Lea Wait, here. It’s October. I know, because I can see orange leaves on trees outside my study window. I’d really love to go for a long walk and breathe in the crisp air before the temperatures drop below freezing.
But I ought to start finding and sorting through the Christmas gifts I buy all year ’round, start wrapping, make lists, and see if I need anything else for my children or their children. I should go through the stack of cartons I always save in case I need to ship something, and pick out those I’ll be using for Christmas The others can go in the barn.
I ought to take a pile of summer clothes to the cleaner’s, and take my winter slacks and jackets out of the closet they’re stashed in. Before the temperatures drop I really need to sew on all the buttons that fell off my flannel shirts last winter. I’m pretty sure I saved them all in a corner of my jewelry box. Which reminds me, I need to clean my jewelry, especially the silver pieces. Tarnish is damaging.
I should call the propane company to make sure our generator is set for winter. And order some kiln-dried wood and biobricks for the wood stove in my husband’s studio. But before that I need to clean out the barn, so there’s space for the wood and the bricks. That means taking old magazines, newspapers and cardboard to the recycling center. And all those bottles in the barn … they need to go to the redemption center. Every five cents helps. Plus, we need space for the bottles we’ll empty during the winter. I should check to see when I’ll be near New Hampshire in the near future, where liquor and wine are less expensive then in Maine. If I make a list of all the libations we’ll need for the holidays, I can get them in the house, and save a few dollars.
I should start bringing the porch furniture into the barn. And cover the porch cushions and put them away, too. I’d better not forget to turn off the outside water before that pipe freezes and breaks. And when I do that, I should drain the garden hose and hang it in the barn, ready for next year. Our mosquito magnet is still out, and the mosquitos are finally gone. The mosquito magnet should be cleaned and put away for the winter. Which reminds me. The mosquitos and black flies may be gone .. but it’s about time for the mice to arrive. I don’t mind sharing our cellar or barn with them during the winter, but there are electric wires on the second floor of the ell and in the attic. Traps or poison. Must get some.
I should run a few errands. I have a pile of books to donate to the library. The lamp next to my husband’s bed really should be repaired. And I’ve been meaning to stop at the jewelry store to see if any of my watches can be repaired, or whether I’ll have to continue carrying a travel alarm clock around in my pocketbook.
I should really clean the bird feeders before it gets too cold. And put away the bird bath. Oh, and I should really get some of those stakes with reflectors on them to put at the end of the driveway so people – especially people plowing our driveway – don’t plow our lawn instead. Which reminds me. I’d better call the guy who plowed our driveway last year to make sure we’re on his list for this year. I should put down all the storm windows, and put balsam-filled “snakes” on all the window sills and where the top and bottom windows meet. (I should probably look up to see what that place is called, while I’m at it.) I should close off the rooms we don’t use (and therefore don’t heat) in the winter, and block their doorways with blankets or more snakes. I need to replace the screen doors with storm doors and put some blankets between the outside and inside doors. I’d better check the outside lights, while I’m at it. Replacing bulbs in ice and snow isn’t fun.
Oh, and I need to do some writing, too. Get a good start on the three books I have deadlines for in 2015. But before that, I should order postcards and bookmarks for TWISTED THREADS, which will be out in January. (That means getting a lot of labels and stamps, too. I should put them on my list. And stamps for the Christmas cards I should be looking for this time of year.)
And I need to sort through my clothes so I’ll have something to wear (I should have gone on a diet, but it’s a little late for that) to my high school reunion this coming weekend, and to my nephew’s wedding in Phoenix in November, and to the children’s book festival and signings and library talks I agreed to do back in July, when November and December seemed a long time away, and promoting a Christmas mystery (SHADOWS ON A MAINE CHRISTMAS) and a book for children (UNCERTAIN GLORY) at the end of the year made sense. (Did I really schedule three events in two states within a day and a half? Do they need posters or an author bio or bookmarks to promote the events? Have I confirmed all the details? I need to check those things.)
I really should read the new books just published by my fellow Maine Crime Writers. I’ve read one or two, but this fall everyone has at least one book out, and I want to read them all. I’ve had my flu shot, but I should take the cat to the vet for a checkup. Maybe she needs one. I’ve never had a cat before, so I don’t want to make a mistake with her.
First, though, I think I’ll write all these things down. If they’re on a list, I won’t forget them. And it will be fun to cross them out. That list is a good idea.
I think I’ll start it right after I take that walk …