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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.

-Sixbears

16 comments:

  1. my dream is a one storey house so the washer and the laundry are all on one floor and don't need to be hauled up and down.
    i'd like a decent basement for the plumbing and for tornado protection and for pantry overflow, but everything else handy for an old lady with a bionic hip and a gimpy knee.

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    1. I think the stairs were about about the only exercise I got this past winter.

      There is a lot to be said for having most of your living space on one floor.

      Delete
  2. Yup, on the single story and add in 36" door-ways on everything, particularly the bathrooms and no step-up this or sunken that. A safe-room eliminates the need for a basement for a tornado shelter.

    One of the interesting things I have found with two bum knees is walking down inclines (handicap ramps) really tear me up. I'm better off with short steps.

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    1. I'm really lucky to still have good knees and don't take them for granted. Most of the guys who served in the fire service with me have had knee and/or hip replacements.

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    2. judy,
      i sometimes back down ramps and steps.
      ramps are difficult.

      Delete
    3. For ramps all you need are roller skates. :)

      Delete
  3. "Time changes things," my great aunt always said. The words are so mundane as to sound silly, but truer words were never spoken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The true sayings sound simple yet are profound.

      Delete
  4. Getting old is not for sissies. I now have pay someone to do the mowing for me. Same with cleaning the gutters (after they've been replaced). There are stairs to go up and down but I figure that's exercise but I'm not as quick doing so as I used to be.
    Since I live by myself I don't keep the house as clean as I used to. Every once in a while I'll go into cleaning mode but I figure it isn't as important as it once was. Yup, it isn't for sissies.

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    Replies
    1. We change our priorities as our situation changes.

      I don't have enough company to worry about sweeping the floor as much as I would otherwise.

      Delete
  5. We have similar thoughts here. My wife and I have different solutions to the problem, though. She wants to move to a condominium on the beach in Florida. I want to just keep living here day by day and hope my kids eventually move back to the area. I admit my idea is the less sound of the two.

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    1. If you get that condominium, get one with a boat slip. Gotta have a bug out boat, right?

      I don't think the kids will move in with me. Actually, they move in when their lives fall apart so I'm just as happy to have them on their own.

      Delete
  6. I can surely relate to the aging thing. I will readily pay someone to do things that I would have done several years ago. Just have to be more aware of my limits, I guess.

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    1. I pay to get car work done as I'm not too happy to lie on my back in the dirt with rust falling in my eyes anymore.

      Delete
  7. A lot of my current house projects, or perspective projects, have been to go lower maintenance.

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    Replies
    1. When I'm not feeling well, what's when priorities get set.

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