Saturday, June 02, 2007

Reality Check

Thursday night I "did bills." Meaning I painstakingly did the juggling act of figuring out how much to pay to each entity with a figurative hand held out that would look much like any individual's hand while standing in front of an ATM anticipating money to spit out the slot.

I was sad. Sad and frustrated. We have this beautiful house that needs so much work, and while we struggle to cover all the existing bills, there is absolutely nothing left over for home improvements unless we continue to go further into debt, which is not a good thing.

Some of the improvements aren't really "improvements." They are more like "requirements for the house to be livable." Like, for example, we have no refrigerator, no stove, no washer or dryer, a kitchen sink that would not sell for ten cents in a junkyard, and a countertop that is so abused there are multiple places where the formica is completely worn or chipped away and chipboard shows underneath. And let's not go without mentioning the carpeting, which while it's worn, filthy, smells of cat pee in certain areas, and has been found to function as a roof over mold spots, the worst part of all is that it's purple. While purple is a wonderful color for spots on butterfly wings and interesting drinks at 21-year-old birthday parties, it's not a great color for carpeting.

Yes, our new house needs much work. And Thursday I was very frustrated.

Last night I came to feel two inches tall for feeling that frustration. We were talking to some friends who were telling us about their situation. Their apartment lease is up in August, and they are moving into a parent's basement so they can get by. I'll leave it at that. But it was a reality check.

Shame on me.

Not only do we have the means to pay the bills I was staring at Thursday night, but we have hope. When the condo sells, we'll be fine to buy appliances and make the house clean and livable.

No matter how difficult things get, there are always others who are worse off and would give appendages to switch places with you. That's something we should all remember. I'll work on it.


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