Before the pollen: do all the things

By Mir
March 11, 2013

In New England, March was always a month to bitch and moan about how spring was clearly NEVER going to arrive. Or there would be a couple of freak 70-something-degree days in amongst the snow storms. I still remember the year we got two feet of snow on April Fool’s Day, and with Chickie’s birthday being in the middle of April, every year it was a waiting game to see if we could have a party outside or not. One year the day of her party dawned warm and sunny, but I still had to go out into the yard with a shovel and break up an iceberg that hadn’t quite gotten the memo about the weather.

In Georgia, March is a mix of warm and cold, though “cold” is relative, of course. We’ll have a bunch of perfect, temperate days where everyone flocks to the outdoors, because by May it’ll be too hot, and April is the Month Of Pollen. For most of April, everything will be covered in a yellow-green powder that turns to thick sludge each time it rains. We are not yet in the “hey, the air is chewy” stage, but it’s time to break out the daily allergy meds and it’s only a matter of time.

Naturally, this means it’s time to Do Stuff and Clean Things because my allergy meds make me hyper AND because I lose the will to live once we start drowning in pollen.

This made for a super-exciting weekend because my family just LOVES cleaning and stuff! (Not really.) (I’m calling it a win that no one killed me in my sleep last night.)

On Friday, Monkey and I spent the afternoon gardening. He was very helpful right up until it was time to get down to serious weeding, and then his enthusiasm began to wane. Because weeds are HARD and he’s not GOOD at it and did he mention that he really needed to go shampoo his cat? (We do not own a cat. But Minecraft is hardly going to play itself, y’know.) I finished the weeding without him, but I’ll have you know he’s a true expert at planting. If you have your own Aspie, I highly recommend installing him as your Official Ploinker, which means that he takes one designated finger to PLOINK each seed the proper distance down into the soil. As long as you can determine the desired depth relative to knuckles, it’s all good. (Sugar snap peas, for example, go just one knuckle deep.)

[Sidebar: I learned the hard way not to plant anything frost-averse before Easter. But this year I’ve discovered that both kids really like sugar snap peas, and in the past I have tried to grow them in the summer and it’s never been successful, probably because I am a moron and didn’t realize they need cooler weather. Whoops! So the bulk of our planting is still a few weeks off, and I maybe should’ve planted these even sooner, but I think (hope) that we may actually succeed this year. Hopefully we’ll get peas mid-May and can harvest those and then plant green beans afterward. LOOK AT ME, PLANNING AHEAD.]

Anyway. My garden boxes are ready to go, Otto and I dealt with some Pool Stuff, and in general Friday was a productive day. I try not to complain about the pool, because what kind of asshole desperately wants a house with a pool (me) and then gets said house with pool (me) and then realizes that hey, owning a pool is a tremendous, expensive pain in the ass (me) which will then fall largely to a certain long-suffering husband (GEEZ, what a jerk) (me, not him)…? We are having some work done on the pool, because hey, pools apparently are not expensive enough with the chemicals and the water and the electricity and all of that. Sometimes things happen like THE STAIRS CRACK and you have to call a FIBERGLASS GUY. (The pool is old. This does not mean that I am not alternately amused and horrified that someone can make their entire living, apparently, fixing pool steps.) This year’s tax return: Thanks for the pool maintenance, Uncle Sam! Really, we are hovering right at that income point where the pool is more than we can reasonably afford—I mean, it’s not going to throw us into debt, or anything, but it’s kind of a stupid luxury when maybe that money could be better spent on other things—but I CLING to the fantasy that we will get endless hours of family togetherness out of a zillion gallons of water.

Me, this weekend: OMG, we’re spending HOW MUCH on this stupid pool?

On Saturday and Sunday I remembered that the real reason it’s awesome to have more than one kid is that it offers you twice as much free labor, PLUS if you do it right they don’t even feel like you’re bossing them around. With just Monkey here I’d be all, “Please clean your bathroom” and if he wasn’t in a helpful mood (though, to be fair, he’s often happy to help) would be met with, “But it’s CLEAN ENOUGH ALREADY” or “I don’t FEEL LIKE IT” or “I just cleaned it LAST WEEK!” But with TWO children here I could be all, “Today I need you guys to clean your bathroom and do your laundry. Work it out.” AND SOMEHOW THROUGH MAGIC that becomes them negotiating and everyone doing what needs to be done and no arguing happening. Okay, not much arguing happening.

So the kids did stuff and I did a ton of laundry and Chickadee and I took the dog for a long walk and Monkey finally got to have Lemur over for a while (did Lemur end up with the worst case of the illness going through his family shortly after I SO MEANLY refused to let the boys see each other last weekend? YES. YES, HE DID) and there was grocery shopping and meal planning and granola-making (Chickadee is mostly happy to be home because she likes homemade granola, and I am okay with that) and vacuuming and dusting. Thrilling stuff, I know.

