In my mind, I live in a lovely little cottage with a tidy husband, two doting sons and six sedate, well-behaved, quiet dogs. This cottage is draped with all kinds of personally-made items like doilies, sewn ruffled curtains, knitted pillows and crocheted afghans. When you walk into this cottage you are greeted by either the scent of sage, cinnamon, lemon or lavender, depending on the season. In this cottage you never have to check the chair before you sit down to see if there is a soggy, smelly sock toy nestled into the cushion.
Also in this cottage, there is a massive mud room where those six dogs, muddy from romping in a melted-snow drenched yard, are happy to curl up and nap until they are dry and all the dirt has fallen miraculously from their paws and fur. Then they calmly join me in front of the fireplace and sit or lie down calmly in front of my large stone fireplace while I knit; and it never once occurs to them to form a semi-circle in front of my chair and stare me down in some sort of mind control laser-gaze designed to force me into flinging Kraft Singles at them to make them stop.
Did I mention that in my mind, when I'm in this cottage I'm a size 8 and all my clothes are made of fabrics that drape like melted chocolate?
Just so you know how very far from reality is the inside of my mind.
I enumerate all these disparities between what is in my mind and what it in my reality because late winter is the exact time when those two manifestations are the farthest apart -- like the sun is from my hemisphere of the earth.
It's not the snow -- it's the remnants of the snowstorms. It's the mud, the slush, the tire gouges that fill with water; it's paw prints everywhere and it being too hot for the fireplace, but too cold not to run it.
C.S. Lewis called it "this nothing time."
Then there's that whole decor issue. There's been plenty of handmade doo-dads around here. One particular set of pillows served to snuff out a wood stove fire that occurred when Someone wasn't watching Someone Else who thought the fire embers could be revived by opening the stove door and "giving it some air" -- all while the Someone Who Knows to Watch Someone Else Like a Hawk was at choir practice (and we all know the identity of the only person in this household who would have any chance of being in a choir). Turns out Someone Else was right, to the extent that the "embers" began spewing out of the stove and the only alternative seemed to be to smother them with my carefully knitted and cabled -- let me repeat: cabled -- throw pillows...cashmere -- did you hear me? CASHMERE.
Then there was the crocheted afghan that made it to the emergency room during one of Dirtman's many bouts with MSG, but never made it back. Then there was the filet crocheted table cloth meticulously unraveled by a newly-adopted Jack Russell Terrier who had suddenly become "too quiet" while I was in the kitchen trying to master making homemade pasta in bulk.
I said it once, five years ago and I now reiterate: I live in a frat house.
The perk to this is that those I live with ("My Three Sons," as they are locally referred to) are perfectly happy with the way things are. They keep my "prideful" side in check. I've tried on occasion for a candlelight supper (al a Hyacinth Bucket) and spent the meal watching Dirtman and Heir 2 reheat their meat over the candle flames while Heir 1 did his Ray Charles impression.
See what I mean? Frat house.
I just want you to know, though, that in my head I live in that really cute cottage that smells like gingerbread and all the books on the shelf are at least 50 years old (though, sorry -- they still have my silly pencil notations in them because, ya know, I have to have the last word...).
And I know what you're thinking: But -- yes, I would still have six dogs; but they would all smell like cookies.