600: Old and New

I have purchased another house. This one isn’t new, either, which means there are things that need to be fixed to suit me (and others, if I should decide that I don’t want to continue living in this place until I go to my great reward in the hereafter).

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Older homes become dated-looking. No matter how spiffy your home once was (at the very pinnacle of fashion), things change. That nifty and trendy avocado or burnt orange color scheme that was so popular once – isn’t now. Unless you want to maintain that home in the 1970’s style as a hipster showplace, there will be things to change and work to be done to bring the home into the current era. This is necessary even when the old, dated stuff is still mostly functional, especially if you ever plan on selling the home again at some future date.

Then, there are the things that some other occupant/owner of the home did in some previous iteration that you stand gazing at in absolute wonder and stupefaction, scratching your head and wondering, WTH? This includes funky things like:

  • a bedroom that can only be accessed by going though a bathroom, or, not quite so egregious: another bedroom (????)
  • a toilet installed smack in front of a bathroom door with one foot clearance between the front of it and the sink cabinet, such that it becomes a tripping hazard. Did they step OVER it to get into the bathroom previously?? And, when it comes to using that toilet, whose legs are that short?
  • a kitchen with no lighting fixtures. At all. Not even one. ?? You had lamps – in the kitchen?
  • the ever-popular favorite – doors installed so close to each other that each interferes with opening the other.
  • an elaborate, attached to the roof, shingled, installed cover for the central heat and air unit that funnels rain water right smack into the back door. In floods. Did it never rain while you were there?
  • windows that are painted shut. *sigh*
  • door hardware that does not match – literally seven different styles of knobs, hinges, and finishes in the one house. Did you buy a sampler pack?
  • exposed electrical wiring, or funky outlet placements – such as running the plug for the fridge through the side of a cabinet (all the way across to the other side) to be able to plug in the fridge. Not much experience in planning, hmmm?
  • a room the size of a closet – literally three feet by four feet – that has AV coaxial cable installed in it.   ???
  • Astro-turf (literally, plastic grass) as the master bedroom carpet. Indoor sports?? Needed that look of nature? It was the cheapest floor covering they had?

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Weird and questionable homeowner decisions aside, the last category of items you must deal with when you purchase a home that isn’t new are those things that are just worn out. This includes things like flooring, paint, siding, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, hot water heaters, central heat and air units, appliances, chain link fencing, the roof, and various and sundry other necessary (and costly, usually) things.

Still. I am sure that there have been people who have purchased homes I have owned who have scratched their heads over some of the things I did, too. Karma. Doing its thing.

362: Getting older beats the alternative.

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There is very little that is attractive about getting older – visually, anyway. Perky breasts, taunt abdominals, smooth skin and slimness have gradually given way to…..well…..let’s just not go there. Some of you may have just eaten.

Plus, my short-term memory is not what it used to be, either. It was never really great, but lately I must actually have a place for everything and everything in its place not for neatness sake…but for self-defense.

And the assorted aches and pains are Indian……gradually creeping up on me. Here’s the very worst part of all…..

No, no, not the sex. My partner is as old as me, so we have aged together, and he’s not a whole lot prettier than I am, so neither of us has had to resort to bagging yet – that part is fine. Really. OK, don’t believe me.

The worst part of all? It is the FOOD. I’m pretty sure you are scratching your head and thinking….food? What on Earth? Yeah, it is the FOOD. Here is the real story about getting old. When you are young, back in the dark ages, for me, you eat whatever tasted good and whatever your parents force you to eat for your own good, plus whatever you were stupid enough to load on your own plate. See, I am a preacher’s daughter. That means, for those of you not so blessed, that I attended LOTS and LOTS of pot-luck dinners. LOTS. What I learned is that some pots are lucky, and some are toxic waste. However, if it looked good and you put it on your plate, you were obligated to eat it, because somebody brought it, and they have relatives. So, I learned to be wary, and to put small tastes of stuff on my plate, and then return for seconds if it was actually good: you could not trust what it looked like. Those chocolate chip cookies actually might be raisins, you just don’t know. It paid to be careful.

The hard part about growing old is that your tastes change a little, but not nearly enough. When you are young, spinach and broccoli and other veggies get better with age (yours, not theirs), but still – what happens to oldsters is just not fair. When you are young, you can eat junk with little worry, because your metabolism and your youth combine to allow you to sin in this area with relative impunity. Not so as you mature. Over time, the sinning you did as a youngster catches up with you. You stop growing up and grow out….and, as my husband said, I don’t fit my clothes anymore.

I had never heard it put that way before. It is a simple switch in emphasis, but a profound paradigm shift to say I don’t fit my clothes, rather than MY CLOTHES DON’T FIT ME. See, before, it was the clothes’ fault, plain and simple. This new way of putting it, put the blame squarely where it belonged, and where I did not want it: on ME. Meh.

