The Soupster offers Springtime advice.
Originally published March 30, 2000
The Soupster had been dreaming a lot lately about doing chores.
He thrashed around in bed starting around 2am and imagined he was fixing the gutters on his house, cleaning the trash out of the culvert and washing the old salt crust off the bottom of his car before the poor thing rusted out completely.
The Soupster felt he needed to paint the part of his house that a big storm had peeled raw the previous winter. That nice drainage ditch that funneled water away from where everybody walks? Well, it needed to be re-dug. And somehow, a cat had gotten below the deck and left several calling cards.
Springtime chores, thought the Soupster, are the 180-degree opposite to New Year’s resolutions.
On the flush of a brand new year, people think big. Our expansive minds wander to-and-fro to find the perfect human we want to be. New Year’s resolutions are grandiose — and too often forgotten or not kept.
Springtime chores, on the other hand, are humble. Calling out to us each time we leave the house or apartment, every time we put the key in the ignition or pass a sign warning us that on Tax Day we also have to have our tires changed.
They are humble, but insistent. Chores murmur and pull at your socks as you walk by. They get louder the longer the days become, as March passes into April and April into May. And their voices can get mighty shrill if you ignore their early Spring call and postpone everything until summer.
The Soupster came up with a “How-To” guaranteed to get those chores done (by doing the opposite of New Year’s resolutions):
1. Do not throw a huge party for a million friends immediately before starting on your chores.
2. Go slow. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
3. Firm, steady pressure gets the job done.
4. Do not announce you are starting your chores by spinning colorful noisemakers.
New Year’s is the calendar start of the year and the time we make big deals with ourselves. But April, thought the Soupster, is the true start of the new year.
April really means that winter’s over. Easter, Passover, eager young shoots pushing through the soil, etc. April’s not the time for big deals, it’s for paying back debts already incurred.
So get out the paint brush!