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RICH IN THOUGHT - It's Spring, Now Go Outside
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After the last few days of this gorgeous weather, I believe I can now safely say that spring has sprung ... just in time for the summer solstice.

With my apologies to Al Gore, the recent delay or lack of spring weather this year has me truly questioning his global warming theory.

I remember last spring at this time it was hot. The average was the 90s. Heck, we already had a couple of days above 100 degrees, didn't we?

Outside was the place to be. Barbeques were glowing with meat on the grill, beer was on ice, my sprinklers were set on a timer, and my yards were in shape.

Not this year. Up until last week, my sleeveless Corona shirts, shorts, and flip-flops were still in the closet. During the first weekend of June I was still wearing my sweats around the house for God's sake!

I may have to take responsibility for some of this. Looking back, I might have done a few things to influence and contribute to this climate change.

No, I haven't expanded my carbon footprint or increased my usage of greenhouse gasses. I believe I jinxed us all in April by spending a few hundred dollars to get my commuter Acura's air conditioner fixed to bring on this "La Nina" oscillation and then on Memorial Day weekend purchased a café table patio set for my backyard that brought on Juneuary. Let it be known, both the fixed air conditioner and new patio set weren't even used until last week.

Here's another "inconvenient truth" with this weather pattern shift; my list of outdoor "honey-dos" posted on the refrigerator door has gotten longer than the average photo magnet can hold.

All of which means I get to make the long-awaited run to "America's helpful hardware place" or "California's favorite home improvement store" for "more saving, more doing" and we can all "let's build something together."

Word of advice when making this trip: take cash and only the amount JUST for the items you need. Leave the checkbook and credit cards at home or else you're doomed from materials and improvement ideas that catch your eye and you'll be saddled with additional projects to occupy your weekends until the next rainy season.

Part of these outings include my wife going to the garden center of these facilities to choose the exact mixture of plants and flowers, or what I like to refer to as Dante's new chew toys, to spruce up the grounds of Villa Paloma. Though I couldn't tell you the difference of a zinnia, geranium, or a petunia - they're all just "pink flowers" to me - they seem to brighten up the yard for their short two-day cycle of life until mauled by one zestful landscape challenged Bernese mountain dog.

My wife and I do our yard work projects together when we can. I want to believe it's because we enjoy one another's company, but I also suspect it's a sense of supervising the other's actions.

I know she has a fear of when I'm trimming back all the foliage growing throughout the yard that I'll take off too much. I've learned that the same improper line used for a bad haircut, "It'll grow back," is not the best thing to say when she's staring at the hacked off nubs of what used to be a once-in-bloom oleander.

I, on the other hand, am watching where my wife lays the piles of plucked weeds and raked up leaves. My job seems to be putting them into the trash container and I've learned if I don't get to these small heaps right away, it's like an Easter egg hunt of where these mini compost piles are left along the fence line.

You really want to test your marriage's stability? Try putting up wallpaper together, but that's a column all to itself.

For right now, the sun is (finally) out and as mom used to say, "Go out and play."

Richard Paloma is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at 847-3021.