smiling. You can always hear a smile on the other end of the phone.
“It’s been three years.” I didn’t hear a smile.
It got me thinking. What else has missed its season? I walked around the house and yard looking for things that had missed their season. The car was definitely one–the greatest offender. I am sure I haven’t detailed it since we moved–nearly a year, and before that since we did the build out to sell the last house. There was wood and doors and hardware from Home Depot in that car a mile high. There might’ve been an employee in the back still loading stuff stuck behind the recyclable bags.
BC (before children) all cars got detailed on a regular basis, from the 89 Toyota to the VWs to the cult-classic-for-about-as-long-as-Boy-George Saturns. Going longer than a month or two is the human equivalent of the kid in college who never takes a shower. I have never once paid a person to detail my car. I do it perfectly–only I omit the spray that makes me gag, and if anyone ever comes near me with a car tree, I’ll hate them for life. My cars were pristine. No procrastination involved.
“Um, but it’s an 89 Camry…” I know. A classic!
After Children, many layers of sludge appear in a car, such that you have to shovel out the seat to give rides. Forester Gump still had hay in it from garden-planting farm-rading mulching season. Not good. A job that had surely seen its season pass once or twice. But the freezer was worse–I actually remember when I picked the blackberries and made that chocolate-blackberry ganache–a few years ago. I haven’t bought a frozen vegetable since I can remember, yet the blocks and frozen-hard bags sat there waiting for a prize-fighter with a black eye, because I certainly can’t remember if that meat in a freezer bag, unlabeled and unloved was, at one time, a steak.
“Everything must go.” It’s garbage night, and out it went. Now, there will be room for my once-a-month-style cooking for the beginning of the school year. You make a ton of stuff, freeze it in Foodsaver bags in lunch-sized portions, and chuck it in the lunch bag at 6AM mid-run out the door. Lasagna and casserole for a year. Or until you forget it and have to clean out the freezer again.
I detailed the Subaru with my step-daughter. Car owner and soon-to-be-car-owner bonding. She manned the vacuum. I taught that cars are a pain in the ass. Soon, the residue of Home Depot, the farm hay and the six-year old’s sludge were properly extrapolated. It felt like a new car, except for lack of new car smell. It smells like bike tires and hay. There’s no changing that.
So, now Forester Gump is clean and I know that Jeffrey Dahmer didn’t hide any dinner in my freezer. The season for these tasks is complete.
Now’s the season to enjoy the last few days of not having to keep a proper schedule, pretending I’ll still accomplish The List this summer. After that, it’s game on, off to the races to meet new and old students. Before I know it, I’ll be writing about the holidays, the end of the year, and next summer will be upon us, a new List of Things I Mean to Accomplish (but won’t because I’ll relax instead) freshly minted, calling for me to obey each item in its season.