Spring has sprung and winter sales have begun

Helena Rodriguez

You know what tomorrow is, right?
Yes, it’s Saturday.
Yes, it’s also the first day of spring break. Hurrah! Surah! Surah!
Saturday is also the first official day of spring, and you know what that means. It’s time to take down the Christmas tree. Time to get up on the roof and take down those strings of Christmas lights you’ve been promising to take down every weekend since January.
And it’s a great time to go buy a brand new winter jacket. That’s right!
For those of us who can grasp the concept of planning beyond next week, or beyond the next 24 hours for that matter, this is the best time of the year to go shopping for that winter wardrobe.
We’re talking 75-percent-off-sales mania. There’s nothing I like better than a great bargain. I should have one of those “I brake for garage sales” bumper stickers on my car.
While everyone else is trying to fit into string bikinis, or crying because they can’t, and having visions of South Padre Island beaches, you’ll be walking in a winter wonderland, and you’ll be one of the few prepared in the case of an emergency, which in this case is the most unlikely, a winter storm in March or April. It could happen. I remember it once snowed on Easter.
Spring also means spring cleaning!
Yes, it’s those two utterly despised words you dread to hear. Sorry to ruin your vision of sugar plums in March, but spring cleaning is part of the seasonal package.
I’m no Heloise or Martha Stewart, who I wouldn’t want to be right now anyway, but ideally, spring cleaning is a strong act of courage that should be done, or at least attempted, on an annual basis during this time of year when the sun decides to shine directly above the equator in a process referred to as “vernal equinox.”
For short, you can call this process “vernie” or just “spring fever.” But who cares anyway? Spring has sprung!
For some people, spring cleaning is a biannual, once every two years or once a millennium thing. But for most of us, we participate in this ritual every spring to some degree, even if it’s just giving the TV a good dusting or getting a new spouse.
All I know is there is something about the position of the sun this time of year that makes people suddenly realize those Thanksgiving leftovers have completely taken over the household. Then they decide to clean out that garage, which is still in disarray from last summer’s garage sale. And might as well clean the attic, linen closets and kitchen. And don’t forget about the outside. Almost time to mow.
Where does it end?
There’s no magic formula for spring cleaning. It’s just a matter of getting yourself off the couch. Or futon. Or Lazy Boy. There’s no such thing as a well-timed spring cleaning, either. When I was a child, it always came at the absolutely worst times, like those mornings when we planned to sleep in or hang out with friends.
It always started off innocently, but then quickly escalated into a full-blown spring cleaning nightmare. Mom would go in the kitchen and start moving a few things around. Next thing we knew, the cupboard doors were flying open and a funny smell started floating around as Mom took everything out of the fridge. I couldn’t understand why they called it spring cleaning. She was destroying the house!
Mom basically took everything in the entire house, or so it seemed, out of its place, and then it was our job to put it back. Then she’d march into our bedroom with a big trash bag and start filling it with old, broken toys. We’d go through the bag later and take most of the toys back out. It wasn’t really spring cleaning. More like spring rearranging. We just moved our junk from one spot to another until the next spring cleaning.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at
helena_rodriguez@link.freedom.com