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Spring cleaning when I was in tenure chez The Mom involved me bringing the cushions for the patio furniture up from the basement and listening to The Mom hem and haw about whether or not she could be arsed painting the deck.

This, to me, seemed about the right amount of effort. But on the day in question, when The Mom, Crazy D and L’il Sis were there, that amount of effort began to seriously pale in comparison. I doubt highly it was The Mom’s doing.

I suspect what happened was she had looked at the forecast and had relayed the information that it was going to be A Nice Day and then started to imagine all the nice things she could do outside that she hasn’t been able to do as her part of Canada has been enduring some kind of catastrophic winter that threatens to never end. I imagine her list was something along the lines of sit outside, with Mrs. Beeton, eat lunch. That would’ve led her to start wondering, aloud, about cleaning up the deck and the like.

Which is where Crazy D and L’il Sis would’ve lurched into action.

“Clean the deck, you say?” Crazy D might have said, in that oh, really, tone he reserves exclusively for The Mom. “With the butter knife?” he’d say, in a more accusatory tone.

“What else would you use?” The Mom would sniff.

At this point, Crazy D would roll his eyes. “Let’s use tools this time.”

“The butter knife is a tool! It comes form the tool box!” The Mom would cry. The tool box being the drawer where she keeps her tools which amount to a dull pair of scissors, a screwdriver and of course her trusty butter knife. To underscore the fact that she deems this to be all the tools one would ever need, The Mom would then put on her best hurt face.

“Why don’t you let us do it?” Crazy D would say.

“Fine, what do I know, I’m only your mother,” The Mom would say before retiring to the kitchen table with whatever trashy novel she’s featuring that day.

At this point, Crazy D would’ve gone to get L’il Sis and they would have agreed upon some kind of Sensible Plan to divvy up the cleaning up and out of things in a reasonable and efficient fashion. I know this took place because every hour or so L’il Sis sent me pictures.

Crazy D on his hands and knees cleaning the deck using tools purloined from the neighbours.

Crazy D with the BBQ all undone, cleaning it, using bleach I imagine due to the presence of some rather jaunty yellow gloves. I didn’t even know the BBQ could be taken apart for cleaning. In the spring when I lived there we just threw open the lid, screamed at whatever beasties might be living in there, threw a match at it and hoped for the best. That it is something one can clean was beyond me completely.

The pictures kept coming until I knew that the cleaning had been a success. The last picture L’il Sis sent me was of The Mom, in her usual semi-ridiculous summer straw hat, sitting at the table that goes on the back deck, with Mrs Beeton at her side. They were enjoying The Mom’s only in summer lunch of choice: smoked salmon on rye toast. And that, beyond any kind of cleaning or weather-related information is how one knows that summer has officially begun. Smoked Salmon.