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KALIS: With sincere apologies for our unkempt yard and cluttered house

• Oct 16, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Every fall we seem to fall behind. Our house is a mess, our calendar is crazy, the yard looks like we’ve skipped town and we just can’t seem to get it together.

Why are we such a disaster case this time of year? Well, instead of cutting the grass Saturday, I did something far more productive — I did some research (aka thorough thinking) as to what could be causing this strange phenomenon. Here are the conclusions I’ve drawn from my scientific method:

1. We have a condition called Seasonal Denial.

Although we like fall, we love summer and typically the transition from one to the other is done while kicking and screaming. The reluctance to let go of summertime results in things like not putting the deck furniture away because we are still using it, even though it’s too cold, rainy, buggy or dangerous due to the large artillery of acorns dropping on our heads. Every year, without fail, my husband is out Jerry-rigging a heater with a shop lamp and extension cord to protect the boat from freezing, because winterizing on a nice fall day would be foolish. What if we decide to take the boat out one more time?

2. Fall sports.

We are deep into varsity soccer season right now (Go Bucs!), which does overlap with hockey preseason and will run right into regular hockey season, so it makes sense that things on our fall to-do list take a back seat to our son’s games and other team commitments. However, these are not the only fall sports around which we schedule our life. There’s also Michigan football on Saturdays and the torturous ritual of Lions football on Sundays, after which often feels like you totally wasted your day, yet every Sunday we have to watch. It’s like looking at a car crash even though you don’t want to.

3. An obliviousness to weather forecasts.

In the summer, we have what could be considered close to an obsession with the weather since we need to determine if we can take the boat out, go to the beach and be outside. But, in the fall, we seem to revert to assumptions: Well, it was nice today, so that means it’s probably going to be nice tomorrow as well and we can just rake the leaves then.

It’s logic that cannot be followed. Interestingly enough, despite getting burned multiple times with rainy, windy, cold days following a sunny, dry one, we continue to use this logic week in and week out.

4. A matter of priorities.

Before I went back to work full time, the house was clean and neat, the yard work was done, and all household chores were taken care of before the end of the week, so we could spend our weekend relaxing and having fun together as a family. Unfortunately, this is no longer plausible, and when the weekend rolls around, after a full week of work, the to-do list sits waiting and, quite frankly, I don’t feel like doing any of it. Now, some may call this laziness, but I think of it this way: I could spend the whole weekend catching up on all the chores, or I could spend time with my family, even if it’s sitting around watching a football game or hanging out on the couch in our pajamas. I could harvest our neglected garden, or I could enjoy a cup of coffee, read a book and go for a run — allowing myself time to relax and reboot. It took me a while to be at peace with these choices and let go of the stress and worry about not doing what I “should” be doing. And sometimes I still need to remind myself that, years from now, no one’s going to remember or care that the yard looked nice and the dishwasher was run.

I have a sign in my kitchen that reads, “Good moms have dirty ovens, sticky floors and happy kids.” Sure, I might like it because it makes me feel better about my rationalizations, but it’s also a true reminder of what really matters. After all, my goal in life is not to be known for an ability to maintain a yard or manage a household. It’s to be the best mom I can possibly be, and if that means I have to sit around and do nothing, so be it!

And on that note, I believe there’s a football game about to kick off. (Sorry about our long grass, but it’s supposed to be nice tomorrow, isn’t it?)

— By Kelly Kalis, Tribune community columnist

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