Sydney’s at a conference this weekend in Lexington–for sustainable agriculturalists. He’s been enjoying the talks, but he’s also highly amused at the contrast between academic and agricultural conferences. As he headed out this morning he reminded me that he’d be home late because of the conference banquet, and when I looked askance at his jeans, he shrugged: it’s a banquet, but it’s for farmers. This from a man who frequently left our house in Oxford in a tux!
Sydney and I both have spring fever, which is making it hard to satisfy all of the things we want to do. He has several conferences this spring, and is teaching three classes–all new preps. But even our mailman has figured out that there’s a gardener in the house, since nearly every day he’s delivering glossy seed catalogs or boxes of seeds to our house. Sydney’s planning some projects for the front of our house, which will make our neighbors happy (all of them have the Kentucky-golf-course look down and must think our wilder look a bit odd), monkey bars for the kids’ playground, and lots of fruits and veggies in the backyard. I believe raspberry bushes and rhubarb were on his list, so I’m happy.
I think I was all set to ignore everything but basic upkeep in the house until summer, but Sydney’s projects have rubbed off on me. He re-framed the patio doors (which had a wide gap to let cold air in!), so I needed to paint the frame so that they matched our woodwork. But once I had a bucket of nice crisp white paint in my hands, I wanted to freshen up the off-white paint that covers almost half of our kitchen. So, one weekend at a time, I’m tackling that. I don’t see a huge difference (except for covered-up dings) in the day, but, wow, at night, it’s great not to have everything look yellow in the overhead lights. Although I have now painted a few rooms, I’ll admit that I’m not particularly good at this job. Drips and brush strokes notwithstanding, I’m usually just happy if the wall looks cleaner and less dingy than before. If I keep at it, our house may eventually leave the seventies and nineties (the last two re-dos, clearly) behind! With Mom’s help I also outfitted my cedar chest with a bench cushion and fun pillows, so we now have a new reading nook in the house. But I really need to focus on work. I have a new, fairly demanding course on my hands in addition to my usual classes, and I’m trying to get my book out to publishers. I’m also giving a chapel address to the entire student body in two weeks, on a topic that is part of a new project of mine that I haven’t really started. So, it’s about time I do!
Katherine and Nathaniel have been great recently. They’ve shaken off the crabbiness that comes with the usual colds and sleep deprivation of winter (though we’ve been really lucky so far this year), and they played really nicely together this afternoon while I painted in the kitchen. Sometimes it really helps to just tell them to buzz off; they get much more creative and cooperative with each other. I ran circles around the playground at the park this morning, and from what I could gather they were playing a game that involved giving each other wedding gifts. This afternoon, Katherine made Nathaniel a bed on the floor and they rehearsed some scenes fromThe Little House on the Prairie. This went pretty well as long as she showered him with attention. He was less keen on the bossing-around bits, so she wisely toned those down.
And yes, it’s spring, for all intents and purposes. Kentucky may have flirted with zero degrees last week and gotten a foot of snow, but it was almost 60 degrees today, and all but the most stubborn piles of snow are gone. Such lovely weather coming up, it’s too bad we’re all going to spend so much of it in our classrooms. I’m guessing we’ll be ducking out of our offices early for afternoon hikes soon.