Plus, when you mature, there are other health concerns that the doctor points out to you when he tells you to ‘avoid’ certain food items – what he means is you can’t have that anymore. Usually, THAT is whatever tastes good. You are allowed to have anything you don’t like, and the more you don’t like it, the better it is for you. THAT is what is monstrously unfair.

If we were gonna have to eat like this, why not just never let us ever eat anything that tastes good, so we won’t mind it so much when we have to give it up? Sheesh.

Still – you have to admit, getting old beats the alternative………………………….

178: Goodbye to Old Faves

There comes a day when even I have to admit that the favorite sneakers are worn out, and have to go. It does not matter anymore that they fit the best, are the very most comfortable, and are the first ones I reach for in the closet: they are worn out, and richly deserve to be retired in grateful recognition of their faithful service. I think it was the icy slush of the puddle I stepped in that clued me in that these shoes are just too ratty to keep anymore, even for “work” shoes. bth_old_shoes

My shoes go through stages, like my life does. First, they are brand new, no scuffs, immaculate. They are the “good” shoes. Then, after some wear and tear, they acquire some texture and become “regular” shoes. After a considerable additional amount of time and wear (when even shoe polish does not help much), they graduate to venerable old age, and become “work” shoes. These are the ones you put on when there is something messy to be done. In a way, that is the best part of a shoe’s life, because it’s that category of shoe that has become the favorite pair. These are the ones you reach for first, like a faithful old, comfortable friend. Those shoes KNOW you, and they love your feet: UNlike some of the “good” shoes, who you and your feet are still becoming acquainted with. You love them, truthfully and sincerely.

Then, comes THE END: the day you dread. This is the day when even you, who love them dearly, must admit that it is time to put them down. There is a certain wrench when you lay them gently in the wastebasket, remembering all the good times you had together. *sniff*

OK. So, which regular pair of sneakers will get graduated to work shoes?

62: Getting OLD

I want to live my life (at least what is left of it) where everything new is a new toy. Fez, my adorable champagne-colored kitty girl, loves checking out the new stuff that mom and dad bring home occasionally. The boxes, bags and totes full of stuff are a rich source of new toys, especially the containers.

I remember my young children were the exact same way. Their first few Christmases and birthdays, the BOXES got played with for a much longer period of time than the toys did. Fez is SOOOO there.

Mojo wanted to buy a pressure cooker for a project he found on the Internet: a homemade liquor still, complete with recipes for various brews. He needed a pressure cooker to get started. A new pressure cooker was prohibitively expensive, so he searched at the flea market for a used one, found one at a good price, and brought it home. It was discovered within minutes of its arrival by Fez, who determined that it was the perfect size for a nice, cozy nap. If you look closely at her picture, you can see that she is yawning.

Mojo almost did not get his pressure cooker back from her. I want my life to be like that. The joys of discovery, the simple things, the ordinary, delightful little stuff that makes each day special (if you will let it). I am ready to LET IT! I am still much too young to be old, and I am going to live like I am a youngster again. Each day IS special, and I am going to live it that way!

2 Little annoying things

I have just discovered this afternoon that I have another infection for which I will be taking medication for the next 10 days. Such a genuine delight. At least we now HAVE medication we can take for routine, common, ordinary little infections – those are the ones that USED to routinely kill people, not too long ago in history! I have only 10 days of abdominal discomfort to put up with (nasty side effect of the medication), and then I will be fine again.

What did people of long ago consider little annoying things? They had BIG annoying things to deal with. I don’t have to worry overmuch about where my next meal is coming from, and that was an ever-present worry back in the day when whether you made it through the winter depended on how well the crops did. If the crops don’t do well here, food can be shipped in. Might cost me more, but I am unlikely to starve. Plus, I am relatively unlikely to die of bandits, or warfare. Both of those were pretty common killers long ago, as well as the germs you might get. And what about other things? I probably won’t be killed by a wild animal, or by riding a horse. I do have to worry about cars a little, though. And for women, childbirth is still one of the most dangerous, life-threatening things females go through (at least on a regular basis). Let’s face it, for a guy, childbirth was (is) a piece of cake. They faced lots of other obstacles, though. Just chopping wood was a risky business. If you cut yourself doing it, infection and blood poisoning could set in, and before you know it, it’s time to build a coffin!

I read once in a history book that long ago, if you lived to over the age of thirty, you were considered a wise old person, because most people died in their twenties. Wow. That is a sobering thought. I did not consider myself mostly human until I turned thirty. What would it have been like to have lived in that sort of world, where you were a wise old gramma if you made it into your thirties? At age thirty, my own children were still toddlers, and I was REALLY appreciating how wise my mother was, finally. She still gets smarter and wiser the older I get, and I am 51. At age 51, those ancient peoples probably would have put me in a cage and charged admission: “One ear of corn to see the ancient granny!”

I do feel a little smarter now than when I was younger, though. Maybe I would have finally made a wise old granny. Maybe I still will!