If it drips, if it's outside, it's spring

April 10, 1999|By Rob Kasper

YOU KNOW IT is spring when the backyard faucet starts dripping. I came to this seasonal insight all by myself.

It happened last Saturday as I was adjusting the monkey wrench, reading the label on the penetrating oil, and searching my tool box for a washer to replace the spent one in the leaky faucet.

The drip reminded me that I had vowed to fix that faucet last year, but never got around to it. Over the winter, the water supply to the faucet was turned off, so I had forgotten about the drip. However, when spring arrived, the tree sap started flowing, as did the water supply to the backyard faucet. The drip returned, and I had a chore.

As I labored, I had an epiphany, right there in the back yard. It struck me that spring is when a guy's domestic responsibilities simply move from indoors to outdoors. The drum beat of duty continues, but the setting changes. You move out of the basement, into the sunshine. Feeling inspired, I came up with a list of ways that the average guy knows it is spring.

You know it is spring, for example, when the first wave of house flies start slamming into your kitchen windows. The flies are able to get into the house because your wife has grown tired of waiting for you to put the screen panel in the back door, and has left the door wide open to let the warm breezes in.

You know it is spring when, on an 80-degree evening, you finally get around to putting the screen panel in the back door, and the next day the temperature drops 20 degrees and everybody is wearing sweat shirts.

You know it is spring when your promises about touch-up painting change. Instead of promising to touch up the painted woodwork, you resolve to wash the car in the driveway and touch up the chipped paint on the car.

You know it is spring when there is change in the kind of kids' shoes that you trip over as you try to get out of the house. In the fall, you stepped over football cleats. In the winter, you dodged pairs of aromatic wrestling and basketball shoes. In the spring, muddy baseball spikes block your path.

You know it is spring when you are sitting in your car reading a map, trying to find the distant baseball field where you were supposed to be an hour ago, to watch your child compete. In the winter, you sat in the car and checked the same map to find the site of a wrestling meet. In the summer, you know you will be sitting in the car checking the same map to verify the location of a distant swimming pool where your child will be engaged in seemingly endless swim meets.

You know it is spring when, instead of worrying about spraining your ankle as you play basketball with your kids, you worry about getting pegged by a low line drive as you pitch batting practice.

The line drive that really concerns you is the one that explodes off the bat and heads for your shins, fooling your bifocals.

Finally, you know it is spring when the "hue" of the backyard foliage changes. The bright-pink cherry blossoms break into view, covering up the ugly yellow plastic grocery bag that has been stuck on a tree branch since February.

Pub Date: 4/10/99

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