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2013-01-03 digital edition

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2013-01-03 / General Stories

Procrastination and Flying Arachnids

I tried. I really tried. I picked up a pen and a pad of paper. (I don’t use my computer unless I have to.) I sat down in my comfortable chair facing a bank of windows where a peaceful scene of trees, grass, and sky would help to clear my mind. But any writer will tell you that just because all the elements of a great writing experience exist, doesn’t mean that an idea will come to you in that perfect moment. In fact, the ideas sometimes come in the most chaotic parts of my day.

My moment of solitude was slightly disturbed by the fact that my daughter had just “cleaned” the windows yesterday to earn some extra money. The problem was that my definition of clean and hers are vastly different. The windows looked like a giant squid had somehow taken a wrong turn and ran smack into my windows.

I sighed, put down my pen and paper, and grabbed the Windex for a quick wipe-down. Ahh, that’s better. But as I scrutinized the windows from the inside, it became apparent that the outside was full of cobwebs that had collected dirt, pine needles, leaves, a few million hapless flying insects, and, not surprisingly, spiders.

I knew that now that my brain had been notified of the situation, no writing ideas would be sharing space with that knowledge. So, I decided to clean the windows from the outside.

This, I found, was not as easy as it first appeared. The windows were on the second story of my house and ladders are not an option for a person who is so afraid of heights that she would rather give birth to a twenty-two pound baby than ride on a Ferris Wheel.

As it happens, I found a hose nozzle in the garage with a “Power Spray” setting. Hooking it up to a hose which, miraculously had no holes in it, I found that the power spray shot a sharp stream of water about 25 feet into the air before losing its laser-beam consistency. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I aimed my high-powered spray nozzle at my second-story windows. It wasn’t long before I realized that this was not one of my better ideas.

The beam of water went straight into the cracks and crevices and returned at light speed, sending yard debris and fat, hairy spiders raining down upon my unprotected body. I can do this, I thought doggedly. I was going to get those windows clean so that I would no longer have an excuse to procrastinate.

As powerful as my water canon was, I realized that the pine needles were clinging to the cobwebs as tenaciously as the cobwebs were clinging to my windows. But I persevered, constantly dodging the bombardment of flying arachnids.

At some point it occurred to me that my underwear was wet. Did you ever notice that no matter how tight the connection is between the nozzle and the hose, there is always a leak? Well, when your arm is in the “up” position, it acts as a conduit between the hose and the ground. The river of water runs down the inside of your sleeve, puddles up in your bra, and flows down your stomach with a brief, exploratory layover in your naval. Then it continues downward, forming a small lake in your underwear before dribbling down your legs.

So, okay. Not one of my finer moments.

The cobwebs continued to be stubborn and I got to the point where I was questioning my sanity and wondering, “What is so bad about dirty windows anyway?” I soon talked myself into ceasing my power washing operations, mostly because my wet underwear was beginning to chafe.

I slogged into the house and changed my clothes. Then I sat down in my comfortable chair, picked up my pen and paper and began to write.

You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and info about her books.

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