Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – Feb 25-2016

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Welcome to spring.It’s been a while coming but thankfully it has arrived.Okay, technically I know that I am a tad early in my seasonal proclamation that winter is dead and summer is directly ahead. According to calendars, the Farmer’s Almanac, and horoscopes everywhere Spring does not arrive for another 25 days or so, however around the House of Hodge all the important signs are showing.Chainsaws are resonating around the city as spring pruning takes place, flower bulbs and chutes of flowers are poking their head through the dirt and left over leaves, and most importantly, Tez has donned the sweat pants, sweater, and gloves and is working her butt off in the yard while I drink a cold beer and analyze the yard work ahead of her.Yup, nothing like spring to shake off the winter doldrums.Like many Canadian boys, work fascinates me and I can sit and watch it for hours. One of the most critical aspects of any work is the careful planning and study that precedes it.Tez and I see ourselves as calculated, veteran, experts in our ability to take lots of time to carefully analyze and plan our yard each year. In fact, if not for our meticulous dedication to landscape procrastination our yard work would be completed weeks ahead of when it normally is. We have ‘doing nothing’ down to a fine art.Still, someone has to actually start physical work somewhere, and this year it seems Teresa is way ahead of the curve.I of course, must wait a bit to see what teams make the NHL playoffs before planning my outdoor work schedule (though with no Canadian teams fairing well I may be raking and shoveling sooner than normal).I think it was Paul who motivated Teresa to hit the garden early, which really is the result of a New Year’s Eve party.During idle party chit chat I mentioned that I needed to find someone to replace my roof this spring. Party hosts Cliff and Daphne immediately provided me a roofer’s name to which I then sarcastically suggested that while a roofer was handy what I really needed was a tree cutter who could take down some of my trees first. I deducted there was no sense replacing my roof only to have a felled tree land on it. (Advance planning savvy like that got me elected). That’s when Paul,  another party guest sitting next to me smiled and handed me his card Paul’s Dangerous Tree Cutting service.I avoided suggesting cutting any tree was dangerous and simply cut (logger jargon) to the core of the joke and asked, “how much?”The party volume blurred much of Paul response, however I extracted key words such as, “Spring deal, cheap, and professional.”I replied, “hired.”So, for the past few weeks when weather permitted Paul played the chainsaw in our yard, much to the chagrin of sleeping squirrels and neighbours.I am always amazed how some folks can nimbly scamper up and down trees carrying heavy saws and gear, and not only drop chunks of trees exactly where they want, but do so with a smile on their face. Paul is not a small man, in fact two of me would still be smaller, but that does not stop him from getting the job done.Rain, snow, cold… Paul imitated the mailperson persevering through despite the weather to get the job done.As each old, light-blocking Maple or Fir tumbled, Teresa giggled with joy anticipating the increased sunlight on our vegetable gardens. No sooner had Paul scooped up and hauled away the last ruminants of his chain-saw sabotage then Tez was out there with her shovel and wheelbarrow.Gosh that girl can work.Of course, the real sign that Spring has arrived will likely take place this weekend when Tez and I plan and then decorate our annual Easter tree. A fascinating cork-screw willow in our front yard has become our traditional seasonal tree – attractive decor based on the time of year. Christmas Tree, Halloween, Easter – depending on the event so go the decorations.Next to Christmas, the Easter tree is our favourite. Soon the tree will be adorned in Easter eggs, pastel coloured ribbons and ornaments, and even a few chicks and bunnies. Neighbourhood kids think it is pretty funky.I can hardly wait to suggest to Tez where she should hang things.My verbal input is important, of course, due to the busy spring ahead of us work wise. After all, sometime later this month Mike the roof guy will stop by and begin ripping off our roof and putting on another. I had better have my analysis and suggestion game working at 110 per cent in order to be my typical helpful self.Hesitation is time and time is money.Yup, spring is here and it is going to busy. Makes me almost wish it was summer already.

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Last but certainly not least, two wishes to my dear long-time friend Marion Krahn. Happy Birthday (last week) to one of the kindest and gentlest people I have had the honour of knowing on my spin through the universe. I have always marvelled at your grace and quiet yet brilliant wit.I also wish you much comfort, strength, peace, and empowerment as you face your current health challenges. Blessings to you as you move forward in your battle.


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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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