Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Break, Broke, Broken

Could somebody explain one of life's great mysteries? How do appliances just know the least opportune moment to konk out?

Do manufacturers install some evil switch inside mechanical objects that program them to go ka-fluey the instant the household starts drifting toward financially broke?

Guess my dad has it figured out after all. Showing up with his handyman tools, he always jokes ,"Be sure never to mention in front of the appliances that you have no money. They'll break down for sure if they find out."

Current situation: The air-conditioner picked today to pitch a snit-fit.

I live in the Deep South. I mean, the really, really deep South. The magnolias-peaches-armadillos South. Yeah, that one. The one with months-long stretches of heat and humidity. Today's temperature: 96. (Down from the 100s last week.) Today's heat index: I don't know. Suffice it to say if I wanted to cool off, I could try some nice Southwestern desert area.

So . . .

For the third time this summer Old Faithful is not.

The good news? It only cost $85. If I'd waited, the motor would've have burned out the repair guy said. Approximate cost: $400. OK, so saving $315 makes me feel a little better. And, the repairman, who is also a friend, has been kind—his first repair was only $50; the second was free.

This month marks the eleventh month of my "work break" (AKA known as "life on the dole").

With every month that passes, my bank account dwindles a bit closer toward "broke" status.

And, not a month goes by without something in my house breaking down.

Break, broke, broken.

Yep, I am literally living the conjugation of a verb.

Remember when I told you my clothes dryer stopped working? "Super Dad" did his best, but after three days work, he declared it unfixable. No big deal. I strung up a clothes line in the garage and now I dry my clothes that way—a nice "green" alternative, with many positive benefits.

Line-dried towels? Yep, they're stiff as a board. Excellent for exfoliating the skin.

Waiting until the last minute to do laundry? No way, it takes three days to dry in this Southern humidity. I have learned to plan ahead.

Tumbling a shirt to get wrinkles out? Not possible. Ironing required. Lifting hand weights builds biceps, right? I hope no one notices that I'm only "ripped" on the right side.

True, in the beginning, there was a certain novelty about hanging up wet laundry—like getting back to nature, being "earth conscious" and all that good stuff.

However, eight months later, I can tell you the novelty has worn off—completely.

But, it's a new life experience. I've learned something along the way. That's got to be worth something.

Meanwhile, other things around the house have decided I need a few more life lessons:

The backyard water spigot leaks under my kitchen sink. I drag the hose from the front yard to water my patio tomatoes.

The toilet stopped flushing. Dad replaced the malfunctioning parts.

The bathroom faucet began dripping. Dad fixed it.

The ice maker stopped working. I repaired it myself. Yay, me!

The gutters need cleaning, but I'm not brave enough to climb a ladder against a two-story house (and I don't want Dad up there either).

The house needs to be pressure washed.

Even the car got in on the act, needing repairs totaling more than $300 in May.

"What? I thought you started your own business?" you ask. "Isn't it going well? Don't you have any money from that?"

Well, the answers are yes, yes and coming soon.

See, before you make a dime in a new venture you have to spend start-up money—all of which came from already depleted savings.

Choose one: Invest in a business that will be financially successful later on or "invest" in fixing stuff that breaks right now. The choice is obvious: right now, what Dad—or I—can't fix stays broken (unless it's a mandatory thing such as the car or air conditioning).

Indeed, I'm looking forward to the day my bank account loses its "broke" status. And, most of all I'll be glad when all the brokenness around my home can be speedily repaired.

But, in the midst of my break/broke/broken state, I still remember what's important.

I'm grateful for the break in my career that is allowing me to pursue a new path—one I've long wanted to take. Without the "opportunity" that being jobless created, I never would have taken the plunge.

I'm thankful my bank account is not truly "broke" even if it feels like it—there are still funds left for real emergencies.

But, most of all, I'm thankful that, while my house and appliances are on a breaking streak, my spirit hasn't succumbed to the same. I've never lost sight of the end game: I know that I'll eventually get my life back—and in better shape than it was before because this time I'll be my own boss.

So what if I paddle with one oar through this a sea of brokenness? Land is in sight and of one thing I am very sure:

Stuff is broken, but I am not.

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Photo Credits:

Clothes on Line (Note: Woman in photo is not Ariel):


Anonymous said...

Ariel should consider home nudity to save on washing clothes.
p.s.- have a robe handy at the front door and an apron for cooking. LOL heh heh

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