Monday, November 30, December Eve, around 11:30 in the morning, the thermometer registered thirty-seven degrees. Attacking my Monday to-do list with a vengeance, on one of many shuttles between the kitchen and the garage, I looked out the back door. Snow. Handsome snow. Not serious snow, certainly not at thirty-seven degrees. But snow. Falling steadily. By this time, thirty-six degrees. Boss and my older son warned it was going to get cold Monday night, tonight. Pfft! Seeing snow and noticing on my next trip past the thermometer it read thirty-five, someone got religion. I added “bring citrus plants inside” to the to-do list.
That’s what “to-do” lists do. They grow1. I’m so accustomed to the phenomenon, I don’t add “might-as-wells” to the list. Might-as-well this morning included bringing-in the bay plant and covering the kale. Kale is one of those odd cruciferous plants that like a little colder weather. Kale draws the line however, at being burdened into the dirt with snow. Until we get a serious freeze, which, last I looked, thirty-five was not, just covering the kale until this playful snow bored itself would be enough.
Not supposed to lift heavy things for a while. Folks around me get their jollies looking for things to tell me I can’t or shouldn’t do. I know how old I am. I know what parts creak a little, and which grunt-and-strain muscles need to be watched carefully when I match wits with something that outweighs me. But I’m proud with reason. I can still out grunt-and-strain men (and women I suppose, to be fair) thirty years my junior. Some, forty years my junior. I’d really be smug, but if you take a look at most of the early-thirty and later models of American males, that ain’t saying much.
“Might-as-wells” have a subordinate category – ancillaries. Bringing-in the citrus (and the bay plant) is a to-do might-as-well fraught with ancillaries. Ancillary: the citrus trees are in prodigious planters. Planters are designed to leak. I’ll not explain. You either understand or you don’t: planters leak by design. A floor protector is required. I remembered where the lime and lemon planter protectors were. Ancillary: climb the ladder (another thing I am not allowed to do, but I determined no one was available to watch and tattle) to pull the floor trays from the rafters. Ancillary: other plants live year-round in the dining room but occupied the space prime-o for citrus – move the other plants. Ancillary: clean and lay the citrus planter floor protectors. Ancillary: after placing the lime and lemon in their winter homes, swab the floor clean of dribbles left carrying the planter from the back deck through the kitchen to the dining room. Ancillary: find the damned to-do list which apparently decided to follow me to the garage instead of waiting patiently on my desk in the office.
Your Mission (should you choose to accept)
About four months ago, I worked a piece of flash at one hundred words2. Originally in conversational format, I wasn’t certain everyone would be able to mentally flesh-out the story. Rewriting the story as a narrative, somehow, that didn’t let the characters speak clearly enough to define themselves or their circumstances. “Going Home” in Flash Fiction is out there, if you’d care to look and gimme your two cents.
While I intend to go back to M/W/F posts so I can concentrate on Midas County and a novella or two, I’m thinking I’ll spend less time ranting (and sub-ranting) devoting blog post time more to fluff and flash. Fluff and flash are easier to maintain, and as a writer3 I’m tired for the moment of dealing with serious matters. As readers, I’m willing to bet you appreciate lighter fare. All I must do is learn how to close-up shop before I hit a thousand words. Not bad today. Looks like about eight hundred.
Until next time folks, do well.
1 Everyone believes to-do lists serve to remind you what you’ve been told to get done, or what you conscientious types have told yourselves needs to be done. Because there is usually so much to-do to do, remembering all the items would require study-time, detracting from to-doing to-dos. Really, the primary function of a to-do list is to get all the to-dos out there, lined-up side-by-each so you can choose the least onerous to-do to do. Still that is subordinate to growing, which to-do lists manage to do handily.
2 One-hundred words. There are times, spelling-out numeric things just doesn’t seem proper. The word count for a piece of flash fits that category. So, for you purists, the flash I’m talking about was 100 words.
3 Geeze! I just called myself a writer! Please forgive me that mental lapse.