Obama's First 100 Days Lost Out To My Last 30 Days


It might be the first 100 days in office for President Obama, but it is the last 30 days in high school for the Resident Diva. So last night, instead of watching the president's press conference, I was outside doing the kind of stuff around the house that needs to be done well in advance of any big event if you plan to see the results you want when you want them.

I pruned unruly bushes that had gotten out of shape and over seeded the thin spots in the backyard while his prime time telecast went on. As I sat on the patio, watching the water soak into the carefully prepared patches of soil where our bermuda grass had fallen down on the job, I thought about all the things I had been doing lately to slowly begin to scrape the ravages of winter away from the nooks and crannies, and began to catalog all the little things, now sticking out like sore thumbs, that had yet to be addressed.

I imagine, as President Obama put together his speech over the past few days, that he had done the same thing.

Over the next few weeks, the basic work that I've already accomplished will start to reveal itself as the detail work begins. You will see the same thing happening with the many adjustments the Obama administration has made to government policy on the economy, the military, our healthcare system and the framework of our legal system.

The difference is, everyone who will be in and out of our house during graduation weekend will be none the wiser that the bathtub drains that appear to flow freely used to be clogged with hair, or that the moldings and trim used to be covered with cobwebs and pollen and dirt, or that the windows that sparkle in the sunlight were not so long ago covered with a layer of grime and pieces of leaves. The president's problem is that we all know what our nation used to look like, how it used to operate, and and how many people used to have jobs.

How close President Obama's plans and policies come to restoring those things will be the yardstick by which we measure his efforts, no matter how much his speeches strive to fill the gap between reality and what we see going on around us.

Later, on the inside, as I thought about the new watering schedule I'd be on for the next few weeks to my yard back into shape, I heard this phrase that the president had uttered in his brief speech before he took questions while I was listening to the news. "We cannot go back to an economy that is built on a pile of sand - on inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards, on overleveraged banks and outdated regulations that allowed the recklessness of a few to threaten the prosperity of us all," Mr. Obama said.

The guy at the hardware store had suggested that I use a little sand in the patches where I used the grass seed. "It helps the seed stay moist," the guy said. But I had my own blend of top soil and potting soil waiting for me at home that I have been using for years to make those seedlings begin popping out of the ground in less than two weeks. Maybe the president has his own version of my potting soil remedy that he plans to sprinkle over the bare spots in our economy. Maybe all the overseeding of Wall Street's banks will finally begin to pay off.

A month from now, our house here in Atlanta will be in order. The nation, on the other hand, will still be feeling its way along as the strategies that President Obama and his advisers lay out finally begin to take root, much like the grass seed that I planted last night.






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