Dog Days of Winter

Yeah, I know winter doesn’t have dog days, but we’ve definitely had a few three-dog nights lately! We even had a “winter storm warning” with threat/promise of snow this past week. Apparently there was snow north of us (but still in our county) but only two inches of rain here. (Thanks to Facebook updates from numerous exasperated snowbound friends in the Atlantic states, I was not really disappointed.)

When it wasn’t raining (and sometimes when it was), it’s been bitterly cold. Although the weather experts say this is not unseasonable—just a return to what is really “seasonable” for our climate—those of us who’ve been spoiled by mild winters for decades feel it is unreasonably (if not unseasonably) cold, and there’s a tendency to hunker down.

Which explains why I haven’t been out walking much. But this morning when I went out on the back porch to put yesterday’s papers in the recycle bin, the back yard was full of robins, which seemed like a good sign (Taiwan cherries in bloom are another). Sure enough, the sun is shining brightly and the temperature is in the 50s, and a walk was quite pleasant.

Not having been out in nearly a week, naturally I noticed some changes. One was a new street sign. Awhile back, a new house was constructed literally in the middle of a block: it had no direct access to any of the four surrounding streets, but only via an alley approaching it from the east side of the block (though the house is closer to the west side). There was a sign pointing down the alley from Summit Street, saying “Deliveries for [number] N. Bayview.” It made no sense at all for the house to have an address on Bayview, even though that was the closest street. Today I noticed a sign at the end of the alley designating it as Genevieve Lane, so I suppose the house now has a proper address.

I also noticed that the rental house that changed color overnight is now for sale, so I guess the renovations (which went far beyond exterior painting) were intended to make it marketable. Meanwhile the house that was saved from the wrecking ball is making progress. At one point there was a trench in the front yard for utility work, and for several days an insulation contractor was parked in the drive. The vinyl/aluminum siding has been removed and the underlying clapboards scraped and sanded. Despite the fact that this siding is very odd-looking (some of it runs vertically), apparently it’s going to be retained and evidently will be painted some shade of green, as today I noticed that swaths of four adjacent clapboards sported four different shades of green paint. Unless quite a lot of interior renovation is being done, I can’t believe that this tiny cottage is going to be very attractive to buyers, especially since the real estate market is still very soft (I also noticed that the vacant lot that was being advertised at $395,000 now sports a “NEW PRICE” sign), but I was wrong once before and will be happy to be proved wrong again.

I had another shot at the house with the intriguing floor plan, and I’m now convinced that the mystery room will be a study/library. The house is shaping up nicely, and although it still has some “intriguing” features, I think it will be quite nice. I especially like the fact that almost every room (including all the bedrooms) has direct access (via French doors) to a front porch, upstairs or down.

I look forward to more “spring-like” days so that I can follow the progress of construction and keep tabs on other changes along my walking route.

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