EITHER, OR, AND WHATEVER by Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Either, Or, and Whatever

I don’t want to complain. Okay, I really do want to complain.

I was just beginning to feel a little optimistic about the house. We got the rotting door removed the side of the house. It’s a lot warmer without the draft. The front door has been insulated, finished and if we get it painted, it’ll be perfect. We put up a set of gutters which, with a little luck, will help our roof survive.

Home. With snow.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a banging sound and I could never figure out where it was coming from. I thought it was outside, that the drain pipes from the gutter were banging against the house.

It turned out to be the boiler. It was replaced was in 2009. Which turns out to have been 10 years ago. Ten years?

2009 was ten years ago? How did THAT happen? I calculated last night that our boiler was 12 years old when we bought this house in 2000. Which meant that our boiler is 31 years old. We’ve been pretty good about getting it serviced regularly. The parts we’ve replaced have all been parts that normally need replacement. Sort of like the boiler version of changing the oil, replacing brakes, tires, and windshield wipers.

Thirty-one years for this boiler is a lot. About 10 years longer than this system was supposed to work, since it was an inexpensive unit. While I was busy congratulating myself on having somehow, with the grace, love, and caring of friends, the boiler was quietly aging.

In addition to all the other indignities of getting old, you get to outlive your “stuff.” Your new roof gets old.

It’s not fair! I still maintain that one roof is the only roof you should ever need. You shouldn’t need three front doors or four hot water heaters. The shed shouldn’t rot. The Hollyhocks shouldn’t die. The well shouldn’t need major repairs. Having fixed the septic system, it should survive us.

Whatever deities you may worship, Murphy’s Law rules them all. How in the world can I save up five or six thousand dollars for a new boiler?

Okay. I’ve complained enough for one day. Maybe for an entire month or two. And there really is no way to live without central heating in this climate. I’d love to say we’re going to save up the money but there are still other things that need fixing. I guess something will work out.

Either this, that, or some other thing will happen. I have to believe. It’s the only option I have.

14 thoughts on “EITHER, OR, AND WHATEVER by Marilyn Armstrong

  1. Deep condolences for your boiler. The largest expense I have is my house and its needs. The heat and gas bills in the winter are enormous. I get kind of a break in the summer unless the heat is so intense that the the AC needs to be on too much. The taxes go up each year, and a lot of that is for what I never use, such as school bonds. All in all, however, with rents for houses like mine topping $3,000 a month, and my bills at $1,000 a month, I guess I’m all right. Living on a fixed income is scary. When I have outdoor expenses, like fixing the gate, repainting stanchions and eaves, etc. I have a handyman neighbor who does that for hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. We can’t afford to live anywhere else, Besides, this in an 80-year-old family house I inherited from my uncle who built it, and I love it. I fixed up the back yard years ago when I had some money,so it is a kind of sanctuary with a hot spa and a cool fountain and tables and chairs and trees to give shade plus a lemon tree and a peach tree. Our front yard is planted with California natives(plants, not people) and a huge Jacaranda tree. If I had tons of money, I would buy a second little home by a lake in which I could swim. That will never happen. I love the look of your house and hope your boiler problem will soon be solved.

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    • All I can say is “ditto.” Fixed incomes are terrifying. We’ve now lived here long enough that all the repairs and fixes we made when we moved in need redoing. You can’t live in New England with a heating system. It’s just too cold.

      The boiler is working and will for a while, but we have to start figuring out how to fix it It’s old and it wasn’t a great unit when installed — which was 12 years before we moved in. Plus 19 year and now, the relatively new boiler is an old tired boiler. We might be able to get a close to new/used boiler. People convert to gas and dump their old heater for very short money. But we shall see.

      If I could move, I’d get something a lot smaller with NO STAIRS!

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  2. I’ve learned over the years that no matter which house I’m in, it seems to know when I’ve come into even a little bit of extra cash. At that exact point, something in the house breaks and needs replacement. Never fails. (And I do believe that major appliances conspire with each other so that they all die at pretty much the same time.)

    But you have a lovely home, out in the country with no near neighbors, and lots of opportunities for incredible photography. Oh, and you have Garry. As you know, life could be a lot worse (or not at all, which definitely would not be desirable).

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    • Life isn’t bad. It’s just the poverty thing. It was one thing when we were working and could expect the occasional raise, but on a fixed income, it gets pretty scary. Everything gets more expensive, but your pay never changes.

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  3. sounds like a lottery ticket might help, look on the bright side, you are a player in the movie of your life, and obviously as Murphy suggests, there are a few more drama’s to be worked out, sounds like it’s time for a brandy dear, Gerry……

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