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by Mike Blakesley

Originally published April 3, 1989

As always happens around this time of year, Spring has occurred. Spring is when all the trees and plants and car washes burst into life again, and when federal law mandates that you must pay your taxes and "spring clean" your house and garden.

I've got the taxes taken care of. Now it's time for the really big task: Digging my house out from under the ravages of winter.

As usual, I've made a handy list of all the things I need to do.

* Rent a power rake (and a kid to operate it) to remove four tons of accumulated dead grass from my lawn.

* Untangle the garden hose (which has been snaking across the lawn all winter and is buried under the dead grass) from the power rake.

* Peel the bathmat off the bathroom floor; stomp on any spiders hiding underneath.

* Remove the Emergency Winter Survival Kit (consisting of ice scraper, snow brush, starting fluid, candles, sand, and mildewed candy bars) from the trunk of the car and replace with the Emergency Summer Survival Kit (a tube of suntan lotion and mildewed candy bars).

* Wash the car. Doing this will usually bring on a sudden snow storm, after which spring cleaning can be put off until it melts.

* Using a ladder, retrieve the porch rug from the trees in the neighbor's yard, where it blew during the winter.

* Carry 200 pounds of back issues of "The Billings Gazette" to the trash.

* Figure out how to rearrange the living room furniture. I don't know why people always do this in the springtime, but I understand it's required by law.

* Buy a new one-year supply of "Pledge" (1 can) and dust the furniture, while contemplating the age-old question: Is it better to dust first, thereby allowing the excess dust to fall on the floor where it can be vacuumed up; or is it more intelligent to vacuum first, hoping the dust stirred up by vacuuming won't fall on the furniture, where it will then fall on the floor when the furniture is dusted? Thinking about this question has enabled me to put off dusting and vacuuming for weeks at a time.