Saturday, April 29, 2017
The business of living
A household takes a certain amount of personal attention to keep things going. When you are kid there's a lot of stuff you never think about. Even if you grew up doing chores, some things never occurred to you. When you become an adult you learn that not only does the house need to be cleaned, you are responsible for the cleaning supplies. The soap, the towels, scrub pads, broom and mops, all that stuff doesn't just magically show up. Not only do you have to figure out what supplies you need, you have to earn the money to buy them too.
That's one more indication that you are an adult. Hardly seems fair to work hard to earn money to buy supplies to do housework you'd rather avoid. However, as a fully functional adult, you shoulder the burdens and move on.
It's when you aren't fully functional is when you realize just how much work goes into this day to day stuff. My leg's been gimpy for about 2 months now and it's really slowed me down. It wasn't too bad when the the weather was terrible out and those outside jobs had to wait. Now that the snow's mostly gone it really hits home how much there is to do.
Yesterday my lovely wife was outside doing work with a shovel and rake. I was able to do some of the heavy lifting for her, but could not stay on my feet for long. She has chronic medical conditions and has only so much energy. When she came in she had to lie in bed to rest up before taking a shower. At least I was able to bring her her dinner as she curled up on the couch to watch British murder mysteries.
As people get older they have a couple of ways of dealing with things. If they have some extra money they can hire people to do the necessary chores. Sometimes they have extended family living under the same roof and the young folks pick up the slack. The last alternative is to greatly downsize. At the end of his life my dad was perfectly happy to live in a retirement community in a trailer. Someone else mowed the lawn and took care of the pool. He had a lost less stuff to fuss with. That gave him more time to shoot pool with his buddies.
My home out in the woods requires a few more things than a city apartment. I'm responsible for everything from electricity to water, to sewer. Wood heat takes extra effort. Heck it takes about 40 minutes to brew a pot of coffee. I have to stoke the woodstove and get the old style peculator up to temperature. At least I'm not running down to the well with a bucket for water first. While the pot is heating up I might use that time to roast the coffee beans for the next day's coffee.
While my home requires more attention, it provides independence, promotes self-reliance, and is a lot less expensive.
My injury has given me insight on what my elderly future could look like. I'm going to be a busy old dude if I'm not careful. The house was a good size when we were raising kids. Now I can the attraction of living in a 20 foot yurt, or a 30 foot sailboat -or both. Anything I build now I'm going to have at least half an eye on how much effort it's going to need to keep it going. There is much to be said for a more minimalist lifestyle. That doesn't mean I'm going to get of my house, at least not yet. I am going to focus more on long term use of things. Well, that and I'm not going to sweat about the projects neither of us has the energy or will to deal with right now.