This week we’re going to ratchet the fun up EVEN FURTHER by finally replacing some leaky shower valves/handles that are slowly sending our water bill through the roof. THE FUN NEVER STOPS. Though I do kind wish that while we were at Ye Olde Big Box Hardware Store discussing the relative merits of different faucets I had videotaped the kids very seriously discussing which Corian countertop they wanted in their bathroom. (What can I say? They have excellent taste. Though they were wholly unimpressed with my suggestion that if they pooled their savings, they might even be able to afford the little 3″ square sample of the stuff.)

Regardless, right now the house is spotless and no one is allowed to touch anything. Ever. Well, at least until dinner tonight.


  1. Megan

    Phew. This week is The Week of The Essays That Will Kill Me. And I just now snapped and firmly put the essays aside in order to clean the kitchen and the lounge and at least stack the stupid books in order of size. I feel much better now, but weirdly those essays didn’t get magically finished whilst I was tidying…


  2. js

    We had a similarly relaixing/ productive weekend. It was wonderful and there were cupcakes in lieu of granola! Mmmm..cupcakes!

  3. Ali

    As a Georgian transplanted to Massachusetts ( I know, right?), I’d like to thank you for reminding why I don’t like to visit except in the winter.
    See: Pollen; mother of god hot from May until October. See Also: humidity

    Perhaps this will help me cope with an actual PLOW-ABLE snowfall in March.

  4. Karen

    Ah – yes a pool for hours of family fun. Right. Where did my kids want to go – the city pool to be exact. That’s where the action was. Our pool? Money pit!

  5. Midj

    I hate that spring makes me want to clean just when it’s so nice to be *outdoors*… Sigh, my kitchen needs the old “top to bottom, left to right, inside and out of the cupboards” cleaning and I’m the only one who’s going to do it. And my kids are GONE— Well at least until May… Sigh, again. I did, however, in a fit of pique, clear everything off the mantle and the photo shelves on Friday night. Now it looks bare and lonely. I guess this coming weekend is already planned for me. Mir? Feel like a trip to sunny Florida? I could use those kids of yours… :-)

  6. suburbancorrespondent

    We get the yellow-green sludge here, too. I’ve heard that drinking nettle tea a couple of times a day for a couple of months ahead of allergy season helps. Since I don’t have the proper attention span to keep up ANYTHING for 2 months, I can’t tell you if it actually works.

  7. Leslie

    It was about 65 yesterday and rumored to be in the 20s toward the end of the week. You have to love living in the Northeast.

    I hate corian. I have it in my kitchen, it scratches incredibly easy. Tell the little darlings they aren’t missing anything.

    And you really get your kids to do stuff around the house? I really need to try that.

  8. My Kids Mom

    Funny how I forget about the pollen every spring. Is it really that time already?

  9. Little Bird

    Wanna come over here and do the painting that needs to be done and the get the garden ready for planting, and oh yeah – the actual planting? No? can’t say I blame you.

  10. meghann @ midgetinvasion

    Oh man, I have pollemnesia. I seriously just read all of this and even though I promise I read the whole thing, after I read the bit about the pollen, I spent the rest of the time thinking “Oh yeah, we get buttloads of pollen here in Georgia. Is it really that time again already?”

  11. deva

    I am on year-round allergy meds to manage asthma. This is the time of year I get to add inhaled corticosteroids to the mix. So fun. NOT.

    and my fiance and I spend many weekend afternoons looking at corian and granite at the big-box hardware stores debating which we’d prefer in our kitchen. Someday. Someday.

  12. Sheila

    I don’t have allergies, but my husband does. Even though he thought nettle tea was (to quote Sheldon Cooper) hokum, he gave it a try last year. Lo and behold, he was able to pretty much completely stop taking his Zyrt*c. He said he could feel the difference within 10 minutes of finishing his first cup. I have since become a nettle tea-vangelist, and it’s helped lots of people we know. Give it a try!

  13. Jeanie

    You sure know how to have a good time.

  14. Amanda

    I have the same feelings for my camper that we pay storage fees for every year. I tell my husband ( who is my own version of Otto), we pay it because we are creating family memories! You will to enjoy yourself with your family! Without the outside world – and you Will love it!

  15. addy

    Yay pollen …. oh super yay humidity …… and potted geraniums this year thank you very much. Don’t want to plant nothin’.

  16. Tiffany

    I’m right there with you except the husband went on an overseas business trip and I am regrouting the kids bathroom. I need to replace faucets too but I don’t know how to repair a leaking tub faucet… to google it I suppose.

  17. Brigitte

    Such timing, I was just Googling chronic sinusitis . . . as I do at least once a year, forgetting that all the info basically boils down to: ha ha ha, you are SOL!

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