Spring cleaning in Juneau is not for the faint of heart

Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but to me, this is an inapt metaphor. For one, lionizing a March as tame as 2010 has delivered a real slap in the face to the entire Panthera genus. Well, except maybe for that neutered, drugged-out lion they keep in the lobby of the MGM Grand Las Vegas, but even he'll maul a flamboyant Austrian trainer from time to time.

For me, the problem lies more in the "lamb" side of the equation. See, no matter how March comes in, it always seems to go out like my mom. That is, the end of March points out, in no uncertain terms, all the cleaning up I need to do around my house.

Don't get me wrong - I love my mom, and I'm not just saying that because I want to borrow the car or get picked up from jail without dad finding out (I'm 34; I've got my own wheels, now, and my wife can bail me out).

Still, Mrs. Scott D. Kirsch, M.D. (she prefers this old-school appellation) is the biggest neat freak I've ever met, and she has no qualms directing my attention to every single "trouble spot" she sees. Of course, I live in the muddiest, sandiest, slushiest part of America. And I have a toddler - the whole house is a trouble spot. Oh, by the way, my mom lives in Southern California. She conducts the lion's share of her inspections via video conference. I almost wish I'd never told her about Skype.

Anyway, as we head into April (which comes in like my dad, i.e. sleepily), it has grown impossible for me to ignore how messy we were this past winter. Even without the Web cam admonishments.

Somehow, the mere passage of time clutters space - perhaps this is what they mean by the "space-time continuum?" For instance, I don't remember placing a single item on the workbench in my garage since I built it last fall. And yet there it stands, a jungle of junk thicker than Robin Williams' chest hair.

Results of a recent survey: newspapers; mail; travel mugs; regular mugs; unholy couplings of socks, gloves and ski caps all piled in a giant orgy of winter accessories; water bottles (both BPA-free and BPA-included); ice scrapers; string cheese wrappers; caulk (no gun); staple gun (no staples); a bag of books originally intended for Friends of the Library; a petrified Valentine's Day cupcake; a crescent wrench set still in its packaging and, for some reason, a copy of "The Godfather Part II" on VHS. Is that yours?

It's funny, because despite Juneau's limited retail opportunities, you sure can stockpile a bunch of crap - in just your car, alone. For example, it's probably safe to hang up the family's hockey gear. The ice is looking a little soft for spring skating. While you're at it, check under the seats for old wayward thermoses of hot cocoa, too. I sure learned that the hard way. Suffice to say, I won't be drinking Swiss Miss - or eating cottage cheese - for a good long while.

Of course, the need for spring-cleaning extends beyond the house into our surrounding property. As the snow melts, it exposes all manner of jetsam: broken camping chairs, last spring's planters, a punctured tire I remember once having intended to make into a swing. The berm around the mailbox withdrew to reveal a 2010 Yellow Pages, a 2009 Yellow Pages, and a plastic bag of mush, which I can only assume is the 2008 Yellow Pages. Who uses phone books anymore?

Obviously, that's to say nothing of the winter's worth of dog turds currently defrosting in our yard. And we don't even have a dog. I'm giving serious thought to telling my daughter they're Easter eggs, and then have her collect them in a plastic basket lined with fake grass. What? I'll give her latex gloves first.

Which reminds me - you know what could really use some spring cleaning? The porto-johns at the Twin Lakes playground, especially considering that the regular bathrooms aren't yet open. The other day, I had to take little Paige in there to do her business ... easily the toughest bit of parenting I'll have to deal with until she reaches puberty.

Since I have no better way to end, I'll close with some self-promotion. For plenty more hot Geoff-on-Geoff action, visit my Web site, www.geoffkirsch.com. Lucid Reverie designed it, and local illustrator Glen Fairchild contributed some great drawings. Anyway, Stephen Colbert has the "Colbert Nation." I'd at least like to have my own City & Borough. So, please, log on, spread the word and become part of "CBGZK."

• Geoff Kirsch is a writer in Juneau. Visit his Web site at www.geoffkirsch.com.

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