Spent a lovely quiet weekend doing not much of anything. Not doing much of anything is something that I excel at.

Full disclosure though – I did finally vacuum my house. Fuller disclosure – and some may wish to turn away now – I hadn’t vacuumed in about a month. Yes, I do have four dogs. Also, I have a cat. Disgusting, yes? Your wrinkled noise and pursed lips give you away.

During a phone conversation Friday with my youngest sister, I actually made this confession out loud about the lack of vacuuming. It was a surprisingly easy confession to make, mainly because she lives something like 3,000 miles away and could not verbally berate me while also throwing nasty looks my way. Also because it’s not like she ever picked up her room when she lived at home. Lastly, because she’s my little sister and sorta has to keep looking up to me, even as I give her good reasons not to.

Still, she voiced the expected response: “Ewwww!”

Admitted one’s problem is the first step toward fixing it, right?

Therefore, despite it being a lovely warm day, I tackled the vacuuming on Saturday. I won’t go into lengthy details about the over-sized dust bunnies I tackled, the copious amount of dog hair pulled up from the carpeting and furniture or the actual pebbles that got tracked into the house, along with twigs, bits of moss and other sundry organic bits of matter. I will tell you it took two and half vacuum bags. I don’t consider that bad. I fully expected it would take three.

Since that was a large step to take toward self-improvement, I opted to skip on floor scrubbing and bathroom cleansing and move right on to the reading outdoors portion of the day.

Immediately became immersed in a new book. I love that sensation of being drawn into a book within the first few pages. Ideally, I like when I became entangled in a story within the first paragraph or the first page – that is always some fine storytelling, but I’m equally satisfied when the words drawn me in within the first few pages or the first chapter. Always so disheartening when I cannot find a connection while in the first chapter. Sometimes the story may unfold a bit more slowly, but more often than not, if I cannot get drawn in from the start, the book is a dud.

Since this story was quite enchanting, despite the frequent use of French phrases and I don’t speak or read French, I forgot I’d been outside reading for an hour in the sun. JaYoBaCa were not a big help with this either. They were so exhausted from the adventures of late, they seemed perfectly content to just snooze inside. Windows were open in the house and the house stays pretty cool unless we get several days of 85+ degree weather. Perfect for dog napping. Once I realized that I was becoming sunburned, I joined them inside to read some more.

Usually a move to the couch to read turns into a nap for me as well. Not saying this time it didn’t, but because the book is good, it did take another hour or so before that happened. There is something so peaceful about a warm day, insects buzzing and birds peeping outside, a book, and a dog cuddled up against your butt – that would be Youke, the best nap partner, ever – that is conducive to drifting off. Except I dreamt about vampires, killers, bloody corpses and people beating each other up. No doubt the after-effect of the movie I watched the night before.

So when Sunday dawned … okay, I suppose I can argue that 9 am is not exactly dawn.

So when Sunday came around, I opted for a day of completely doing nothing. Again, this was met without a whole lot of protest from JaYoBaCa. I train my dogs well. Be ready to go at a moment’s notice and go all out, but when it’s time to chill, it is time to nap.

I briefly considered all the more ambitious folks out there with their home improvement projects and trips to the big box home improvement stores, and scoffed. My idea of a weekend is NOT doing home improvement and certainly NOT spending money at a big box store.

See, I hate housework (the month between vacuum jobs should be evidence of that) and I’ve never cared about how my house looks. When I was a kid, I’d tell my mother I was going to the barn whenever she told me and my siblings we had to pitch in and help with housework. I’d actually bribe my brothers and take on their barn chores in exchange for them taking on my share of housework. I’d happily muck out every single stall in the barn instead of raising a hand to dust or plug in the vacuum cleaner.

I also don’t care about House Beautiful. As long as I have a roof over my head, appliances and a heating system that work, and a bed (and couch) that is comfortable, I don’t care that my lawn isn’t a picture of manicured perfection instead of a mix of overgrown grass and bare dirt patches, that my deck needs to be re-stained and that my sliding patio door doesn’t slide very well and goes out to a mess of dried up and sometimes too wet dead leaves instead of pretty flower boxes. I don’t really care that my overstuffed chair has stuffing coming out of it from some mysterious and obviously very violent dog attack from two years ago, because throw a cheap fleece-y blanket from Bartell’s Drug Store over it, perch a cat on top of that, and really, would anyone know? Yes, so the pictures that hang on the walls are sometimes askew because sometimes I indulge JaYoBaCa in a indoors game of tug or fetch, but I live here, not anyone that cares about such silly things.

All of this is to say that I cannot imagine wasting time shopping for and doing home improvement. It seems like a big conspiracy started by retailers that start with “H” and “L” during the housing boom. Perhaps it’s conceited on my part, but I refuse to be a lemming.

Instead, on Sunday I read, napped and played with dogs in the overgrown grass and dirt patches that serve as my lawn. Major highlight of the day – playing The Pine Cone Game with Youke. Youke is very fond of making up games and The Pine Cone Game is an old favorite. He finds a pine cone, tosses it to me and I am expected to toss it back to him. He bites the pine cone each time upon its return to him, thus making the pine cone smaller and smaller, less attractive, more slimy and eventually impossible to play with. The game is even better if I toss the pine cone in among other pine cones or in the long grass for Youke to figure out. I’ve never been able to trick him. The game is expected to continue ad infinitum, or until I grow bored and tell him we’re done.

This incredibly stimulating weekend led me to sleep until 10 am Monday. Egads! Even I was a tad embarrassed at that. And what in the world is wrong with the dogs that they would allow that to happen?

Even though I felt like a noodle, I vowed that today called for some kind of physical activity. Of course, it was raining and at least 15 degrees cooler today than over the weekend. Nevertheless, plunged forward without the benefit of coffee and off to the woods and fields we went.

Several hours later, soaking wet, but steaming from the breaks of sun trying to break though the cloud cover, and breathing deeply through my nose the sweet earthy, woodsy fresh air and captaining an invisible ship with my dog-mates in their designated positions across the bow and astern, I realized I wasn’t a limp noodle as much as I was al dente.

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