Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life Failures in all seriousness

The trim on my house needs to be painted. I can’t do it and get it done in one summer.
Which is why the trim on half the windows is yellow and half blue. And some of the white parts aren’t any more. They are flaky. Those parts are too hard for someone without lots of experience in high places. So I have to get bids and pick a painter. This is anxiety producing. Mainly because of money. The last time I checked this out the painters wanted $3000. That is THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Hence the half-finished look which reproaches me every time I drive up to the house.

It looks slovenly. The yellow windows imply laziness, poor financial planning, and a general unworthiness. IF I had only WORKED HARDER at my career, I’d have money. (Or I would have finished the damn painting.) OR I could have married money but I didn’t. So I don’t have pots of money to throw at painters. If I had done those things, one or the other of them, I’d be able to afford a painter without stressing about it. I could call, get bids, pick the one I think most suitable and they would arrive with brushes and ladders and my chosen color of paint. They would scrape and scaffold and paint, and in a few days, I’d have have new looking trim. Some, I”m sure, would need replacing. Go ahead, I’d say. Fix it. And not sneak in the house to fret over the cost.

Painters will arrive. The work will get done. I will fret over the cost, over where the money will come from, while the primary breadwinner in our family goes off to even more over-time shifts and I feel feckless. This is the deal we have made in our marriage, but I am no longer comfortable with it. At my age a serious career is not looming over me. So I am stuck feeling that I should paint. I should do the work I can’t pay for. In future this could and probably will get worse, as lawn mowing and snow shovellng become more challenging.

Solutions? I have none. Who knows when or if we will ever be able to retire. The economy has twice fallen out from under our retirement funds, leaving the future precarious and anxiety producing. Panic inducing actually. Anxiety doesn’t describe it.
A house is a money sink. I have lived in a condominium and hated it. What to do? An apartment makes having a dog and even a cat, a challenge. A condo has no resale. A tent perhaps, though in my climate that would certainly put the challenge of pets and apartments into perspective.

Today, it is raining. You can’t paint in the rain. I suppose I could make a few calls. The painter won’t get cheaper. And if we get it done now, we won’t have to think about it for years. Perhaps never again. And it will be one less thing to obsess about.


  1. Stop, now. The reason your trim hasn't been painted is that I took a look at it and got fussy about lead and then Jo backed me up. It's not that you're lazt or failing to live up to your obligations in the family.

    Also, there's simply no way to deal with the perceived inequity of one person making most of the money -- I think you just have to let it go.

    Recently I mentioned to Elana that if she made money as a screenwriter I could be a stay-at-home husband who periodically disappears off to Hawaii and Korea. She gave me a funny look.

  2. my son's a stay at home husband/child caretaker/house fixer/ laundry doer/ etc. It works for why not. personally, I think EVERYONE should be able to stay home (or do whatever they wish with their lives) and somebody else should pay for it all.