Spring cleaning time


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The snow is melting. The sun is shining overhead, instead of way off on the Southern horizon. Temperatures are getting warmer, and days longer. Birds are chirping cheerful tunes. I hear rumors that the bears might be wakening from hibernation. Spring is on its way. This is the time of year proper housewives begin the feared Spring Cleaning.

Normally, I’m not much of one for being proper. I clean when (and if) the mood fancies me, be it spring, summer, winter, or fall. Here in Alaska, I can understand the why of spring. As the thermometer inches its way up and the snow inches its way down, I am eagerly anticipating summer. I want all my chores done, so that I may enjoy the upcoming Alaska summer. With hiking trails yet to be explored, places yet to be visited, and hours of sunlight to soak up, I don’t want to be inside sorting through clothes, toys, and boxes that still haven’t been unpacked.

Most military families have boxes of miscellaneous stuff. The curtains that were bought for a house three moves ago that haven’t worked in any house since. Flotsam and jetsam found under couches and behind refrigerators that went with some game, toy, or something and just haven’t been dealt with. Stuff that was worthwhile and perhaps even necessary at some point in the past, but just takes space now. I am trying to wage war on those boxes, getting rid of what I really don’t need, and organizing the rest. My goal is simply to have fewer boxes than when unpacked during the moving process I simply don’t know what to do with and shove in a corner somewhere.

Somehow, my children also seem to have coordinated their yearly growth spurts with spring. Pants are no longer covering ankles, and midriffs and wrists are peeking out from shirts. Going through my children’s closets I acutely feel the passage of time. Clothes that my oldest child wore when we moved here have been placed in my middle child’s drawers. Memories are being packed up with clothes that have been outgrown. The costume my daughter wore our first Halloween here brings to mind that night. It was the first time I had to figure out how to incorporate coats into the costumes. I had to sigh as I folded up the Alaska shirt with the grizzly bear on it bought as a wearable souvenir. My son wore it with pride just to be living in this amazing state. Snow suits remind me of days when my son would beg to go outside, even at 20 below, because he felt so cooped up last winter with the snow and the cold. I wonder if the snowsuits will even be needed after we leave this state. Shorts and t-shirts bring memories of summers here; long days spent outside with perfect temperatures and seemingly unending sunlight.

Memories of summers past spur me on in my sorting, organizing, and cleaning. I want to get my Spring Cleaning done by the end of break-up so that I can make the most of this coming summer.

 

Lori Spears is the wife of an Army captain who lives in Eagle River. Her column appears twice a month in the Star. Contact her at editor@alaskastar.com

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