According to the calendar, it's now spring.

You might have missed it, but it happened on Sunday.

Now that spring is officially here, I'd like to think it's time to start thinking about home and garden matters - at least sprucing up the flower beds, and maybe even diving into projects a little more ambitious than just cleaning gutters and picking up all the debris that keeps falling out of the trees.

But nooooooo!

It's still cold and wet and creepy out there - and it's getting on my nerves!

It wasn't an especially hard winter, I have to admit. Not once did I have to put the chains on the old Honda just to get out of our dumb crooked, uphill driveway, and no pipes at my house burst because of the cold (even though we did have two or three pretty hard freezes).

My back yard is still very close to qualifying as a wetland. Thanks to a very deep, thick layer of clay just a few inches beneath what we laughingly refer to as our 'lawn,' it's mostly water out there. I haven't spotted any ducks swimming in it, but I think they could if they would just try.

Meanwhile, according to my personal weather consultant, Rhonda Shelby (who doesn't know me from Adam, of course), the long-range weather forecast is for rain today, rain tomorrow and pretty much rain for the next six days. (I'm writing this on Friday, just to orient you in time, but I really don't think that will make much difference to the point I'm trying to make.)

I have stocked up on moss killer, and rest assured, I know how to use it - but even if I did run out last week and attack the moss that's growing on my roof, fence, sidewalk and driveway, it would, at this rate, be back in a few days.

Same goes for the 30 Second Outdoor Cleaner I've purchased to take the winter grunge off of the patio furniture. Even though I know full well that 'it cleans virtually any outdoor surface,' it doesn't do much good if we continue to get this cold drizzle that makes grown men whimper at the thought of going out to fetch the newspaper or the mail.

It's not like we get a lot of rain here, you know. I didn't really understand that before I lived in some other places and visited others even farther away.

It can really, really rain in Hawaii - a matter of inches in just a few minutes.

And in a couple of places I once lived - Memphis, Tenn., and the Florida Panhandle come to mind - a mere summer shower can dump as much rain in 20 minutes as we might get in a couple of weeks.

But you know what else it does there?

That's right. It stops!

And then the sun comes out and dries things up, and the sky turns blue. Blue, I tell you! And it's warm.

Come on, spring. You can do it.

The daffodils and crocuses showed up weeks ago, for crying out loud.

You were supposed to be here four days ago, but we won't hold it against you if just stop fooling around and, you know, arrive already.

Let's face facts: We're just simple Oregonians here, with short memories - not to mention the fact that we're almost obnoxiously forgiving. Usually, it only takes about 10 minutes after the sun comes out for us to forget that there ever was a winter.

So, how about getting your butt in here, and this will all be forgotten.

Former editor of the Lake Oswego Review and former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly handles special sections for Community Newspapers and contributes a regular column.

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