By KAREN CIMMS

kcimms@tnonline.com

My husband hates this time of year.

He says it's because winter is just around the corner and he hates the cold, but I think he's lying.

Yes, there's a bit of a nip in the air. There are still some warm, summer days, but they are waning. Evenings are getting chilly, and the breeze carries a hint of wood smoke.

Mother Nature is preparing to put her children to bed. Although it's early, the leaves are starting to color and some are even falling. The deer are nibbling away at what's left of the garden, and everyone is getting plump, from the chipmunks to the bears.

And while the squirrels hide their nuts, I begin to turn into one.

After a sluggish summer, in the fall, I become energized and every home makeover project I dreamed about from January through August, must get done now.

Like the animals in the woods that surround our home, I also need to feather my nest and prepare for winter.

In the spring, I want to clean, organize and get rid of things. In the fall, I want to gather, create and decorate.

I'm lucky that my husband is a skilled craftsman carpenter, painter, plumber, electrician you name it. He is an excellent partner for someone like me.

For my birthday he bought me a power washer. Normally, this would be grounds for divorce, but honestly, it's what I wanted. On the hottest day of the year, we gave the front of our home a thorough cleaning.

With more hot days to follow, the novelty quickly wore off, and the power washer found a home in the shed.

But now with autumn upon us, I convinced my husband we need to finish the rest of the house and stain and seal all the woodwork.

Before we could make it to the store to pick out the stain for the deck, our friends completed a beautiful bathroom remodel. Amy said they had some beadboard left and she was going to sell it. I told her not to do anything until I got back to her.

That night I said to my husband, "Do you remember how I wanted to put beadboard up in the downstairs bathroom?"

"No. I do not ever remember hearing that," he answered.

Whether or not he heard me, I said it. A few days later we picked up the beadboard. In love with the colors Amy and Bob used in their bathroom, it was off to Lowe's.

An hour later my car was loaded with several gallons of paint, stain, brushes, rollers, and a half-dozen paint chips, because if we are going to do the deck, we HAVE to repaint the front door.

We were half-way home before I realized I had forgotten to get paint chips for the dining room.

"What?!?" said my poor, overworked husband.

I reminded him we haven't repainted the dining room in years, and that I specifically said last year that the dining room was next.

He didn't remember that either.

Plus, I just bought new curtains, and what's the point of hanging new curtains if the room needs to be painted?

Now, it would be one thing if I was just overly ambitious (can I say that if I'm not the one doing all the work?), but there's a pattern here.

This time last year when I got the urge to nest, we converted my old office into a guest room. Instead of carpet, we put in a wood laminate floor.

"If we are going to do the guest room, we might as well do the hallway," I said.

By Thanksgiving, we had a new guest room, as well as new floors in two other rooms.

In the previous two autumns, we turned my daughter's old bedroom into an office/sewing room; repainted the living room, kitchen, hallways and master bedroom; re-tiled the bathrooms and kitchen; replaced fixtures in both bathrooms; put up new wallpaper. The list goes on and on.

So while I am reveling in decorating magazines and blogs, picking paint samples and accessories, my husband is scraping, spackling, sanding, painting, grouting ... Get the picture?

I'm feathering the nest, and he wants to fly south for the winter. I really don't believe it has anything to do with that chill in the air.