Open house moves put-off work to DO-it-NOW

It was maybe her sophomore year in high school that granddaughter Karen Offer told me (that’s right, told me) she was going to have her graduation open house party at our house.
My attention span to her talking is no more than an iota and probably closer to nil. A few minutes of her inserting, ‘Ya know, I mean, like ya know, I mean? in every uncompleted sentence and even in, ‘Hi, Grandpa,? sorta, ya know, tunes me out.
A couple weeks ago she updated her at-our-house party to an exact date.
That meant that work I was planning to do in the yard a couple years ago, which probably wasn’t going to be done for a couple years from now, suddenly became urgent.
My way of doing yard work is to do it all, right now, as fast as you can. Get it over with, get back to the recliner and think of what I’m going to have for dinner.
Not a good plan, but in stubbornness there is dumbness. The pain in my lower back was ignored as I spaded, hoed and raked. Eventually, I thought, while leaning on the shovel, ‘I don’t really have to do all this at once. I could sit down for a while.?
T’was while sitting I remember telling Karen how much sprucing up had to be done for her party, and her saying, ‘Ya know, Grandpa, I mean, the place looks, like, fine right now.?
A little more sitting and a little more thinking and I reached the same conclusion. To her and her teenage friends the place looked just fine. Open the pool, start the grill and put out ‘Park next door? signs. That’s it.
After resting a little more with a glass of lemonade, it dawned on me . . . we parents and grandparents don’t clean and plant, dust and rake, spruce and trim and mow and paint for the guest of honor and her friends, but because their parents are invited.
And, while the men aren’t going to see much beyond the iced-down tub of beer, the women will be looking for stuff to report during their 1-hour coiffure.
Ya know, I mean their manicurist needs to know what kind of mess a live-alone man exposes himself to. And the pedicurer just has to hear, just every little detail of things besides desserts, dips and daiquiris.
So, up from a comfy sit, out to the flower peddler, sharpen and re-set the mower blades, re-twine the trimmer, re-blade the edger and check the hedger.
Take a closer look at the yard. Fill in the holes Shayna dug in the yard and pick up her leavings . . . especially the day before the party.
Replace a couple rotted fence posts, cancel the stump grinder because there isn’t time to clean up after him and spread some bark in areas I haven’t decided what to do with yet.
Cut the vines that have grown up through the evergreens, make sure the lawn sprinklers are working and aimed right, clean the eaves (I really don’t know why I think that has to be done) and clean all the outside light fixtures.
Inform all my golf league chairmen that I’ll be an inconsistent player the next four weeks, same to the newspaper editors who carry this stuff and get an extra large bottle of Ibuprofen.
Convince myself that nothing is more important this year than making granddaughter Karen Offer happy and that I don’t have time to sell the house and move into an apartment before the party date.
Then, just in case, make an appointment with my back doctor, Dr. Harold Portnoy, for the second week of July.

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