Thursday, February 04, 2010

Every month has its upsides and downsides

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Editorial section
Moncton Times & Transcript

I'm not one for wishing an entire month away, but if someone asked me what my least-favourite month of the year was, I'd have to say January. It's a long month usually devoid of much celebration -- in fact, any semblance of celebration from the Christmas season is taken down and put away for another year.

Usually, it's cold, snowy and bleak. The days are short and there's no holiday until Good Friday, which falls on April 2 this year. Not bad. Kind of in the middle of "early and late" as far as Easter goes. Next year will be exceptionally painful as Good Friday 2011 falls incredibly late on April 22 -- practically in May!

There was some online chatter last week about favourite months. April was mentioned as a very depressing month by a couple of people, mostly because of the mud from the spring thaw and the fact that the trees are still pretty bare. One person I used to work with absolutely despised November for pretty much the same reason. For me, every month has its pros and cons.

January: The pros to January are a return to routine after the Christmas break. The kids go back to school. There's not a lot going on, so resting is not too difficult to do. The cons are pretty obvious. It's a long, cold, snowy month. The days are still short and the absence of Christmas lights makes them all that more dreary. And then there are the Christmas bills.

February: This is a month with a non-statutory holiday in there called Valentine's Day. The stores are all decorated in red and white. Lovers prepare for a cozy night together in a nice restaurant or in front of a fireplace. For single people, however, Valentine's Day is a time for stuffing your face with chocolate and trying to watch reruns of Golden Girls through your tears.

March: This is the teaser month. It usually starts off a lot like winter and somewhere in between we get visited by spring! Oh the joy! Things melt a bit. We even get to see the grass in our yards again. On a particularly balmy day, we may even see children drive by on their bicycles. Spring is here! Then, reality hits when the inevitable snowstorms come and we're buried again until mid-April. Well, at least the days are longer so we can see what we're shovelling.

April: This is the muddy month when things usually thaw out, but winter has not gone just yet. There's always that one big storm left in April that causes even the most positive people to contemplate mass murder. Kids, when it snows in April, let's just say that it's not a good day to ask mom and dad for a raise in your allowance. On the good side, however, Easter often occurs in April, giving us a couple of days off work and a reason to eat lots of chocolate!

May: The good thing about May is that the days are really long and the warm weather starts to return in a more regular manner. There's also Victoria Day, which means opening up the cottage for the year (if you have one) or taking a few days to clean up the yard. The leaves come out on the trees, which is nice. And the bad? Well, in some years, Mother Nature rears her ugly head like Jason at the end of those Friday the 13th movies. Just when you think she's dead and buried for another year, it starts to snow. (For instance, Moncton received 47 centimetres of snow throughout May 1985.) Many of us mow our lawns for the first time.

June: The kids get out of school and people turn their thoughts to vacations. Lawns definitely need mowing by now.

The longest day of the year occurs, usually on the 21st. On the negative side, there are some very warm days for those who don't like the heat. It's also the time you notice your home or car air conditioner is broken.

July and August: I'll lump these two in together. Lots of tourists around. Vacations are in full tilt. Kids start off super excited and then end up being bored. Parents start off super happy to have the kids home and then are super happy that they're going back. There's nothing on TV but reruns and some reality talent shows. Christmas decorations start to creep into stores, driving many people crazy. Various summer afflictions abound, including bee stings, sunburns, jellyfish stings, and bug bites.

September: The smell of a freshly mowed lawn -- so pleasant in May and June -- has now grown old and the chore of mowing has eclipsed the earlier pleasure. The kids are back in school. Vacations are over. Routine returns. Television shows return. The days get shorter. The weather is still very nice.

October: Usually very nice weather and nice scenery with the leaves changing. This is my favourite month. It's the month of Thanksgiving and the harvest. The kids get Halloween to enjoy -- and so do the adults. The first snowflakes of the year fly. People talk about seeing their first snowflake of the season like they've just seen a unicorn.

November and December, for all intents and purposes, are all about Christmas and getting ready for winter, especially after Remembrance Day, when the holiday season swings into full gear. The Christmas haters rue every waking moment.

The Christmas lovers revel in their favourite time of the year. Parents can finally use the "Santa card" again when disciplining their children. We wonder what we'll do on New Year's Eve.

Every month has its good points and bad points. The secret is finding the joy of whatever month it is and focusing on that. Thank goodness I like the Golden Girls.

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