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Rainy spring brings on good, bad and ugly
VITAL TRIFLE, BY LAURI GROSS
Rainy spring brings on good, bad and ugly
When someone like Donald Trump emerges as a presidential candidate -- if only for a brief moment -- comedians are among those who rejoice, thankful for all the new material. Perhaps this super-soaked spring is Mother Nature's gift to columnists, giving us, like the comedians, plenty of material. So now it is my turn to reflect on what the heck is going on with all this rain.
First, the good news. None of us will ever look at a blue sky the same way again. Just this morning, on our way down the driveway to get the kids on the bus, we all looked up, startled. There it was, a strange yet somehow familiar blue. We hadn't seen it in so long, and we knew it wouldn't last, but for that moment we truly appreciated the grandeur of a simple blue sky.
Also, the cold, wet April kept daffodils in their prime for much longer than usual. Day after dreary day, there they were, offering a bright spot amid the gloom.
Remember when the Cavs were contenders for the NBA title? Remember how it provided a bonding experience with everyone you met? At the gas pump, in the grocery store, in the library, everyone was talking Cavs. Now the rain offers a similar kind of connection to your fellow Clevelanders. Everyone has a story about the rain and mud. Everyone is suffering together. A Cavs championship would have been better than two months of rain, but since that wasn't meant to be, maybe two months of rain is the next best thing for getting to know your neighbor.
We'll be talking about this spring for a long time, maybe for generations. Maybe it will be fodder for us to tell our grandkids. So we have that going for us.
Also, because of the weather, I can happily report that I am getting my money's worth out of a cute new raincoat I bought this year.
The crummy weather is good for certain businesses. I imagine, if you repair leaking roofs or windows, offer basement-waterproofing services or install French drains, you are doing well. Probably also, sales of sump pumps are strong.
Perhaps best of all, I think this spring guarantees us an excellent spring next year. Imagine it: warm, sunny days, with just enough overnight sprinkles to keep the flowers blooming. Mother Nature owes us big in 2012.
Now for the bad news. Every family has a reason why the rainy spring really stinks. For our family, it can be summed up in one word: baseball. Well, baseball and softball, actually. My son's and daughter's ball schedules have been ripped up and shredded to pieces. Even if we do get a few dry days, most ball fields remain gooey, squishy, swampy and otherwise unplayable.
But even this downer has an upside. Anyone related to a kid on a baseball or softball team this spring has learned new skills in being flexible. We all have to be ready to add or drop a game on a moment's notice, or play a home game at an away field, or vice versa. Not to mention being flexible enough to fit in dinner amid ever-changing plans.
Here's something we can all agree to hate about the wet weather: lawn mowing. We basically have two choices here. Either we wait till the rain stops long enough for the ground to be at least semi-firm, which means the grass will be long enough to conceal the tractor itself. Or we can cut the grass while it grows in a swamp. I have been doing the latter.
Wearing two or three pairs of socks and heavy work boots, plus various other layers of clothing to keep out the cold and wet, I trudge with the push mower throw row after row of slop. I quickly learn that my waterproof work boots are not. As the mower groans and chokes and smokes its way through tall grass and soggy muck, I follow behind with my toes slipping around in the mud that has found its way inside my boots. By the time I have completed the push-mower part of my job, I am splattered with mud up to my knees. This is usually a one-hour job, but these days it takes much longer.
Then I hop on the tractor. Even though I have hand mowed the areas that are really under water, the whole rest of the yard is also squishy. The tractor leaves deep muddy tire tracks and hydroplanes around every corner. Many times I barely escape getting stuck and only after the rear tires have spewed plenty of mud balls at my back and head. When I finish, I can't really say that our couple acres look better than when I started, but at least the grass is shorter. The tractor and I appear as if we have been dipped in chocolate. I only wish it were so.
How about all the muddy laundry? All of us have been tracking mud into the house and producing muddy clothes in record amounts. The wet weather is also producing the longest-running bad-hair day ever. My curls have been in high-alert, adrenaline mode for way too long.
I know the rain continues to fall at the consternation of our farmers. They have not been able to plant what they need to, and much of what they have planted is washed away or drowning.
Usually a glass being half full is considered a negative, but this spring we'd all appreciate anything that is only half full of water.
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