May is my month, the month I'm the happiest.
And it's mainly because of two words that both start with the letter "P."
Plants and the porch.
As I write this column on Wednesday evening, I already have promised myself to devote some of the upcoming sunny, warm weekend to both of these "P" word pursuits.
That means a trip to the greenhouse to buy plants and a trip to the basement to bring out of storage the blinds and furniture and assorted porch paraphernalia.
Both do my heart good, but the trip to the greenhouse is way more fun, definitely more pleasing to the eye than the Kiaski dungeon where chairs and stands and such are stacked, awaiting their rightful return to the outdoor setting.
Everything looks beautiful, though, when you go to buy plants, and I am one very discerning consumer when it comes to purchasing them.
I look around, and I want one of everything, please. My husband's buying.
But then I settle down after about my 100th "Oh, that's so pretty!" assessment of yet another display of foliage and flowers. Better Half has long since tuned me out, of course, having his tomato time with the likes of Early Girls, Big Boys and Better Boys.
I respect that because these are important decisions and consumer transactions as the tomatoes ultimately produce the nectar of the gods - Better Half's highly sought after tomato juice after which all the family clamors.
He talks to his plants. I talk to mine. I tell them how pretty they are, what a great job they're doing. I ask them if they're thirsty, if there's anything I can get them.
God only knows what I'd do if they ever verbally responded.
Probably write a column about it.
With plants in place, the porch goes from barren to busy with furniture and all the fixins', including the glorious grill that makes even me happy to cook.
The baskets are hung, the furniture arranged and all is well with one chair understood to be Better Half's, the other one mine, optimum spots for crossword puzzle solving and snoozing, respectively.
I forget how much I've missed the back porch through the winter months until it's all fixed up and ready for leisure living, until I've sat out there and savored those initial moments of returning to a familiar haven.
The back porch is like a friend you don't see all the time but when you do, you pick right back up where you left off.
You don't miss a beat.
Good things happen on the back porch, the place where we solve the world's problems, decide on dinner and watch the tomato plants grow and the flowers bloom.
It is a setting ideal in which to do nothing and then rest afterwards, so the Spanish proverb goes.
I'm all for that, especially starting with this fifth month of the year.
Welcome back, May.
We've missed you.
(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at email@example.com.)