Like porcupine courtship, timing is everything

Every now and then, a fella happens to hit the sweet spot, even if it is more by good luck than good management. I rest my case on a recent example.

Early in the week, I casually mentioned to “Herself” that it was time to consider remounting the winter tires on her modest chariot, and offered to look after it that Friday, when she would be otherwise occupied.

Early(ish) on Friday morning, I rolled into the appropriate bay and surrendered the key to someone who gave the distinct impression of having performed this ritual many times before.

With an hour to kill, I choked down a fast-food breakfast of cardboard-flavoured eggs and bacon, then meandered through the adjacent store, buying a few utter non-essentials that caught my eye.

Less than 20 hours later, the season’s first significant snowfall made its way to our part of the Great White North.

Hola! As others slithered and slunk along the roadways, I moved confidently, trying to keep my unbearable smugness from showing.

Of course, I would like you to believe my prescience was characteristic of a well-ordered, well-oiled lifestyle. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

True, I did manage to check off the bulk of my pre-winter To Do list this year. The gardening gear got safely stowed, and the containers of freezable stuff transferred from garage to basement.

The leaves got raked, bagged and donated to the city—except for the platter-sized leaves from the Dutchman’s pipe vines on the front porch, which were deliberately left to freeze and fall at their leisure.

The boxes of summer clothes made a timely retreat to the nooks and crannies where the much larger boxes of winter wear had resided throughout the warmer months.

We even managed to stave off an invasion of field mice, in our elderly former farmhouse, by proactively deploying liberal amounts of essential oils in various cupboards and drawers.

One task did get overlooked, though. The first-floor windows didn’t get their autumn squeegee job in time. Unless a sudden thaw permits a quick wipe before the suds bucket freezes again, a winter of dusty discontent may await us.

I’m glad that almost everything got done in time for once, although it could set a dangerous precedent and raise unrealistic expectations for coming years.

One can never be too careful about managing other people’s expectations.

As a freelance writer and professional procrastinator, I’ve always attributed my modest success to the belief that genius cannot be rushed. Ideas must be left to steep like fine Himalayan tea, before fingers go to keyboard.

By allowing only three hours to render three hours’ worth of verbiage, there’s no time for second-guessing or rewrites, so it has to be right the first time.

Alas, due to my recent spurt of uncharacteristic organization, my editor may start expecting my columns to arrive more than 10 minutes before deadline.

Oh my, what have I done?

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