* The weekly Must-Do 52 enewsletter from Kudzu came the other night like clockwork. And, no, the line that jumped off the page at me was not “Clean or service your ice maker.” Huh? Like I’m really going to do that? I’m still stuck on cleaning my fridge coils from a few weeks ago. It wasn’t “Buy charcoal or fill up your grill’s propane tank.” I actually don’t have a grill since I took the whole Meatless Monday thing way too seriously and turned it into Meatless Always. (Yes, yes, I know grilled veggies are terrific . . .) It wasn’t even the “easy” one: “Inspect garage door hinges, rollers, and tracks”–I’ve actually done that already! It was the line on top that said “Week #26.” Week #26. That means we’re halfway through 2011. I actually realized this a week or two ago, during the Summer Solstice (we gardeners are in tune to things like that) but this time it really hit me. Halfway through. Halfway through my hopes and dreams for the year? Halfway through what I wanted to learn, and earn? Halfway through my to-do list? Halfway through another year of my children’s lives? Sort of, sort of, sort of, and definitely. The growth lines on the wall don’t lie. (Isn’t this shoe growth chart terrific?) The kids keep growing up, no matter how many of my other plans get accomplished. And that means my home keeps evolving to accommodate their changing needs (and mine).
* The purging never seems to end. Cleaning out the clothes that no longer fit and have already passed from sister to sister. Cleaning out the Barbies, all their hair cut short, that used to be good for endless hours of play. Cleaning out the books that each took days or weeks to read, a flip-flopped foot hanging over the end of the hammock on a lazy summer afternoon or a knitted afghan draped over a body splayed across the couch on a winter day. All this purging, of course, creates room–and makes it clear exactly where all the carpet stains are! (See how to transition your home from one with young children to one with teens here.)
* All those features we hadn’t even considered when the children were young suddenly seem like possibilities–glass tables (well, we actually did have one of these, but it broke twice–once because of a child and once because of an adult, by the way); an outdoor fireplace; a home designed for entertaining adults, not children. I’ve always liked those kitchen islands with stools so that I can hand plates of homemade pizza with butternut squash sauce, caramelized onions, and fresh tomatoes (all from the garden) to my guests while we toss our clever comments around. (Is that just a fantasy?)
* The length of the day has now peaked, and every day from here on this year will get slightly shorter. Just a minute or so. Barely noticeable. But before you know it, we’ll be standing at the bus stop in the dark again (or am I even needed there anymore?), then opening the door for Halloween trick-or-treaters (which reminds me–my doorbell is still broken–will I need to get a “Fright Button” instead?), and then wondering how Christmas came around again so fast (and why I hadn’t gotten the bushes trimmed so the lights would lay nicely on them). In short, these long summer days are really our best ones for getting those to-do list projects done. I may even clean the icemaker. I can see the holiday drinks needing ice already.
There’s still time. To clean out. To fix the little things that need fixing (can you say wood rot?), and to start thinking about the big things that would be nice one day. Kudzu can help. In fact, it already has, in more ways than one this year. First, I think I’ll grab a glass of iced tea and head for that hammock. Oh, wait. Gotta’ clean the ice maker first. Kudzu says.