Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Winter Distraction Preparations (EDITED: 11/7/2012)

It's cold. We've had enough days with frost where the flowers are dying quickly. As I've watched the garden this past week each day and slowly have had to throw out dead flowers I have started to think of a Winter project. That was even more on my mind today as I threw out five flowers and reorganized the remaining five flowers and pumpkins (now we are on garden layout Fall 4).

Gardening keeps me sane. That's a fact. It helps keep stress low and gives me an additional excuse to get a ton of fresh air (the other sources being my walks and sitting on my chairs). I have some decorations for the yard for Winter so it won't look empty but they don't require maintenance. We also put the pumpkins that have been hidden inside the house outside. I have a new plan for the pumpkins: buy them in early September but keep them inside and put them out on Halloween. We'll only need three and it'll be past the heaviest foraging part of the year. It also will be late enough where if they do get eaten it won't bother me.

As I make these garden ending plans, it's time to think of something to keep stress low once that last flower dies through the end of February or early March when the Hyacinths start to sprout and the Forsythia starts to bloom. I cleared out a binder and made a list. It looked mostly like this:

1. Birds
2. Jewels
3. Puzzles
4. Human Development
5. Home Improvement

Each section had categories for how I would organize the binder. I decided on home improvement. It pairs really well with gardening. I like fixing things and learning how to fix new things. While Josh can fix some things I'm the one that does most of the fixes that one of us can do. He only tries to fix things when, to use his words, "it bothers his manhood that I'm better at home improvement then he is" (insert eye roll here). Luckily, that's not often. My dad is really handy and I started helping him as a little girl still in pigtails. He's the one that does most repairs.

When I was two I remember helping my dad clean the windows when my parents were changing the screens for Winter and Summer. Last night I sent him an email about my new project so he knows to expect lots of questions. Today on my walk, when I got to my parent's house, they were changing the front door and planning on the rest of the windows next. For as long as I can remember they removed the screen for Halloween's trick or treaters then put in the storm window soon after. My brother had been doing it the last few years but now that he no longer lives there couldn't do it right away. My dad didn't want to wait after my email so they did it today. He also put the snow stuff in their cars and reminded me to do the same as well as other Winterizing tips.

I have always helped with more then just cleaning the windows. My parents own our condo and we pay rent. If something needs fixing that I have tried and can't fix (stupid blinds!) I call my Dad and we do what we can. Since this is something I have a genuine interest in it seemed time to put together a binder for reference and learn more about these things.

Last year's project was creating my exercise routines. I'm comfortable with them and only need to modify when Britney Spears releases a new album. I'll still do them but they won't require the project part that I enjoy so much. I like the research and/or planning part and I already did that when I made my dance routines and researched the components of each genre to refresh my memory.

Birds was a possible option just because there are so many types of birds that would require research. But I don't care that much about what type of bird a specific bird is. Jewels are pretty but it'll just make me want to see them which will make me want some which we can't afford so "no" to that. I had Geology and Astronomy on the list at first but they are too technical for me. I like making puzzles in Excel but once you've done them enough they are boring. I talk a lot about Human Development because I like Human Development so this was the runner up. In the end, home improvement is a skill I have wanted to build on since we got married anyway.

Every Winter I end up miserable and what I really was trying to do is find a way to not be miserable. Currently, I have to bundle but I can still take walks and see and talk to people, get out of the apartment, and take time thinking about things that I like or need to think about. I can walk until it's 30 degrees. On most Winters our real problem is that Josh likes to take Daddy time every night but I insist on going with them a few nights a week to shake cabin fever and we argue a lot about those things. From dinner until Zach's bed time we went out as a family or just them. Last Spring we started doing half and half and I think that will make a difference. We'll go somewhere as a family then Josh will take me home and they will take Daddy time. I get out a little bit and he still gets the Daddy time he cherishes so much. We'll find out if that works or not.

This experience made me think about what hobbies are popular in the Winter. What do other gardening fans do when there is no garden? I could have focused on my recipe search but the truth is I recently got a lot of recipes and it's best not to make cooking a hobby for the sake of your waist line. I guess this is why January is an entire month of feeling hung-over. Our initial Winter distraction is Christmas. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas it bombards you. Come January, there isn't much to do and we are all tired or stressed about taxes. Every Winter I find myself wondering if at some point in evolution humans hibernated in Winter. It would explain the weight gain issues many of us face. No wonder we spend the last part of January longing for Spring. There are more distractions in Spring.

I'm still looking for a Winter Distraction that could be like gardening is. Something that I do all Winter every Winter. Maybe the family/Daddy time model will help but I'll need more. We'll find out. Drawing? it would fit my needs but I'm bad at it and the last thing I need when trying to stay sane is a constant reminder of something I'm bad at. Besides I only like to draw seasonal trees complete with seasonal things like a snowman in Winter. In the meantime, the search is it's own distraction.

Update: So I found a few websites and articles, including on http://www.goodhousekeeping.com with various ideas. Here are the websites. Now the Home Improvement Binder is in good shape so I can add to it as things come up but I clearly need a new project. On This Old House's website I recommend an article on 47 things every homeowner should know.


Here's that article:



I also got the instructions on how to change a tire from the DMV's webpage. I don't know what I'll do next, maybe I will try drawing. This is a fun project but isn't going to suite it's original purpose. I'm glad I did this though and I feel like I'm in good shape for the basics.


  1. Extravagant post. I think we better get ready for the upcoming season, it's going to be a lot of fun. Winter has always been a challenge for me, not only do I have to make a lot of adjustments in the house but you also tend to spend more cash during the winter. But it's all good.

    1. I decided to start with basic projects for the binder like painting, ect.... and add as new projects come up. For gardening I mostly use http://www.garden.org which is the national Gardening Association website and the pros at my nursery. I'm having trouble finding a good website to start with not just for basics but for future reference too. I can't use the videos in my binder so pictures with step by step instructions are ideal. Winter is a special season.