As we have been working on hurricane repairs, we've also been thinking about the maintenance that modern life requires. There's all the maintenance that goes with a house, of course, but there's also other types: relationship maintenance, car/vehicle, pets, friends, family.
I'm exhausted just making this list.
Yesterday, in the midst of getting ready for the second half of the Great Flooring Project which should begin this week (yes, it was supposed to be last week, but we had delays), we decided to have hamburgers for lunch--it would be quick and grillable, and we could keep working.
My spouse went out to light the grill, and I didn't see him for awhile. Come to find out, the gas tubes in the grill are showing corrosion and decay. We managed to get the grill going, but thank goodness we weren't planning to grill a brisket or something that would take all the burners and a long time.
I called Weber, and happy news! We're still in the warranty time period of those tubes. And the woman reminded us that we're near the ocean, and so we will have more corrosion than other locations.
Still, it's discouraging--and perhaps because we're just aware of how much decay and corrosion our house contains. For example, our kitchen sink seems to have stopped draining properly. Luckily, we have a bucket under the sink, and we're redoing the kitchen soon--but as I carried the second full bucket of water out to the pineapple plants last night, I felt a weariness. Every other day, I empty the dehumidifier that runs all the time in the cottage.
Some days, my life seems like an endless emptying of buckets.
The other day, I thought of one of my favorite Ann Lamott quotes. Her quote from her friend John is one I come back to again and again: ". . . if you have a problem you can solve by throwing money at it, you don't have a very interesting problem" (Traveling Mercies 259).
I first came across that quote when I didn't have much money, and I thought about how not having money does make the problem more interesting. And yet, it's better than having a health issue that money can't solve.
This past year, I have been surrounded by problems that could be solved by throwing money at them, and I do have the money--and yet, it's not as easy as it sounds. It still requires a crew of workers and supplies and lots of disruption. It still requires lots of coordination and creativity. It still requires lots of patience and the courage to continue.
No one talks about the exhaustion of it all, even if one is lucky enough to have a problem that money can solve.
But I keep my wits about me by remembering that eventually, these problems do get solved or they go away or other problems rise up the priority list. It could be much worse. Many people in the Carolinas will be waking up to problems much worse than the ones that I face; I keep my perspective by remembering that.