The summer to-do list that, this year, really will get done

Apr 2 2012 - 5:58pm


OK, gang, this is it: The summer I do everything I am supposed to do. Yeah, I know. I said that last year. And the year before. And the year before.

Didn't happen.

But it will this year. What will I do?

* Have a wonderful yard.

Most of my neighbors have lawns you could putt on. One went so far as to get out there and kill dandelions -- I am not making this up -- by squirting poison into each individual weed root with a syringe.

The results speak for themselves: Their lawns are carpets of emerald green.

Then there's my yard.

From a distance -- GoogleEarth's satellite -- it looks green, mostly. Up close, it looks like some sort of biological experiment in weed generation gone horribly wrong.

"Dandelions are festive," I like to say. "And my grandchildren like to pick the puffballs."

For the record, I was saying that before I had grandchildren.

Continuing the golf metaphor, someone's yard has to be the rough, right?

It's not my fault. The price of gasoline limits my mowing. Weed killers pollute the groundwater. I'm also conserving water by not watering, so that should balance out the not mowing.

One year, the paralyzed lady across the street got so tired of looking at my neglected scrabble that she mowed it. You'd think I'd be embarrassed to have a paralyzed lady mow my lawn.

Nope. It makes her happy to show me up. Who am I to keep someone from being happy?

The only thing that worries me is the green fern stuff slowly spreading from the garden.

No weed killer can touch it. The original Kentucky blue is no match for it. What will happen when it hits the crabgrass?

Sparks? Explosions? It's almost worth waiting to see, but no, this year, I will defeat it. That lawn is going to shine.

* Clean the garage.

I heard a rumor that garages are for cars.

Mine is full of empty cardboard boxes, glass bottles waiting to be recycled, a variety of bicycles, gardening tools and camping gear.

There's one pile of stuff in the corner that has been undisturbed for so long it may contain Amelia Earhart. Who knows?

This is the year I find out. Maybe the lawnmower is under there.

* Write the great American novel.

Of course, I'm working on it. So are you. Isn't everyone?

National Novel Writing Month was fun, but 50,000 misspelled words of drivel isn't what impresses the Pulitzer committee.

This will be it. Incisive plot. Riveting characters. Timeless themes. Next year's summer page-turner is only 100,000 words away.

It won't be too difficult. Have you seen what passes for original writing these days?

Nothing original.

"Hunger Games" is a mix of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and Arnold Schwarzenegger's film "The Running Man." The massive hit "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was a rewrite of Agatha Christie's dozens of "locked room" murders -- "Cards on the Table," for example.

Really, how hard could it be? That chick with the tattoo is just Hercule Poirot in black lipstick.

Now, I know what you are saying: "Trentelman, you're a goof. You're lazy. None of this is going to happen."

Sadly, you may be right.

But come on, it's spring. It's sunny and light again. My seasonal affective disorder has gone away. The world is full of optimism, and so am I.

Let me live with my fantasies, at least until the really good bicycling weather hits.

The Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. He can be reached at 801-625-4232 or He also blogs at

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