The Money Pit

I try as hard as I can to do everything myself. Unfortunately, at 5’1” (no pounds necessary), I do have physical limitations. Luckily, I always worked in retail management and for the ripe old age of 61, not having a desk job has paid off. Not that I’m knocking desk jobs, but I never had to join a gym because I got that physical workout at work … and got a paycheck! Why is it that everyone thinks, as a widow, I can now afford to pay to have any work done?

For example: Recently, I spent a mini fortune to have 23 ash trees cut down. We have a wood stove, and oil heat. But oil is sooo expensive! I thought I might want to take a break and not use the wood stove, but then the memories came back…

When Steve had retired and I was still working full time, I’d come home to a warm, cozy house with a fire crackling in the wood stove. In 2020, when he was diagnosed with his cancer, I was totally bugging out. Retail on limited hours still consumed my day. Then there were his doctors appointments, which lead to infusions and PT, and blood transfusions with no notice. I had to work, cook, clean, maintain the house, take care of our special needs daughter… I was on the verge… so I retired early.

Back to the money pit… I have a ton of wood, but no Steve to cut and split it. The yard looks like a lumber yard. Why should I pay to have wood delivered that was split when I already have wood…. Lots of wood!

When Steve was home and on hospice, it was for 5 1/2 weeks, during the spring. We wouldn’t normally start a fire once winter was behind us – sure enough, he asked for a fire several nights. I started them so he could see them, and feel their warmth. How could I say no? He wasn’t going to see another winter.

I had to change a spot light the other day. It would just be silly to pay someone to change a lightbulb. So I opened the window and screen on our second floor, climbed out onto the roof… and poof! It was done – twice, since the first bulb didn’t work… just my luck. But how much money did I save?

I’m reworking the front panel on our hot tub. The guts were replaced this summer and I need to buckle it up so critters don’t get in there to nibble or nest. How much am I saving by doing it on my own?

A lot of the things I’m doing around the house, I had done before. But if I didn’t get to it, it would be “hey Steve, can you do this for me?” And he’d add it to “the list.” But now it’s just me.

People say I should get a lawn service to cut my grass. We have over an acre of land, and now a lot of our trees are cut down, so hiring someone to take care of the lawn would cost me a small fortune. So, I cut it weekly, by myself. There wasn’t a day over grass cutting season that I didn’t cry. It was great therapy for me. Plus, over the heat of the summer, my tears could look like sweat. I do have a friend’s son who weed whacks when I need him because I don’t have that kind of upper body strength anymore.

Bottom line – I need to thank my departed dad. I was #2 of seven children, it wasn’t until #5 came along that was a boy. So we females would always assist in his projects. Then, most of all, I need to thank my Steve. He was a maintenance mechanic who worked for a bottling company for many years. He always did as much as he could around the house and share it with me. So I’ll find the tools, I’ll make it work… why? Because I can And why not? Because who needs a money pit? Save it for the bigger life experiences – like vacations, parties, events. Because when you’re at the end of the road, are you going to remember the potholes you’ve fixed, or the memories you’ve made along the way? Make the best choices and don’t get sucked into the money pit… if you can try to do it yourself.

Reaching Out

I haven’t been out on my own since I went to a retirement party on 9/11. By that I mean, I attended by myself and only knew about 6 people there. I was however at a family wedding on 9/25 and did way better. But most of all those days and times in between… I was by myself. 

Tonight is a Saturday, I’m trying to stay up for SNL’s new season premiere, and no one is available to text me back . Which, again, leaves me feeling isolated and alone. I’ve reached out to at least 7 people. They may be thinking… oh I’ll get back to her tomorrow… oh no not her again…what does she want now… I was just texting her earlier… 

Let me remind you that I still have my nonverbal daughter who at 36. She still lives with me and brings me lots of joy and hope and purpose. I could list every positive adjective, but that would be cliche. But they are all true!

My times of isolation vary… but mostly at night when I’m alone. This just reminds me that everyone is busy and they don’t realize the times that I am most vulnerable to being alone. I may be asking or texting about something stupid, but a response makes me feel like I am not alone… someone is listening. 

Sometimes I go for days without interacting with or talking to anyone. But I’m always there if some one needs me, and I always respond. 

I would just like for someone to reach out to me in spontaneity to say “hey!” Maybe then I wouldn’t feel like a bullet ready to explode and release all of my inner conversations and thoughts. 

So, the next time a friend, coworker, neighbor, frenemy, or anyone in your life sends you a message, please respond… they may just really want to hear from someone – to know that someone hears them and they are grateful they heard from you.

After all, don’t we reach out to coworkers while we’re on the clock, chat with neighbors at the mailbox… associates at the stores… 

These conversations may be small and brief… but you never know. You never know when someone is reaching out to you. 

Please reach back to them. A call or text could make all the difference.