The high cost of maintenance is weighing heavy on my mind, as it has been rather expensive to live my quiet little life recently. I've been adding the expenses up, comparing my income levels to a year ago and marvelling at the fact that I have been keeping afloat despite all extra curricular costs.
The grand totals of "all of the above" boggle my mind a little bit and although that is a little bit daunting, it is truly the time it takes to keep on top of life's maintenance that has been the heavier burden to bear.
Life has been very fair about handing out only what I can manage to deal with at one time. Financial burdens were offset by the ability to bear the brunt of the cost. Time obligations were offset by the ability to put high priority items first and foremost, while life remained calm and steady on other fronts.
Now that the dust seems to be settling after treading through some of life's uncertainties, it seems I'm more available for other relationships within my little world and feels good to have the time and energy to devote to other matters.
Tending to the maintenance of life is tedious, expensive (at times) and time consuming. But it is far better to take care of a little preventative maintenance than it is, to break down on the side of the road and wait to be rescued (a little metaphor taken from a real life moment).
After losing a tooth that could not be saved, I realized the importance of taking care of another tooth in jeopardy. One tooth lost = another tooth saved. Somewhat costly and a little time consuming, but in preventing another loss, I saved myself some pain. Both physically and financially. A tooth saved is a tooth well earned.
After being stranded on the side of a busy thoroughfare on our first cold day of winter, I have been taking preventative measures to ensure my chances of a car letting me down in the future is lessened. Perhaps I've taken this a little bit overboard, as my distrust for anything with four wheels has cost me a pretty penny and I'm sure my mechanic is growing sick and tired of my endless calls. But I've been putting on a lot of miles lately and I am trying to avoid another mechanical distress call in the future. Fine tuning all that ails my car before it breaks down is cheaper (and less traumatic) than the feeling of coasting over to the shoulder just in the nick of time. This is the price of independence. It doesn't come cheap but it is well worth preserving.
A case of frozen pipes during the second cold snap winter had to dole out was yet another lesson in preservation. I am not quite certain I have done all that can be done to prevent a future occurrence but my plumbers did their best to assure me all has been done, that can be done. One doesn't realize the gift of free-flowing drainage until one loses the privilege.
I do believe our third (and final) cold snap the winter season had to dole out did not result in any further maintenance. That came when the weather warmed up and the need to replace summer tires ate up the last bit of assurance I had, that my car troubles were behind me. But, in the grand scheme of things, a brand new set of tires has bought me peace of mind that a worn out set of tires could not provide. I have many more miles to travel and now I feel road worthy and ready to leave on a moment's notice. This is a very good way to feel.
While life's bigger ticket items were wearing out on me, little things were weighing just as heavily on my mind. Like the fact that they no longer carry the "purse/wallet" I have been using for the past decade or so. The replacement purse I had on hand started falling apart mere days after I started using it. Seams were not sewn securely; a rivet came undone; the tab on the zipper wore out prematurely (unfortunately my back-up purse sat unused for well over a year, so any guarantee was null and void).
I started searching for a replacement and the sense of dread that came over me equalled the feeling I had while I was sitting on the side of the road in the dead of winter, waiting for a tow truck. Only it was worse. At least I KNEW a tow truck was on its way. At least I KNEW a rescue and repair &/or replacement mission would set me back on the road again. But the lack of knowing I could find a replacement purse that would do the same job as the ones that had preceded it?! It was a fate worse than car repair.
I spent the better part of one of a day off, scouring the Internet for a replacement purse. I found a one that may or may not have worked, but it cost four times the amount of my "original". I found a second one that would have done in a pinch but it wasn't exactly what I wanted. So I searched some more. And you will NEVER guess what I found at my friendly, neighborhood WalMart!?! An (almost) identical purse to the original. It isn't perfect but it is far superior to the others I found after a day of searching the world wide web. So guess what I did?
Yes, I did. I bought "three". One for immediate use and two spares. I know a person who likes this purse just as much as I do and we were equally stunned by the fact that we could not replace that-which-worked with an identical item. So I spread the good news to her and picked up a spare purse just in case she can't find one.
I am feeling equally torn over not being able to replace my pajamas with a pair that is identical to the ones I am wearing. I thought I had pre-empted this disaster by picking up some pj's before they disappeared off the shelves. I should have bought a bigger size, due to style/fit revisions to something that used to be perfectly fine, but thankfully I did pick up a few new bottoms. So all I needed to find was some kind of comfortable night shirt to wear in place of the ones I've grown to love and wear out (yes, the fabric is literally starting to disintegrate). I searched high and low and found this:
I put it on yesterday and wore it all day. I think this may be my new favorite thing. I should go and buy all that remain, because I doubt I'll be able to come across this item in the future.
Keeping on top of life's little things is an ongoing task. The luxuries of life we have - like cars and running water are a gift unto themselves. So when they break down, I can try to appreciate the fact that they were a gift to begin with. But the little things? Like the need to clean, maintain and replace life's less major items? It all adds up. I like to have a stockpile of items on deck so I don't have to waste my energy replacing like items with more of the same.
Excuse me now, while I go online shopping for some back-up jeans now.